Visual Memories of Migration – Colours of a Journey as a Counter-narrative to Europe’s Refugee Crisis


Illustration by Niare (11),

University of Groningen

The workshop – formed around the “Colours of Journey” platform – hopes to strengthen a dialogue between researchers and practitioners who work with children on the move and on questions of migration and mobility, visuality and memory.


The workshop is jointly organised by transform! europe and the University of Groningen. It will explore how past and future activities of the “Colours of a Journey” speak to the existing discussions about the construction of the European political and cultural imaginary and the role of visual representations and digital networks in transnationalization and/or deterritorialization of memory, and how we can better understand how memories are articulated, transmitted and translated transnationally and in the context of human mobility. The workshop will also outline future goals of the “Colours of a Journey”.

The “Colours of a Journey” is a platform that hosts illustrations by children on the move of their past, present and future. The platform is supported by a number of accompanying events and publications that make the stories of children in migration visible within local and European contexts. We have also created a digital map of solidarity structures that work with children on the move. The digital map aims to create a network of these solidarity structures by improving connectivity and facilitating exchange.

The “Colours of a Journey” can contribute to the ongoing discussions on the autonomy of migration and the production of deterritorialized political subjectivities. Our platform speaks to the work of authors such as Garelli and Tazzioli, de Genova and Mezzadra who already in 2003 voiced their opposition to the methodological nationalism intrinsic to (critical) migration studies, and the ensuing rendering of a “migrant” subjectivity as deviant and politically dangerous. Accordingly, autonomy of migration scholarship has brought valuable insights into how human mobility transgresses the embedded border regimes and disrupts the institutionalized borders and boundaries of Europeanness.

The workshop wishes to problematize “subjection and subjectivation” in view of the autonomy of migration scholarship. We pick up the central question posed by the autonomy of migration scholarship – under what circumstances, how and for what purpose can those living in precarity make sense and enact their political subjectivity – and locate the discussion on the becoming subject (subjectivation) in the domains of visuality and memory. This particularly refers to the political potency of personal (visual) stories of mobility for making sense of and enacting deterritorialized and multiple subjectivity in displaced and precarious contexts. We are interested in the potential of visuality and visual narratives of mobility to turn the analytical lenses back to the subjective desires, experiences and practices of migrants themselves.

In view of the above, the workshop hopes to establish a dialogue on how we can understand mobile subjectivities through visual narratives of mobility in general, and more particularly through illustrations by the children on the move. In more practical terms, this dialogue should help define future objectives of the “Colours of a Journey” and platform. The workshop has an open and informal character and we would like to invite for participation different contributors whose work relates to the content of the “Colours of a Journey” and who would like to explore different possibilities of collaboration.

If you are interested in contributing, please contact us at with a short note (ca. 200 words) on your current work by 30 April 2018. You can either attend the event in person (we are unable to support you in your travel expenses) or you may join the session via Skype.


Tuesday, 15 May 2018

Location A weg 30 room 214

10:00-10:15: Coffee/tea

10:15-10:30: Welcome address

10:30-12:30: Panel 1 – Narratives of Migration: Digital Archives and Oral History (moderator Aimilia Koukouma)

“The Colours of a Journey – Mobility, Memory, Visuality”

  • Patricia Bachmaier, Tuscany Bell, Martin Bogdan, Lara Ramos Yáñez, Colours of a Journey

“Autonomy of Migration”

  • Katerina Anastasiou, transform! europe

“From Silenced Stories to History”

  • Eleni Kyramargiou, National Hellenic Research Foundation

“Exploring a Material Politics of Memory in the Statue of Peace”

  • David Shim, University of Groningen

12:30-14:00: Lunch

14:00-15:30: Panel 2 – Migration, Memory and the Digital Sphere (moderator James Leigh)

“Title TBD”

  • Shreepali Patel, Anglia Ruskin University, Director of Story Lab

“Young Connected Migrants: Comparing Digital Practices of Young Refugees and Expatriates”

  • Koen Leurs, Utrecht University

“Memory Work in the Platform Society”

  • Rik Smit, University of Groningen

15:30-15:45: Break

15:45-17:00: Open lecture “How to Design a Digital Project”

  • Spyros Tzortzis and Gregory Tsardanidis – Sociality (moderator Senka Neuman)

19:30: Exhibition “Newcomer Children Envisioning their Past, Present and Future”

(location Van Swietenlaan 23)

  • Introduction by Carla van Os, University of Groningen


Wednesday, 16 May 2018

Location Turftorenstraat, Room 12

10.00-12.00: Concluding Remarks and Future Outlooks – open discussion (moderator Katerina Anastasiou)