✓✓ Read Receipts: Refugee, Migrant, Asylum Seeker

A photo of a young man sat on a chair in the corner of a square room, he sits, relaxed, yet confident, and looks directly out towards the viewer.
Daniel Castro Garcia, Michael, 2015.

Earlier this week I had an article published in Frieze on the photography of Daniel Castro Garcia. When writing the article I was stuck with the terminology to use, the subtle variations in whether someone is a refugee, a migrant, an asylum seeker, or an expat—who gets called what is a judgement determined by social value, wealth, and race. I read that the contemporary legal framework for refugees was designed during the Cold War to enable people we’d now describe as ‘dissidents’ to move to the West. Refugee status was for skilled workers, businessmen, and politically useful people, it never really designed for those whose homes are deliberately destroyed by Western states, through war or economic ‘reform’.

  • The majority of press coverage regarding immigration, and the connotations and stereotypes of immigration within the United Kingdom often provides only a negative representation of those seeking refuge. Such misrepresentation and misunderstanding of the issues faced by people in need causes only further divide between those seeking help… Migration at The Art House, Wakefield by Lisa-Marie Dickinson for Corridor8.
  • Weaving together Homer’s epic poem The Odyssey, stunning winter vistas and a vast array of archival material, The Nine Muses is divided into nine overlapping musical chapters to create a philosophical rumination on the emigrant’s experience, the journey and the idea of home Crossings: The Nine Muses screening at the Institute of Contemporary Arts, London. I’ll try and get along if I can.
  • When French authorities decide that a bulldozer is the most effective tool for managing migration, it optimism is difficult. When Germany and Greece agree to slow the already tortuous pace of family reunification, keeping desperate families apart for even longer, it seems futile to continue. 7 Correctives on Migration on Novara Media. Alex Fusco takes down myths of the migrant crisis point by point, a useful article for sending to anyone who insists on repeating them.
  • Repulsed by a tsunami of images to which I became immune to, overwhelmed by a banquet of opinions and voices commenting on the subject, I was deliberately avoiding videos showing sinking boats in the Mediterranean Sea and Syrian urban debris. What’s Happened to the Refugee Crisis in Screenshot magazine. Sofia Gallarate writes of the sense of being overwhelmed by imagery of the refugee crisis, and the later disappearance of the victims from mainstream discourse.
  • The land into which Paddington arrives, as many commentators have noted since the first book was published, was in the midst of a cultural change. Immigration to Britain from the West Indies, India, Pakistan, and other former corners of the British Empire grew in the late forties and into the fifties. Paddington Bear, Refugee in the New Yorker. There are very few migrants and refugees in British cultural imagination, but Paddington bear is one of the few unapologetic ones.
  • It is through collecting contemporary art like this that the British Museum’s collection will continue to reflect the history of the world for future generations. Lens on the Middle East: British Museum acquires photographs by artists documenting refugee crisis and Syrian civil war on The Art Newspaper. The collection of work is the first step, the next steps should be the continued support of the artists, and an awareness of how their work is presented.
  • while the rhetoric may vary, the actions taken have been broadly consistent: a shoring up of the old border regime, the toughening of conditions inside Europe to deter migrants, and the further outsourcing of European border control to governments in Asia, the Middle East and Africa. Should we build a wall around North Wales? by Daniel Trilling for the London Review of Books. Daniel Trilling, editor of The New Humanist, reduces the logic of borders down to a series of seemingly-absurd proposals. However I’d be wary to suggest these won’t soon be advocated by certain right wing politicians.
  • In order to break away from the prejudices and clichés of migrants and migration, we came up with the concept to ask artists, journalists, academics, designers, architects, philosophers, activists and citizens to rethink our approach to migration and critically explore the new spaces it creates. Offshore Studio on their publication re-appropriating the word “migrant” on It’s Nice That. Much small press & publishing work seems to be quite self indulgent, while Migrant Journal are setting themselves the clear political task of redefining the word that divides so many people.