Material Cultures of Refuge in Lebanon

Lead Research Organisation: University College London
Department Name: UCL Institute for Global Prosperity


This project will study the environmental, material, visual and digital cultures of forced migration in Lebanon in the context of mass displacement from Syria. Methodologically, it will draw on recent approaches developed at the Pitt Rivers Museum to combine spatial, ethnographic, and archaeological approaches to landscapes, the built environment, and physical and virtual artefacts, In doing so it will contribute to the development of cross-disciplinary museum-based studies of transitory objects and ephemeral spaces created by people on the move. The research will aim to make connections between different scales of analysis from the regional and the environmental to the site-specific and the experienced, and from material culture to human lives. Through exploring how contemporary collecting and participatory documentation can give voices to otherwise invisible experiences, the research will aim to contribute an extended case study in the documentation of the contemporary world - working at the intersection between the long-term perspectives of curatorial and museological thought and practice and the impermanence and precarity of refugee experiences.


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