Migration Studio

Migration Studio: Topography of the refugee ‘crisis’ focuses on the phenomenon of migration along the Balkan route. It traces the physical, political, legal, social and human terrain of the refugee ‘crisis’ unfolding along one of the main historic migration paths. We take the current refugee situation in this corridor as our departure point. As we shift our gaze from the Turkish Aegean coast, from one island “hot spot” to another, across Greece, Bulgaria and Serbia, we engage with histories of empires and their collapse, ancient and more recent migration flows, and the cultural sediment they have left behind. Student research agendas, internships and media projects are arranged along several thematic axes connected to broader topics of migration, refugee issues and policies; EU and regional politics; identity relationships, the conversations and the conflicts they spark and the actors that claim them; the built environment, camps, and spaces of confinement and the paths and actors of mobility; the institutional and legal frameworks and the discourses and representations of the ‘crisis’ that have come to define it.

Border(Lines) is a long-form interview podcast where students and Professor Everita Silina discuss the politics of migration and forced displacement with scholars, researchers and practitioners. 

Students worked with a law firm in Lesvos, Greece this summer while simultaneously pursuing their own individual research topics. 

“Our entire intention so far has been to try to always find something positive, something actionable, and in that sense, I think the Studio can be a very unique experience because it shows by participating, it shows that something positive also can be done about very, very large and complex issues, such as migration.”
Everita Silina
Faculty Supervisor

Studio Series: Lesvos

Studio Series: Lesvos is the first of a series of short documentaries that follows along International Affairs students conducting their research in the field. 

This studio focuses on the phenomenon of migration along the Balkan route. It traces the physical, political, legal, social and human terrain of the refugee ‘crisis’ unfolding along one of the main historic migration paths. We take the current refugee situation in this corridor as our departure point. As we shift our gaze from the Turkish Aegean coast, from one island “hot spot” to another, across Greece, Bulgaria and Serbia, we engage with histories of empires and their collapse, ancient and more recent migration flows, and the cultural sediment they have left behind. Student research agendas, internships and media projects are arranged along several thematic axes connected to broader topics of migration, refugee issues and policies; EU and regional politics; identity relationships, the conversations and the conflicts they spark and the actors that claim them; the built environment, camps, and spaces of confinement and the paths and actors of mobility; the institutional and legal frameworks and the discourses and representations of the ‘crisis’ that have come to define it. 

Students are required to enroll in the spring semester studio 1, a winter or summer field experience (IFP), and the follow-up fall semester studio 2. Students have a choice of field experience in winter (January: in Lesvos and Leros) or summer (June: in all sites). A substitute arrangement can be designed for those wishing to remain in the US/NYC. The studio is meant to give students a more holistic engagement with the topic of migration and to help students structure their degree progress along a more sustained and focused agenda. It is best suited for those students who are interested in the topic of migration for their final capstone project and who are considering a future career in this field or fields relevant to it.

Studio format: Migration Studio is a group-based project in a close partnership with a faculty supervisor (Everita Silina) and, as necessary, engagement with local actors to allow students to learn and explore the topic of migration by focusing on concrete aspects of the current refugee situation in the Balkans. The studio will aid each student in identifying their own research agenda and by developing it into a final project for degree completion.

Each student is expected to find his/her own more nuanced and specific research interest within the broader scope of the refugee ‘crisis’. The Studio will aid each student in developing their research agenda into a final project for degree completion. 

Migration, Refugee Issues and Policies, EU and Regional Politics, Identity Relationships, the Built Environment, Camps, and Spaces of Confinement, Mobility, Refugee Institutional and Legal Frameworks, Refugee ‘Crisis’ Discourses and Representations.

Click to see work completed from the spring 2018 semester! Students created podcasts, a website, and a timeline of the refugee “crisis”.