Placeless People: What can History tell us about today’s Refugee Crises?

Event Date: 20 June 2016
Council Room
Birkbeck Main Building
Birkbeck, University of London
Malet Street
London WC1E 7HX

The Pears Institute for the Study of Antisemitism  in association with the University of East Anglia presents:

Placeless People: What can History tell us about today’s Refugee Crises?

The aim of the workshop is to bring together experts in a range of fields – leading historians and scholars, policy makers, representatives from local government, NGOs, think tanks, advocacy groups and the media, to explore how history, in its broadest political, cultural and social senses, can usefully be employed to inform our understanding of the current refugee crisis and help shape our responses to it.

The workshop will address the following questions among others: are there connections between refugee crises in the past and the present? What lessons can be drawn? What kind of historical accounts do NGO’s and policy makers need to make their cases?  How might the recasting of refugee stories on a bigger historical canvas re-shape perception? And, most pressingly, how should policy and responses to the future be shaped by grasping that mass displacement may become the norm?

Programme:

Lyndsey Stonebridge and Becky Taylor (University of East Anglia) – Welcome and Introduction

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 Panel One: Refugees Now – Representations and Perspectives

This session will ask those working with refugees and communities affected by current refugee crises to talk about the problems of the current terms of media and political debates.

Introduction to the Panel and Chair: Ben Gidley (Birkbeck, University of London)

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Omar Khan (Runnymede Trust)

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Daniel Trilling (journalist, editor and author)

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Elena Fiddian-Qasmiyeh (Refuge in a Moving World Network, University College London)

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Panel Two: Lessons from History

This session will see historians exploring the different lessons we might draw from histories and the benefits and pitfalls of drawing on historical examples to understand today’s situation.

Introduction to the Panel and Chair: Becky Taylor (University of East Anglia)

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Simon Behrman (University of East Anglia)

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Jessica Reinisch (Birkbeck, University of London)

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Peter Gatrell (University of Manchester)

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Tony Kushner  (University of Southampton)

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Panel Three: Making History Now

This session will explore different ways in which people have been challenging mainstream representations of refugees, and how the voices of refugees themselves might be heard in public discourse and debates.

Introduction to the Panel and Chair: Lyndsey Stonebridge, University of East Anglia

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Yousif Qasmiyeh (poet and writer)

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Colin Yeo (immigration barrister and blogger, Garden Court Chambers Representatives of Freed Voices from Detention Action)

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Amir and Fred (Free Voices)

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Agnes Woolley (Royal Holloway, University of London)

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