iKSV report featured on BBC World News Oct. 17, 2018


BBC World News Presenter 0:00
The increase in refugee and migrant populations around the world has given rise to anti migrant sentiments and questions over how we can all live together. Well, could part of the answer be as simple as investing in the arts? In a report compiled by the Istanbul foundation for Culture and Arts in Turkey, which itself is housing millions of Syrian refugees believes it might. One of its authors is Feyzi Baban. He joined me earlier from Istanbul.

Feyzi Baban 0:28
Myself, my colleague Kim Rygiel, we’ve been conducting this research in various European countries to look at the different citizens initiatives to use arts and culture to bring newcomers into local communities and break the boundaries between local populations and the newcomers. There are actually quite alot of interesting cases all around Europe, from Denmark to Germany and Turkey included, where local populations and refugees actually come together on various projects at different cities and neighbourhoods, to understand each other much better.

BBC World News Presenter 1:05
And tell us a little bit about these projects. Because we know art encompasses a lot of different things that painting etc. So what activities particularly work?

Feyzi Baban 1:15
I’ll give you some examples by for instance, in Denmark, which the Copenhagen municipales port it’s called 100% foreign a Danish artists in cooperation with the refugees that they had big over hundreds, big billboards around the city, where the refugees and their stories were juxtaposed all over the city. It allowed the locals of Copenhagen to constantly see these refugees and learn their experience the museum’s of Germany, for instance, they regularly incorporate refugee experiences. In one project for instance, in Berlin, it’s called multicar allows refugees to act as museum guides, where the refugees actually reinterpret the museum artefacts and the story is in the perspective of refugees.

BBC World News Presenter 2:07
It is interesting you talk about these experiences in museums in Germany, but we have seen in in places like Germany, particularly anti migrant campaigns marches in the streets. So how do you use art to work against something like that this very extremist thought?

Feyzi Baban 2:23
I think what happens is that in most cases, that the people they have these anti refugee sentiments when they don’t know anything about the refugees, their stories, that they come from this the arts actually bring out the refugees as who they are, and breaks down this bond without seeing the refugees is one big, abstract group of people, all of a sudden you actually start seeing them as individuals with their stories. I mean, obviously, not everybody’s going to, you know, go in that direction. But I think what the specific projects does that it helps people to understand who the refugees are.

TRT World program: Living Together: Fostering cultural pluralism through the arts

TRT World program, “Living Together: Fostering cultural pluralism through the arts,”  Showcase, Aug 3, 2018

One of the most important roles that the arts can play in this world is to inspire marginalized individuals and groups to express themselves in the public sphere. And it’s that idea that is at the heart of a new report just released by The Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts, titled ‘Living Together: Fostering Cultural Pluralism through the Arts’.

To speak about the transformative power culture and the arts can have on society, Showcase joined by Feyzi Baban, the co-author of the Living Together report.


Governing Through Citizenship and Citizenship from Below

Rygiel, K with Ilker Ataç, Anna Köster-Eiserfunke and Helge Schwiertz, Governing through Citizenship and Citizenship from Below. An Interview with Kim Rygiel, in: Movements. Journal für kritische Migrations- und Grenzregimeforschung 2015 1 (2).

Investigating migrant struggles as acts of citizenship serves not only to reframe non-citizen migrants as political subjects but also to unsettle the privileged identity of citizens.

This interview reviews some reflections from Kim Rygiel’s work on theorizing the struggles of migrants at the borders of Europe from a politics of citizenship perspective as forms of citizenship from below. The study of border controls reveals how restrictions on migrants’ mobility generates new forms of inequality and exclusion, but also social responses, and in particular, an emerging and growing activism of politicized groups of non-citizen migrants and citizens working alongside them in solidarity for migrants’ rights.

Investigating border controls thus requires investigating multiple practices and sites of bordering, but it also raises questions about the nature of the border and how to study it. The concept of bordering solidarities highlights for her that as much as border controls are restrictive and divisive, borders also paradoxically act as bridges or moments around which people on either sides of the borders, non-citizen migrants along with citizens, come together in solidarity and support for migrants’ rights.

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A Year after “The Cologne Attacks”: How Small Community Initiatives in Europe Are Countering Right-wing Populism

By Feyzi Baban and Kim Rygiel

The question we need to ask is this: Why do some people and communities express discomfort and hostility towards others of different cultural, ethnic and religious backgrounds while others show openness and solidarity with newcomers such as refugees?

The one-year anniversary of the “Cologne attacks” on some 1,200 women on New Year’s Eve is a difficult one for many Germans. Prior to the attacks, since the summer of 2015, Germany demonstrated remarkable leadership – unlike many other European countries – by providing refuge to a million people fleeing war in places like Syria, where nearly half the population fled their homes. Last year’s attacks, most of which took place in the Cologne train station and included sexual assault, rape and robbery, were a tipping and turning point for many Germans.

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Laurier political scientist researching what makes communities embrace or reject newcomers

Xenophobic populism is gaining traction in many places. Far-right groups have gained prominence in many European countries and in North America by protesting what they see as Islamization of the West and jobs being taken by foreigners. Many countries have seen incidents of attacks on immigrants or minorities, xenophobic rallies and racist graffiti.

And yet, says Wilfrid Laurier University Associate Professor Kim Rygiel, these groups don’t speak for the majority. Around the world, there are many examples of grassroots groups quietly and effectively working for tolerance, integration and the building of diverse communities.