Interior Claims: Migrant Life Inside Out

Seminar Thu, April 29, 2021 4:00 PM – 6:00 PM BST

April 15th at 2:11pm

Migration is often discussed at the scale of the nation or continent. Yet, the everyday lives of migrants are framed by the places they find shelter, work and home: the spaces from which they negotiate state legal mechanisms and associated exclusionary forces. This seminar focuses on the interior worlds in which migrants negotiate lives in the UK and South africa respectively. The speakers discuss how working with and through the fine grain detail of small-scale interiors offers the means to productively engage with space, culture and personhood in the context of migration.

The seminar engages the following questions: How do people comprise an interior reality, in the context of serial migration? How might paying attention to interior worlds, constitute a mode of recognition and practice of refusal of state violence? How might we begin to think of migrancy beyond the limitations of the nation-state framework and associated limitations of citizenship?

Suzanne Hall is an Associate Professor in Sociology and Co-director of the Cities Programme at the LSE. She is an interdisciplinary urban scholar and her work connects the asymmetries of global migration and urban marginalisation. From the grounded perspective of peripheral street economies, she explores the racialised frameworks of citizenship and economic inequality and their everyday contestations. By moving between globe, state and street, her work engages with the margins as a capricious space in which social sorting, cultural intermixtures and claims to difference are forged. She is author of ‘The Migrant Paradox: Street livelihoods and marginal citizenship in the UK’ (University of Minnesota. Press, 2021).

Huda Tayob is a lecturer in the School of Architecture, Planning and Geomatics at the University of Cape Town. She is trained as an architect and architectural historian, and her PhD focused on the spatial practices of African migrants in Cape Town with a particular focus on mixed-use markets, explored from the intimate scale of individual spaces to the wider urban context. Her wider interests are in subaltern and minor architectures, critical race theory, and archival practices. She is lead co-curator of the online exhibition Archive of Forgetfulness.

Image credit: Urban mutualisms in a shop on Rye Lane, Peckham. (Drawn by Thomas Aquilina, Ordinary Streets project, 2014).