VIDEO OF BECCA HELLER KEYNOTE
On October 17, 2019, Becca Heller — founder and co-director of the International Refugee Assistance Project and MacArthur Genius Award recipient — provided the keynote address for Moving Subjects Week: “Refugee Rights at a Crossroads." Read more about Moving Subjects Week below.
About Migration, Mobility, and Immobility
Migration, Mobility, and Immobility (MMI) is a two-year project of the Global Arts and Humanities Discovery Theme, which seeks to foster collaborative research and creative work on the intersection of these three concepts. Building on the work of the Global Mobility Project (2016-2018), MMI expands its scope of inquiry from the exploration of transnational and local migrations to the spatial and social isolation of communities and individuals due poverty, social discrimination, closed borders, incarceration, disability, or statelessness, among others.While focused on humanistic and artistic expression, it invites conversations with the entire campus community and brings together faculty, students, and community partners in productive collaborative explorations.
Some of its initiatives include a scholar-/artist-/activist-in-residence program, teaching collaborations, community engagement projects, the organization of talks, film screenings, performances, and exhibitions, and a grants program for faculty, graduate, and undergraduate students.
The MMI leadership team includes Theodora Dragostinova (History; GAHDT Faculty Fellow); Danielle Fosler-Lussier (School of Music); Yana Hashamova (Slavic)l; Robin Judd (History); Paloma Martinez-Cruz (Spanish & Portuguese): and Ryan Skinner (School of Music & AAAS).
Moving Subjects Week | October 2019
Moving Subjects: Migration, Mobility and Immobility Week was a week-long series of events in October 2019 that showcased the cutting-edge research and creative work of Ohio State’s arts and humanities faculty, students and community partners. The week highlighted the power of creative practices and humanities methods to address critical local and global challenges.
Moving Subjects Week began with a celebration of Indigenous People's Day and continued throughout the week with music and dance performances, talks, book readings and a graduate and undergraduate forum. Moving Subjects Week culminated with a community celebration for Day of the Dead. Becca Heller, founder and director of the International Refugee Assistance Project and MacArthur Genius Award recipient, provided the keynote address.
This event was organized by the Migration, Mobility and Immobility Project of the Global Arts + Humanities Discovery Theme.
A Celebration of Indigenous Peoples' Day
Monday, October 14, 2019, from 2:30-4 p.m.
Coordinated with the two recently-launched GAHDT projects, Indigenous Ohio: Ohio State and Native Arts and Humanities Past and Present and K’acha Willaykuna: Andean and Amazonian Indigenous Arts and Humanities Collaboration, this event featured a presentation on the art of Potawatami Basketry (as practiced by the Pokagon Band of the Potawatami Tribe) and the traveling national pop-up exhibit of Andean and Amazonian Cultural Artifacts.
Four Women: The Diasporic Art of Josette Bushell-Mingo
Tuesday, October 15, 2019, from 4-5:30 p.m.
A musical and conversational evening with renowned Afro-British/Swedish artist, activist and cultural advocate Josette Bushell-Mingo, that traced her personal and professional journey as a Black stage and film actor, director and vocalist in contemporary Europe. In addition to a public discussion of her diasporic life and work, the event featured select performances from Bushell-Mingo’s solo stage play, Nina: A Story About Me and Nina Simone.
Graduate Student Research and Creative Activity Forum and Reception
Wednesday, October 16, 2019 from 4-5 p.m.
This poster presentation will feature the work of graduate students who are the recipients of the Migration, Mobility and Immobility Project’s Research and Creative Activity Grants. Contact: Yana Hashamova (.1), Department of Slavic and East European Languages and Cultures.
Keynote address: Becca Heller, "Refugee Rights at a Crossroads"
Thursday, October 17, 2019, 4 p.m. reception; 4:30-6 p.m. talk
Becca Heller is the co-founder and executive director of the International Refugee Assistance Project, which provides legal advocacy for refugees and displaced people through free direct legal representation, advocacy and litigation. In recognition of these efforts, the MacArthur Foundation named Heller a 2018 Genius Award Recipient for her work “to defend the rights of refugees and improve protection outcomes for many of the world’s most at-risk populations.”
In this keynote address, Heller discussed her personal experiences and the work IRAP has done to explain how and why refugees and migrants seek safety in third countries, what processes and legal norms are available to them and how perceptions of “crisis” are being politicized to keep people out. Engaging the dominant narratives about who refugees are, this talk provided a vision for how to confront rising xenophobia around the world by providing pathways to safety for vulnerable people.
Book reading and discussion: Kapka Kassabova, Border: A Journey to the Edge of Europe
Friday, October 18, 2019, from 12:30-2 p.m.
Award-winning author Kapka Kassabova lead the discussion of her haunting travelogue documenting the borderlands of Greece, Turkey and Bulgaria, where past injustices and current dilemmas powerfully converge to tell the story of human perseverance in the face of adversity – from wartime devastation to Cold War desperation to contemporary global crises — the border is a meeting places of many cultures and a venue of human sadness, longing and hope.
Moving Subjects: The Travels of Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) Observances
Friday, October 18, 2019, from 2:30-3:45 p.m.
This roundtable conversation explored the cultural forms associated with migrations, placemaking, memorial practices and the local iterations of the Mexican celebration of the Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead). This day – rooted in pre-Hispanic cultures – has seen diverse interpretations and manifestations since colonial times. Our panel kicked off the two-day community event that showcases Latinx "muertos" traditions in the Midwest and beyond.
Ya Vienen los Muertos (Here Come the Dead): Community Celebration of the Day of the Dead
Saturday, October 19, 2019, from 11 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.
Organized by the outreach team of the Department of Spanish and Portuguese, this community event was particularly aimed at families as it featured crafts, face painting, lunch and the screening of the film Coco (2017). Following a procession from the Gateway to the Ohio State campus, the celebration continued with a dance performance, lecture-demonstration, pop-up exhibit and altar reception at Sullivant Hall.
How Movement Moves: Dancing Across Borders, from West Africa to the Americas
Saturday, October 19, 2019, from 2:30-3 p.m.
This event showcased an innovative community collaboration between Dance Brazil, an undergraduate student tour group at the Department of Dance that emphasizes dance migrations of the African diaspora within the Americas, and Suzan Bradford Kounta, artistic director of the Thiossane Institute and director of the Lincoln Theater who also teaches West African dance classes at Ohio State. Featuring an original musical score played live by Thiossane’s musicians and a lecture-demonstration explaining the dances and their contexts, this event reached out to members of Columbus’s African American community.
Reception with Altar and Pop-up Exhibit: Latinx Comics Past, Present and Future
Saturday, October 19, 2019, from 3-5 p.m.
- Essay | Josette Bushell-Mingo: The Revolution Will Be Staged
By Associate Professor Ryan Thomas Skinner, School of Music and the Department of African American and African Studies. This essay is about Josette Bushell-Mingo, who will be performing at Ohio State in October for Moving Subjects Week. The text is excerpted from Skinner's manuscript, Yellow, Blue, and Black: Social History and Public Culture in Afro-Sweden.
Student reflections | Ohio State Students Reflect on Moving Subjects Week
Podcast | Kapka Kassabova Interview
In this podcast, Ohio State Department of History Professor Theodora Dragostinova and PhD student Chris Kinley speak to Kapka Kassabova, an award-winning poet, essayist and writer, about her most recent book, Border: A Journey to the Edge of Europe. Kassabova visited Ohio State in October 2019, speaking to students and faculty about her experiences traveling the border and capturing its spirit in her writing.
Video | Becca Heller Keynote Address
Becca Heller — co-founder and executive director of the International Refugee Assistance Project — provided the keynote address for Moving Subjects Week. In this address, Heller discussed her personal experiences and the work IRAP has done to explain how and why refugees and migrants seek safety in third countries, what processes and legal norms are available to them and how perceptions of “crisis” are being politicized to keep people out. Engaging the dominant narratives about who refugees are, this talk provided a vision for how to confront rising xenophobia around the world by providing pathways to safety for vulnerable people.