Imagination, belonging, futures

The production and maintenance of territorial borders through practices of state surveillance and citizenship play a central role in how nationhood is imagined. They are also key to the politics of inclusion/exclusion and the separation from, and attachment to, place.  The ‘imagination, belonging, futures’ research challenge seeks to explore and identify new and alternative forms of belonging and relationships by engaging with the ideas and utopian visions precipitated by the global mobility of people across borders.

We will examine mobile populations in different historical periods and geographical spaces, focusing on the social and cultural notions of home, exile, identity and community formation – and how these ideas change over time and space.  We aim to explore the politics and aesthetics of belonging by employing radical, participatory and self-representational methodologies alongside a critical engagement with filmic, literary and figurative strategies.

How do dominant representations and spatial imaginaries become established, and how can they be, or how are they being, unsettled? What possibilities lie in the individual, collective and utopian imaginaries of mobile groups and what insights might they offer into new or alternative ways of living and working together? What implications might aesthetic, narrative and representational strategies have in policy making? In what ways can the study of the mobile imagination help us rethink or problematise established categorisations of migrant, refugee and citizen?

Linked Research Projects:

Reimagining Refugee Rights: Addressing Asylum Harms in Britain, Denmark and Sweden

Everyday Integration

Musical Journeys: Performing Migration in Twentieth-Century Music

Research Challenge Co-ordinator:

Dr Nariman MassoumiLecturer in Film and Television