“Human Mobility / Human Dignity: Ethics in the act of representing migration and detention”

Wednesday, 6 February 2019 - 4:00pm to 5:20pm

As cameras, drones, and mobile devices capture the spectacle of humans migrating en masse, despite insurmountable obstructions, the pictures and recordings that circulate, in real time or later, produce consequences. This lecture will review the role of cultural producers, including artists and journalists, in the production of meaning during refugee migrations and situations of forced detention. Whether making us face an infinite ethical demand, as Levinas described, or making visible and audible the way hostile state policies are experienced in the everyday (Schreiber; Herd and Pincus), a look at how migration is pictured and heard is an ethical inquiry.


Lois Klassen is an artist, writer, and researcher based in Vancouver, Canada. In art and texts she has considered the nature of participation and representation. In 2018 she successfully defended the doctoral dissertation, Ethics and Participation in Art: Reading the Migration Library and other methods (Cultural Studies, Queen’s University, Kingston, Canada). Klassen holds a Master of Applied Art (Visual Art) from Emily Carr University of Art + Design. Besides being a volunteer career mentor for newcomer-Canadians, and an enthusiastic participant in Vancouver’s various art scenes, Klassen serves as the coordinator of the Emily Carr University Research Ethics Board.