The ethics and politics of the refugee crisis

May 2016- Mar 2017
Overview Methods Partners Outputs
Back to Projects


Rationale and research background

The migrant camp in Calais has become a potent symbol of Europe’s refugee crisis, but its proximity—just twenty miles from our shores —has also raised a series of ethical dilemmas about our relationships to, and responsibilities towards, not-so-distant-others. The crisis has brought mtogether a host of different actors, with multiple, contrasting projects, intentions and motivations. This obviously includes refugees and migrants, but also those who police and regulate migration, those campaigning for more of it, those who support migration for personal benefit, and those who aid migrants out of solidarity and compassion. Not only have we been forced to question the politics and ethics of engagement, including researching and reporting of the crisis, but we have also been compelled to revaluate our understandings of hospitality, compassion, justice, citizenship, borders and migration.

This is an integrated programme of knowledge exchange activities including: a public exhibition, learning labs, school projects and a showcase event focusing on Europe’s refugee crisis - see further information under the 'methods' tab.

Aims and Objectives

  1. Collaboratively devise avenues to contribute to public knowledge about migrants and refugees by sharing the expertise independently gained by COMPAS, Citizenship & Governance Research at OU, MMP, actReal and IOM on engagement with the current refugee crisis, and in relation to broader themes relating to migration, borders, citizenship, and justice.
  2. Establish a long-term agenda for furthering the collaboration between academic research, civil society, education and the cultural sectors via avenues of creative expression.
  3. Engage with young people, families and local community groups from backgrounds traditionally under-represented in the arts and cultural heritage sector.
  4. Engage with national and international civil society organisations active on issues of (forced) migration to demonstrate how arts projects can inform their work and contribute to their agendas.
  5. Devise ways of challenging negative representations in media and government discourse by bringing in direct voices and sensitising the public through stories of Calais camp residents.