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Accepted Paper:

Multimodal Inventions: Media Practices of Transnational Rohingya Networks as a Response to Genocide, Protracted Forced Migration, and COVID-19.  
James Cerretani (Goldsmiths, University of London)

Paper short abstract:

This paper draws on participatory ethnographic research with transnational networks of Rohingya media makers to look at how multimodal practices work to intervene in contemporary crises of genocide, protracted forced-migration, and COVID-19.

Paper long abstract:

This paper emphasizes the processual and inventive nature of multimodal practices by transnational Rohingya networks as a means of mitigating the effects of contemporary crises. It draws from my fieldwork and participatory research as a visual artist and anthropologist-in- training by means of multimodal and multimedia methods such as participatory youth cinema, graphic ethnography, photography, ethnofiction, and collaborative social media activism.

The Rohingya communities I collaborate with build and maintain creative digital communities that connect individuals in Myanmar with those seeking refuge across Southeast Asia and those living in the diaspora. The communities’ processes and outputs include films, poems, photography exhibitions, and an array of multimodal creations that exemplify the agency of these creative networks to disrupt hierarchies of knowledge production.

The labor of Rohingya communities works to spread vital information across displacement-affected networks through creative means such as short films on COVID-19 safety and photo exhibitions documenting and raising awareness of the quotidian experiences of displaced Rohingya. The multimodal practices of transnational Rohingya networks are not limited to strictly realist representations. Collaborations in ethnofiction such as drawing, filmmaking, photography practice, poetry, and painting undertaken during my engagements with Rohingya communities in Europe, Myanmar, Malaysia, and Bangladesh speak to how ethnofiction engages with the past and present in order to (re)imagine futures. It is necessary to view collaboration through a critical lens, looking at the politics, ethics, power hierarchies, and ambivalences (Alvarez et al., 2021) of participatory research during unprecedented times.

Panel P065b
Commoning practices in multimodal ethnography [EASA Multimodal Ethnography Network] II
  Session 1 Tuesday 26 July, 2022, -