Placeless People: What can History Tell us About Today’s Refugee Crisis?
Organised by the University of East Anglia in collaboration with Pears Institute for the study of Antisemitism
Date: Monday 20 June 2016
Venue: Birkbeck University of London, WC1E 7HX, Council Room, Torrington Square main entrance
Time: 9.00am (registration) 9.25am – 6.00pm
The aim of the workshop is to bring together experts in a range of fields – leading historians and scholars, policy makers, representatives from local government, NGOs, think tanks, advocacy groups and the media, to explore how history, in its broadest political, cultural and social senses, can usefully be employed to inform our understanding of the current refugee crisis and help shape our responses to it.
The workshop will address the following questions among others: are there connections between refugee crises in the past and the present? What lessons can be drawn? What kind of historical accounts do NGO’s and policy makers need to make their cases? How might the recasting of refugee stories on a bigger historical canvas re-shape perception? And, most pressingly, how should policy and responses to the future be shaped by grasping that mass displacement may become the norm?
The day is organised into three panels. The presentations will be short, leaving plenty of time for discussion. The following speakers are confirmed:
Panel 1: Refugees Now – Representations and Perspectives
This session will ask those working with refugees and communities affected by the current refugee crisis to talk about the problems of the current terms of media and political debates.
- Omar Khan, Runnymede Trust
- Daniel Trilling, journalist, editor and author
- Elena Fiddian-Qasmiyeh, Refuge in a Moving World Network, University College London
- Colin Yeo, immigration barrister and blogger, Garden Court Chambers
Panel 2: Lessons from History
This session will see historians exploring the different lessons we might draw from histories and the dangers of lazy historical comparisons.
- Simon Behrman, University of East Anglia
- Jessica Reinisch, Birkbeck, University of London
- Peter Gatrell, University of Manchester
- Tony Kushner, University of Southampton
Panel 3: Making History Now
This session will look at different ways of and attempts at documenting the current refugee crisis.
- Lyndsey Stonebridge, University of East Anglia
- Yousif Qasmiyeh, poet and writer
- Zrinka Bralo, Migrants Organise and Open Democracy
- Representative of Freed Voices from Detention Action