Skip to main content

Paris Centre for Migrant Writing and Expression

Exploring questions of mobility and multilingualism.  

The Paris Centre for Migrant Writing and Expression has been working since 2012 with academics, students, asylum seekers and refugees to investigate a wide range of subjects, including mobility and displacement, translation, multilingualism, and cultural transfer. 

The Centre aims to foster and consolidate research activities that address how our language(s) and means of expression shape and are shaped by our paths through the world, both historically and more recently. In the post-monolingual environments of the modern city, our modes of expression are constantly on the move, shifting and travelling in ever-increasing ways. In a world that requires us to move on faster and faster, our experiences of belonging and our possibilities for saying ‘we’ also reside more and more in these often-ephemeral forms of expression, the result of improvised groupings. The work carried out under the auspices of the Centre is particularly concerned with how cultures rub together to move one another, and particularly how forms of disturbance – linguistic, political, demographic – create new spaces of meaning that can reach to distant worlds, connecting and shaping patterns of life in endless ways. 

Alongside running regular ‘translation laboratories’ in partnership with the Vaclav Havel Public Library, the centre has been the focus for outreach initiatives developed with Being Human Festival (2017, 2018) and arts-based network Phakama. It has worked with the Tate Exchange Programme, and numerous networks in Paris, including the Non-lieux de l’exil, the PEROU, and La Permanence choréographique de la Chapelle. It is currently planning an event supported by the OWRI Language Acts programme for autumn 2020.  

The Centre also explores intersections with other research interests at the University of London Institute in Paris through regular study days and seminars, including the study day on The Body and Work: Gender, Labour, Migration with the Institute in Paris affiliate Dr Leslie Barnes (Australian National University), which will take place on 20 November 2020, and Walter Benjamin au carrefour de la République des Lettres with Professor Jean-Michel Gouvard (Bordeaux), scheduled for early 2021. 

Discover the full list of upcoming events at the University of London Institute in Paris.


Read more about the centre’s work and activities, as well as reflections from our researchers, in our regular blog posts.