Winter 2018 symposium: “Representing Migration”

Winter 2018 symposium: “Representing Migration”

February 2-4, 2018 | Copenhagen, Denmark

> Access the full program here

> Access the full CFP in PDF here

The research circle Understanding Migration in the Nordic and Baltic Countries is pleased to announce the call for our winter 2018 symposium in Copenhagen, Denmark, Friday, February 2 to Sunday, February 4, 2018.

The symposium will address contemporary migration through the lens of representation. Representations of migration—from scholarly and journalistic accounts, to films and photography, to official discourses emerging from policy makers and institutions—serve in various ways capture, contextualize, interpret, and define migration, and the people involved. At different levels of scale, the concept of representation encompasses not only the tangible products of these efforts, but also the practices and processes involved.

What are the ethical, creative, and legal challenges of representing migration? How do individuals represent themselves in particular ways through legal proceedings, as they seek asylum, or work, or government services? What role is the media playing in the lives of individuals and communities, how is this changing, or how might it? How do lawyers, advocates, and institutions working on behalf of individuals negotiate the work of representation in accordance with specific legal, bureaucratic, and cultural frameworks, as well as personal concerns? What responsibilities accompany representation amidst the broader and perhaps more diffuse landscapes in which various forms of cultural and political adjudication take place?

Our winter symposium will approach the vast topic of migration in terms the various forms and practices its representation takes, and also with attention to how representing in this context serves in various ways to produce the subject matter itself. We will address interrelated concerns ranging from the communication of individual experience, to the political and personal stakes of local and international decision-making, to the production of histories that frame how we understand what is happening in our communities and our world.

We invite scholars, filmmakers, legal practitioners, journalists, artists, activists, and others directly concerned with theoretical and pragmatic questions about representing migration to apply with presentations and/or advanced stage works-in-progress to share and discuss in an open, cross-disciplinary environment.

The winter 2018 symposium is a collaborative effort involving two other NSU study circles: Circle 2: “Appearances of the political” and Circle 5: “Patterns of Dysfunction in Contemporary Democracies.” In addition to the primary activities of Circle 1: “Understanding Migration,” a short common programme will provide opportunities for participants in each circle to introduce and collectively consider shared interests and concerns over the course of the weekend.

As a Nordic Summer University circle, we are fundamentally interested in the Nordic and Baltic countries. However, we strongly encourage diverse submissions that speak to the symposium’s theme and subject matter, even absent a direct geographical link to the Nordic and Baltic region. The goal of the research circle is to encourage cross-disciplinary engagement, and likewise, we seek always to expand cross-contextual feedback and exchange.

To Apply:

Please send a 300-word proposal and a short biographical statement to Bremen Donovan and Stéphanie Barillé at

The deadline for submission is November 1, 2017.

We encourage applicants to shape their presentations in the format they consider most suitable. Please keep in mind that each presentation should last a maximum of 50 minutes, including time for questions and discussion.

Those who wish to attend the symposium without giving a presentation are welcome to apply, but we encourage everyone to contribute actively to the group by engaging with any materials sent in advance, and taking an active role in collective discussions in Copenhagen. If you would like to attend the symposium without presenting your work, please submit a brief statement describing your interest in participating. Please note that priority will be given to applicants who intend to give presentations.

A preliminary program will be announced on December 1, 2017 at There you will also find further information about NSU and may sign up for the newsletter.


University of Copenhagen, Campus Amager.

Registration and payment:

Please note that the registration fee must be paid via PayPal or bank transfer in advance of the symposium, no later than December 1, 2017. Registration fees are as follows, and include the cost of the symposium, as well as dinner on Friday, lunch and dinner on Saturday, and lunch on Sunday.

Professors, lecturers, and other professionals: 50 €
Students and participants from Baltic countries and Poland: 20 €

Voluntary 6 € sponsorship fee:

We wish to support individuals of all backgrounds, including refugees and asylum seekers, who want take part in our symposium. By giving 6 €, you allow one individual who would not otherwise have the means to attend the symposium and join us for lunch and dinner. Individuals who wish to support this initiative, as well as individuals who would like to benefit from this initiative, are encouraged to email us at

Travel and accommodation:

NSU can help organise and cover the cost of hotel accommodation for two nights, so please indicate whether you will need a hotel room. Kindly note that this means basic accommodation for participants who are not already funded by their institutions, and who are willing to share a double room. Those who wish to stay in a single room are welcome to pay the difference in cost. We will also endeavour to arrange private accommodation for those who are interested. This will be an opportunity to learn and exchange within a diverse community of individuals interested in migration. Those based in Copenhagen who might be interested in hosting participants are invited to let us know by email.

Please note that neither the symposium fee nor any other costs will be reimbursed should the participant cancel. We encourage individuals to apply directly to their home institutions, art councils, local foundations or other sponsors for help covering travel costs. Limited funding for travel may be available through NSU once the symposium has ended.

Academic credits:

PhD and MA students are eligible for up to five ECTS points for participation and presentation of a paper. F

About Circle 1:

Understanding Migration in the Nordic and Baltic Countries is a three-year international research initiative funded by the Nordic Council of Ministers. It is a transnational network of scholars, artists, and practitioners who reflect on contemporary migration.

About NSU:

The Nordic Summer University (NSU) is an independent, non-profit, nomadic academic institution that organises workshop-seminars across disciplinary and national borders. Since its establishment in 1950, NSU has offered open access to scholarly activities, providing space for conversations and exchange around topics that have been underrepresented institutionally within the Nordic-Baltic region and beyond.

The backbone of NSU is its eight thematic study circles, which support the emergence of cutting-edge research initiatives and communities by bringing together scholars, researchers, students, artists, activists, and professionals from different backgrounds for focused symposia twice per year over a three-year period.

NSU builds on the Nordic values of equality, inclusion, and sustainability by combining two traditions: the continental ideals of learning and cultivation of the self, and the Nordic heritage of folkbildning and self-organisation, with investments in open-access education and collaboration through participation and active citizenship.

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