PhD student Kobyshcha Varvara

112800 €

Forced Migration in the Globalized Art World: Contemporary visual art in exile in Finland and Germany

Tieteellinen tutkimus / siihen pohjautuva työ | Nelivuotinen

This project will create a systematic understanding of contemporary ‘exile art’ in two European countries, Finland and Germany. It is focused on visual arts, whose nature and societal resonance are less explored in social science, than are performative arts, music, and literature, The project takes inspiration from prominent moments in modern art history when the global geography of art production was fundamentally re-shaped by exile migration processes. Massive forced migration since the mid-2010s has led to the reconfiguration of regional and global(ized) artistic fields. ‘Exile’ is an important keyword in contexts where art relies more on State and NGO programmes than on market institutions alone. It is embedded into the larger diversity-promotion trends in cultural policy across Europe. It is a comparative qualitative research, based on ethnographic methods, incl. in-depth semi-structured interviews, observations at multiple artistic locations, and analysis of relevant textual and visual materials. It focuses on visual artists in exile and others involved in the creation and reception of exile art. The project is multi-dimensional (covering artistic trajectories, networks and institutions, pragmatics, and societal effects), comparative and cross-border (encompassing national and trans-national contexts, core and more peripheral locations, different social origins and migration trajectories of the research participants), while bringing together diverse voices and perspectives (artists and supporting actors). Rooted in cultural sociological theory and methods, it is also multidisciplinary, as it takes aesthetic elements of creative practices and artists’ identities as seriously as social factors. It is aimed at identifying a) the complex position of ‘exile art’ within the global(ized) landscape of art production, evaluation, and reception, and b) new forms of interaction and imagination, including cosmopolitan ones, which are emerging through exile art practices.