Reframing Displacement

Series Conveners

Asa Roast (Geography)

Nour Halabi (SMC)

James Souter (POLIS)


Series Overview

We are living through an age of unprecedented global and local displacement. Human populations are experiencing a convergence of political, economic and climate-related factors necessitating involuntary displacement.

Yet current discourse on human displacement is divorced from critical engagement across these varying scales.

Discussion of ‘urban’ ‘migratory’ and ‘transnational’ displacements remain siloed in separate academic disciplines, limiting our insight into shared causes and mechanisms. Similarly, popular representations and imaginations of displacement tend to flatten it to a discrete, linear, and ahistorical phenomenon—a moment of ‘crisis’—removed from the complex intersections of causality and diverse experiences that displacements generate.

Our aim within this Sadler Seminar series is to re-assess and “displace” this narrow understanding of displacement. Our goal is to visualize, articulate and ultimately reframe displacement and how it is represented through conversation across the arts and humanities and social sciences.

Using a series of seminars and workshops, we will investigate opportunities for interdisciplinary research around the intersection of multiple scales and experiences of displacement, drawing on inputs from researchers across the arts, humanities and social sciences at the University of Leeds, in addition to external expertise.

We will explore how representations of displacement, methodologies for studying displacement, and intersecting sites of urban and transnational displacement can form the basis for a new research agenda.

Research Questions

  • How are differing experiences of displacement labelled and described in distinct linguistic and cultural contexts?
  • What are the historical and geographical contexts that shape how displacement is conceptualised at different scales, and their limitations?
  • What are the methodological possibilities and political implications for novel ways of representing and visualising human displacement?

Events in the Series

Displacing epistemologies – Jan 2022 (Public Digital Seminar)

Uprooting displacement – Jan 2022 (Public Digital Seminar)

Methods workshop – April 2022 (Closed face-to-face workshop)

Displacements Roundtable – July 2022 (Public roundtable)