Workshop ‘Voicing the Refugee Experience in Art, Literature and Cinema’ hosted by NICA

The upcoming workshop of the Platform for Postcolonial Readings will be devoted to a postcolonial reflection on the capacities and limits of art, literature, and cinema when it comes to giving a voice to refugees.

According to literary scholar Bishupal Limbu: “[t]o be a refugee is to lose certain rights, and in the absence of these rights, a person is no longer recognizable as such, devoid of significance, and meaningless to prevailing schemes of representation” (2009).

Taking this claim as our starting point, we will ask ourselves if, and if so how, literature, art, and cinema can artistically represent lives that are severed from representation politically.

Are there modes of artistic representation available and/or imaginable that succeed in effectively and non-reductively voicing the migrant experience, in many cases a liminal experience that appears beyond words and images?

Can artistic practices give voice to those who are generally seen as voiceless?

And is doing so a responsibility, a challenge or rather an undesirable instance of appropriation and ultimately silencing?

These and other questions will be addressed during the 17th meeting of the Platform for Postcolonial Readings on VOICING THE REFUGEE EXPERIENCE IN ART, LITERATURE AND CINEMA that is organized in collaboration with Voice4Thought.

The meeting will consist of:

– an introductory lecture
– a collective close reading and discussion of pivotal contributions to the debate on the representation of the so-called “refugee crisis”
– junior scholars presenting their own research in the light of the day’s topic
– a public debate on “People in Motion”, organized by Voice4Thought



MORNING: Voicing the Refugee Experiences – Possibilities and Pitfalls

10.15     Welcome

10.30     Short introduction of the platform theme

10.45     Guest lecture

11.30     Break

11.45     Responses to the Lecture and Discussion of the Readings

12.30-13.30 Lunch

AFTERNOON: Project Presentations and Public Debate

13.30-14.45 Further Food for Thought and Discussion
Research presentations by junior scholars

14.45-15.00   Break

15.15 “People in Motion” Panel Discussion hosted by Voice4Thought, Lipsius 019

  • #letslisten (Irial Glynn, Leiden University)
  • #letstalk (panel discussion)
  •  #letswatch (visuals and films)

17.00 Drinks


A reader will be distributed in preparation of the workshop which is open to all researchers, Research Master and PhD students working in the field of postcolonial studies.

Please register with Eloe Kingma of NICA/OSL (


Lipsius, room 148, 10.00 – 14.00, free entrance