Practices of Place-Making: Memory, Migration and the Archive (Part 2)


20 June: 10:30 – 12:00 noon
The Ditch, Shoreditch Town Hall, 380 Old Street, London EC1V 9LT

What do you hang on the walls of your mind? *Eve Arnold, Magnum Photographer

Syrian artist Manaf Halbouni’s installation of an overloaded, battered car, Nowhere is Home, epitomizes the extreme precariousness for individuals forced to flee homes, livlihoods and extended communities. With no firm footing in any location, Halbouni takes his artistic intervention to the road – assembling a living archive, a makeshift mobile space ‘packed with objects [he loves] and with the capacity to drive away’.

Many of the artists in ‘dis/placed’ use a similar form of mobile storytelling to re-imagine and challenge the idea of a fixed archival collection. The idea of history and the perceived boundaries of fact, fiction, memory and loss are continuously re-negotiated. Several works introduce alternative ways of remembering and archiving that include the digital and the sensorial, collaboration, co-production and participation.

This Learning Lab took the form of a conversation between Professor Maggie O’Neill, University of Durham and Dr Roberta McGrath, University of Napier, Edinburgh, as they walked through and read against the grain of the exhibition with a view to exploring how human rights are understood in new methods of archival research, mobile storytelling and creative co-production.

‘What do you hang on the walls of your mind? When I became a photographer I began, assiduously, to collect favourite images which I filed away in my imagination to bring out and examine during moments of stress and moments of quiet’.(‘At Home in the World’, Magnum Legacy Eve Arnold, by Janine di Giovanni, 2015).

Image: Nothing Impossible, Alice Myers 2013

Learning Labs form part of the Out of Place Action-Research Platform (a project led by Counterpoints Arts’ Learning Lab, in partnership with Royal Holloway, University of London and FilmAid).