The aim of this panel is to understand through words, pictures, and artifacts the practices and textures of the everyday aesthetic experiences of refugees as they piece their lives together against a backdrop of upheaval and impermanence.
In political debates as in academic discussions, migrants are often seen as a "problem" in need of a solution. Little attention has been paid to positive aspects to the aesthetic resources people bring with them from their homeland. Through exploring the movement of people, objects, and ideas over time and space, we invite colleagues to elucidate how the past remains present, and how belongings speak. Although in situations of conflict and displacement much of previous social and cultural structures are destroyed, people often find new ways to express, produce, collect, and conserve culture, and, through these practices, to create new spheres of belonging. How do people remember their home from before they left, how do they establish a feeling of belonging in the unstable conditions of the present, and what future home do they imagine? How are ties to homeland—object, places and people—recalled in the aesthetic process? How is significance attached to things made or brought along from the homeland? How is temporality materialized at departures and during settlement? Which items are invested with value, what kinds of value, and how do they transmit knowledge about the past, the present, and hopes for the future? How is loss articulated, if at all, through presence or absence of material objects?