A visual essay exploring life as a refugees in asylum houses in depopulating Italy

As part of the Terra Incognita research project, and inspired by the Subjective Atlas series, this visual essay explores the daily life of refugees in depopulating Italy. Made in collaboration with refugee migrants, each page sheds light on one aspect of life; from how to travel around, to the food that is cooked, hair that is being braided or the big mountains that surrounds them.

The full essay is available at www.land-unknown.eu. Articles on the design and research process were published in Imaginations journal for cross-cultural image studies, and Anthrovision.

The essay is directed first and foremost at Italian residents. Most Italians in Valle di Comino knew very little about the refugees who are now their new neighbours. The two groups lived largely in parallel, creating separate communities within the valley. The situation is not that different from many other areas in Europe where there is equally little exchange. It is understandable; after all, where do you start the conversation with someone you don’t know? What questions do you ask when TV and the news has already given you the answers? And what if you don’t even share the same language? But also, how small would our world be without a little curiosity? Let yourself by guided into the unknown.

LocationValle di Comino, Italy
MethodsPhotowalks, Mapping activities, Drawing, Photo observation
As part ofMSc Visual Ethnography, Leiden University
Supervised byDr. Mark Westmoreland