This multiformat workshop started out with a playful warm-up that activated the embodied approach that the facilitators, the Murmurae platform from Spain, proposed. From there it opened onto a personal mapping exercise, where participants traced and analysed a recent personal-collective trajectory of importance to the participants. Timespans concerned social movement cycles, the life of collectives or developments in personal life such as migration, illness or childbirth. The analytical parametres of this exercise were to trace the changes in material resources, affective states and references, references of action and organisation, and references of thought across the timeline-trajectory of participants.
Building on those intimate cartographies and timelines, a blind-guided listening exercise was facilitated, wherein participants went in pairs. One person closed their eyes and was guided by a partner who recounted their mapped trajectory – making use of space, tonality of voice and touch, rhythm and modalities of walking and guiding, as well as techniques of narration of course. From this we launched into collective discussion about the micropolitical challenges within our collective processes and displacements across territories. The discussion brought out a series of issues concerning experiences and strategies of uprootedness; the intensity of displacement and outmigration in the peripheries; the importance of the material dimension in conditioning other levels such as the affective, intellectual and active-organisational; the notion and realities of family in relation to political action; etc.
In a second part, the workshop then moved on to map broader dynamics of migration in relation to personal trajectories. We began in small groups, tracing a shared geographical-vital space of reference and marking our migratory trajectories onto it. Departing from such lived experiences of our own as well as close others, we added layers of borders and filters into the map. Those could be real borders (the Schengen area being a major one that many people born in the East know all too well), different regimes of mobility (and their effects of bureaucracy, of visa applications and marriages, applications for work permits, etc), material or linguistic borders and filters: whatever it is that hinders and complicates movement. Placing these on the map of the European continent, all the way into Asia, we told stories of encountering borders and filters, and shared as well as individual strategies for circumventing them.
This took us to a more general mapping of regional migratory dynamics, tracing the flows from the peripheries into the centre (as with many de-classed PIGS migrants who go to London, Berlin, Vienna, Copenhagen, etc.) as well as into other peripheries (as with Bulgarians moving to Spain and Portugal, Albanians moving to Italy, Turkish to Germany, Lithuanians to Sweden and the UK, Asia minor migrants moving to west Russia, etc) and also into Europe from outside (those fleeing abject poverty and war in the Middle East and Africa). Charting some of these flows on our geographical map, we discussed different driving forces of migration and different regimes in class as characteristic of different regions and populations. The shift from mobility to migration that many in the PIGS countries experienced in the crisis differs from the post-socialist histories of deprivation that have triggered so many waves of outmigration from the East since the 1990s (and before of course, but our mappings focussed on things that happened in our own vital spacetime, since we were born). This final mapping exercise again led to the telling of many stories which we entered into the map, and opened a broad range of questions that need further discussion. Amongst them is the need to map the dynamics of xenophobia and border politics as present in different peripheral regions along with an analysis of their similarities and differences. The peripheral countries of the South and East are filter countries of the European union – intra-Schengen processing, detention and deportation zones in the case of the Meditteranean, extra-Schengen transfer zones in the case of large parts of south-east Europe.