The vision of Mirroring Migration Festival

In light of the world’s globalization and growing interconnectedness, migration is a common concern. It is an actual phenomenon that goes beyond countries and continents: it is a global issue.

Its presence is felt on many levels of our society, but often viewed as problematic in media, as well as in academic and policy debates. It is frequently seen as a consequence of ruptures, of environmental disasters, economic exploitations, political or civil tensions and violence. Although migration is represented as a consequence, it is also described as being the cause of much harm. Indeed, it is portrayed as a phenomenon that causes problems, like environmental degradations, health problems, ‘brain drain’, political or social instability, declining law and order, and unraveling social fabric and support systems.

As a result, many reductionist views on migration persist, and migration easily comes to be perceived as a distant phenomenon regarding migrants as ‘the Others’, thereby enabling processes of inclusion and exclusion.

Migrants have been called after many names: Illegals. Guest workers. Border crossers. Undesirables. Exiles. Criminals. Non-citizens. Terrorists. Thieves. Foreigners. Invaders. Undocumented, even Aliens.

With this festival we aim at enabling critical discussion and providing food for thoughts about the above views. The purpose is indeed to frame migration in its complexity, with its challenges as well as its positive and enriching aspects. We will explore the European and Dutch politics of migration, and reflect on the role of Europe in fueling migration dynamics. Also, we want to make certain taboos concerning migration visible and raise awareness about the situation of migrants and refugees. The latter purpose will be met through a combination of intellectual/ academic, interactive and creative activities such as panel discussions, lectures, movies screenings, NGO presentations, workshops, storytelling nights, theme dancing and action theatre. Additionally, the festival ought to be a platform for people, intellectuals, students, NGOs, artists and activists to meet and connect about the topic of migration.

Here are few questions that will be addressed during the course of the festival.

What is migration? How is it constructed? How are discourses on migration politicized and determined by social norms and structures? What consequences does it have on our society? What is the role of social norms, structures and institutions in constructing our dominant view on migration? Given that migration is a reality, how can it be embraced constructively and positively? How is migration enriching? What does it reflect on our societies and world division in countries?

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