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Making Migrant Voices Heard through Literature: How Collaboration is Changing the Cultural Field

Project description

Writing together: improving inclusion of migrants in European culture

European cities are becoming more culturally diverse. This impacts the ways literature is produced today. The EU-funded COLLAB project will explore transnational collaboration as a means to create spaces for literary participation of migrants. It will highlight the social embeddedness of literature and build an original framework for understanding the thematic and formal implications of transnational collaboration in literary texts. COLLAB will analyse the concept of collaboration from multiple perspectives: as a political strategy in civil society (enhancing intercultural exchange through storytelling workshops), as a form of co-authorship between migrants and other writers with different cultural backgrounds (promoting stories of migration) and as an alternative publishing system based on crowdfunding (providing new opportunities for migrants and other emerging authors).

Objective

As initiatives for more diversity and inclusiveness in the cultural field are gaining ground and migration becomes an increasingly important issue on the political agendas of many countries around the world, this project examines the ways in which transnational collaborations create spaces for literary participation of migrants. Situated at the intersection between international relations, comparative literature and business economics, COLLAB analyzes the notion of collaboration from a threefold perspective: 1) as a political strategy in civil society that enhances intercultural exchange and the social integration of migrants through collective storytelling, 2) as a form of co-authorship between migrants and other writers with different cultural backgrounds that gives voice to stories of migration that would often be lost without their translation, 3) as an alternative economic model consisting in peer-to-peer support that brings new voices to the publishing industry. Focusing on a broad range of non-profit organizations, collaborative texts by amateur and professional writers and crowdfunding platforms that help make migrant voices heard through literature, the project seeks to understand how collaboration changes the cultural field and impinges on migrants’ agency. It shows how social actors and institutions that are traditionally perceived as belonging outside the cultural field have become crucial players in redefining notions of authorship rooted in individual and national singularity. Challenging strict distinctions between textual and contextual dynamics, COLLAB highlights the social embeddedness of literature and builds an original framework for understanding the thematic and formal implications of transnational collaboration in literary texts. While borrowing theories and methods from other disciplines, COLLAB confidently reorients the social sciences towards the project’s center of gravity, the literary text, and shows that literature is an important tool to understand broader societal transformations.

Host institution

KATHOLIEKE UNIVERSITEIT LEUVEN
Net EU contribution
€ 1 497 620,00
Address
OUDE MARKT 13
3000 Leuven
Belgium

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Region
Vlaams Gewest Prov. Vlaams-Brabant Arr. Leuven
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Links
Total cost
€ 1 497 620,00

Beneficiaries (1)