Visual ethnographic research on belonging
|About||migration, depopulation, Europe, belonging|
|Methods||audio-visual, ethnographic and collaborative research methods|
|As part of||MSc Visual Ethnography, Leiden University|
|Supervised by||Dr. Mark Westmoreland|
When explorers of the past would be unable to map an area of the world, they would describe it as terra incognita – land unknown. Nowadays, no map would admit to there being any terra incognita. And yet… Across Europe refugees are placed in remote villages to resolve issues around depopulation and a shortage of urban accommodation. This research takes the case of Valle di Comino, where I worked with refugees to understand how they experience and create a sense of home in an area that other people choose to leave. Under the supervision of the Visual Anthropology department at Leiden University I used collaborative and artistic research methods.
The research result is a triptych: academic text, documentary film and a visual guide for Italian residents to bridge the gap between Italian residents and their new refugee neighbours. Through the text, film and guide I have tried to recreate the world that the new residents of Valle di Comino inhabit. The text has set out and substantiated the overall argument. The guide offers a glimpse into the everyday life in the Valley. The film shows a world of confusion, where few things make sense, and one can only expect the unexpected – an impossible task. Together they create terra incognita. I hope the peek into terra incognita will lead to the respect and curiosity that makes human living so extraordinary.