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


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.


Net EU contribution
€ 1 497 620,00
Oude Markt 13
3000 Leuven

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Vlaams Gewest Prov. Vlaams-Brabant Arr. Leuven
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Other funding
€ 0,00