Norwegian University Center in Paris, October 2016

The Arts of Migration and Artworks That Travel Across the World 

A Performance/Lecture by

Blanca Casas Brullet, Susan Ossman and Olga Sezneva


Norwegian University Centre in Paris Fondation

(MMTW) is a flexible, synergetic and mobile platform for artistic research into issues of migration. In our contribution to the seminar we discuss how, since the moment of its inception in 2013 with the publication of the book Moving Matters: Paths to Serial Migration by Susan Ossman, the Traveling Workshop has provided space and means for generating art across visual, literary and performing arts. We explore how the workshop enables a mobile space of reflexivity regarding movement and its narration, including through performances that erupt into the lecture.

The artists of MMTW were born and have lived in diverse countries, yet they share the experience of multiple migrations. Each meeting is held in a new location, in a different type of locale and focuses on a specific theme. Exhibitions, performances and participatory events have been developed in California, Clichy, Amsterdam and Bucharest.

We examine how this collective, multi-sited process of “inhabitation” has led artists to develop work that raises issues of mobility, subjectivity and culture. We analyze how this mobile space of art production, research and social engagement, which is not simply “about” migrants or migration but defined by and shaped by migration enables provocative interventions on themes of mobility and migration across art and scholarship. We will show how social categories derived from recognizing shared experiences of migration can be socially, critically and artistically productive, and how the ‘traveling’ of the Workshop itself can be expressive of the core concept of the joint artistic work, human mobility.


  • Bibliography

Susan Ossman

  1. “Making Matrice: Intersubjectivity in Ethnography and Art,” with Juliann Allison, Collaborative Anthropologies. Vol. 7,
  2. “Anthropologie Visuelle,” la vie des, October 2014.
  3. Moving Matters: Paths of Serial Migration, Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2013.
  4. “Making Art Ethnography: Painting, War and Ethnographic Practice.” In Art and Anthropology, ed. A. Schneider and C. Wright. Oxford: Berg.
  5. (ed)The Places We Share: Migration, Subjectivity and Global Mobility. Lanham, MD: Lexington Press.

Olga Sezneva

  1. ‘Pirate Cosmopolitics and the Transnational Consciousness of the Entertainment Industry,’ Ethnic and Racial Studies, Special Issue “Books, Bodies, and Bronzes: comparing sites of global citizenship creation” edited by Peggy Levitt. Vol. 37, No. 12: 2226-2242
  2. ‘On Moral Substance and Visual Obscurity in Policy and Practice of State Expansion,’ Environment and Planning D: Society & Space 31(4): 611-627
  3. ‘The Architecture of Descent: Historical Reconstructions and Politics of Belonging in Kaliningrad, the former Königsberg’. Journal of Urban History 39 (4): 767-787

To see the conference program, click here.

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