Lost and Found through the Migrant Experience

Wednesday 22 November 6:30pm – 8:30pm


London, UK

Free Event

This event brings together different voices including former child migrants, artists, film makers and researchers to explore the significance of objects that have been lost or preserved during the migration experience.

Through discussion and film screenings, the conversation will explore how objects, such as photo albums, smartphones and personal artefacts, can evoke complex stories of displacement, as well as their representation in exhibitions, film and through social media.

Eithne Nightingale, researching child migration to East London from 1930 to the present day, will explore the role of family photographs in sustaining memories and a self of identity. In conversation with Argun Imamzade, she will present and discuss the film Life is a Destiny, which tells the story of how thirteen year old Argun saved his family photograph album, going back to the Ottoman period, by concealing it behind a metal cabinet during the Cypriot conflict in 1964. It was the only object to survive the bombing when Argun travelled as a refugee to the UK.

Photographer and activist Gideon Mendel will discuss his recent project Dzhangal, a powerful exhibition held at Autograph ABP using objects gathered during visits to the ‘Jungle’ refugee camp in Calais. This project responded to the challenges and sensitivities faced in conducting a collaborative documentary project with residents of the camp.

Marie Gillespie, from the Open University, will explore the importance of the smartphone as photographic archive and creative tool. Reflecting on her collaborative, creative work and ethnography with children and their families at Pikpa refugee camp in Lesvos, she will explore issues of memory, communication, death and survival amongst loved ones home and away. Her talk will include a slideshow made by children and young people at Pikpa as well photos taken in the camp that illustrate themes of loss and connectivity.

This event is a partnership between Autograph ABP and the Centre for Childhood Cultures, a collaboration between Queen Mary University of London and V&A Museum of Childhood.

This event is part of the Being Human Festival 2017, more information on Being Human Festival 2017 here>


Argun Imamzade
Argun Imamzade has run a successful printing and stationery business in Mare Street, Hackney with the support of his wife, Hurmus and his son, Michael for many years. He is well known in the local community and has supported various voluntary initiatives within the Turkish Cypriot community. He was born in Cyprus where, from the age of three, he lived with his grandparents after his parents moved to the UK following their divorce. In 1963/1964, due to the conflict on the island, Argun’s school was closed down, his house was bombed and he, his brothers and grandparents were forced to live in a refugee camp. Argun, and his older brother,  left Cyprus to join their parents, now remarried, his brother living with their father and Arun living with their mother. Argun, aged 13, brought with him to the UK the photo album that he had rescued from his bombed out house. Argun was interviewed as part of Eithne Nightingale’s research into child migration to East London.

Eithne Nightingale
Eithne Nightingale has over 30 years experience of working with diverse communities  and promoting equal opportunities. She was Head of Adult and Community Education in Hackney before going to the V&A where she became Head of Equality and Diversity. There she led on the museum wide major programme, Capacity Building and Cultural Ownership - working with culturally diverse communities. She is co-editor with Richard Sandell of Museums, Equality and Social Justice published by Routledge 2012. 
Eithne is currently following a part time PhD on Children, Migration and Diasporas at Queen Mary University of London, linked to the V&A Museum of Childhood. She has interviewed 36 people who have migrated to East London under the age of 18 from 1930 to the present day. Some of this research is accessible on the website and through short films on One of these films, Ugwumpiti, has  been nominated for the AHRC’s Best Research Film of the Year 2017. As part of the PhD she has also researched how migration is represented in museums both within the UK and abroad. She  is also a photographer, filmmaker and travel/fiction writer. See

Gideon Mendel
Gideon is a leading contemporary photographer, whose intimate style of image-making and long-term commitment to projects, has earned him international recognition and many awards, including the Pollock Prize for Creativity. He is renowned for his work as a ‘struggle photographer’ and his 20-year photographic odyssey on the impact of HIV/AIDS. This project culminated with the publication in 2001 of his first book, A Broken Landscape: HIV & AIDS in Africa. Mendel has been occupied with ‘Drowning World’ since 2007, an art and advocacy project about flooding that is his personal response to climate change. It was shortlisted for the Prix Pictet Prize 2015.

Marie Gillespie
Marie researches diaspora and national media cultures comparatively, historically and ethnographically. Her interests cluster around South Asian and Middle Eastern diasporas, cultural transnationalism, and changing configurations of audiences and publics in relation to question of citizenship. Recent collaborative include: a large-scale study of the BBC World Service as a multi-diasporic institution; an exploration of the new politics of security via a collaborative ethnography of transnational news cultures in multi-ethnic British households in eight UK cities; a national survey with the BBC on the changing face of British humour, ethnic jokes and comedy. Marie was awarded an AHRC Public Policy Fellowship in 2011 to develop research on the interface between international broadcasting and social media, specifically in relation to the BBC Arabic Services.

Child Migrant Stories Project

Child Migrant Stories was launched in February 2016. It drew, initially, on experiences of people who migrated under the age of 18 from across the world to East London from 1930 to the present day. Some came on their own; others came with, or to join family members who they may not have seen for years. Their stories are of loss and reunion but of resilience too, often in the face of war, poverty and discrimination. They are poignant, powerful and sometimes very funny.

The profiles of the people who generously participated in this initial research can be found at East End Stories. They came from Turkey, Cyprus, Brazil, El Salvador, Poland, Italy, Southern Ireland, Vietnam, Jamaica, Antigua, Guinea, Nigeria, Rwanda, Yemen, Somalia, India, Bangladesh and Pakistan at different ages between 5 and 17. The films, available on our website and on YouTube, have been shown in cinemas, museums, universities, schools, community centres and at festivals alongside discussion, workshops and performances.

This project was inspired by Eithne Nightingale’s research into Children, Migration and Diaspora carried out as part of an AHRC CDA (Arts and Humanities Research Council Collaborative Doctoral Award) between V&A Museum of Childhood and Queen Mary, University of London. Child Migrant Stories was funded by the centre for Public Engagement, QMUL. ‘Child Migrants Welcome?’  is funded by the Humanities and Social Sciences Collaboration Fund at Queen Mary, University of London.

Find out more about the Child Migrant Stories Project here>

Being Human Festival

Being Human, A festival of the humanities

Led by the School of Advanced Study, University of London, in partnership with the Arts & Humanities Research Council and the British Academy, Being Human is a national forum for public engagement with humanities research. The festival highlights the ways in which the humanities can inspire and enrich our everyday lives, help us to understand ourselves, our relationships with others, and the challenges we face in a changing world. In 2016 Being Human featured over 250 events in 45 towns and cities across the UK, engaging the public with big questions, big debates and innovative activities focused around the theme of ‘hope and fear’.

Find out more about the Being Human Festival here>

About The Event

This event will be seated and take place in Gallery 2

Film screening followed by talks / panel discussion and Q&A

Doors will open 6:15pm for audience to be seated
Event will finish at 8:30pm

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Autograph ABP
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