GPU and the Teaching Team of POL334 Migration and the Politics of Belonging’
are excited to invite you to listen to a cluster of brilliant third year students showcasing the
written and visual work they developed as part of the module.

POL334 had two central objectives. The first was for students to rethink the politics behind the everyday production of myths and narratives on contemporary migration and mobility
The second, for them to bring attention to how their everyday lives have been shaped
through various mobilities, encounters and connections, eventually prompting a shift
away from fixed and sedentary imaginaries of home and belonging.

By showcasing some of the best written and visual work that came out of this
pedagogical experiment, we aim to start a conversation on the benefits and
Challenges of moving in and out the tick boxes of academic writing and
onto the politics involved in encouraging students to reflect on the self.

Francis Bancroft 2.40

5-7 pm

Original Artwork: Sarah Pereda Morilla

AESTHETICS AND RESEARCH IN INTERNATIONAL POLITICS – Holly Eva Ryan’s Lines: Making Friends; Crossing Borders

This post is part of the two-part special series of GPU’s podcast, “Aesthetics and Research in International Politics”, which examines non-conventional IR research methods.

In the first part of GPU’s Aesthetics and Research in International Politics, we explored through James Eastwood’s exhibition Cradles how aesthetics could prompt emotions and reflection about the phenomenon of child removal and disappearance in the world. In this second part, GPU takes you on a journey across frontiers through twinning with Dr. Holly Ryan’s exhibition Lines: Making Friends; Crossing Borders, displayed in February 2023 at Queen Mary University of London.

Entering the exhibition space, one could see some imposing posters with juxtapositions of black and white lines hanging heavily on the graphite walls of Arts One’s Bloc room. Despite the prison-like feeling conveyed by the starkness of the space and the narratives of inequalities perspiring through some of the art pieces on the walls, Holly also showed how twinning emboldens global solidarities and disrupts international borders.

Display in Arts One’s Bloc Room. Image Courtesy: Holly Evan Ryan

Holly sat with Keren Weitzberg and Sarah Wong, her gallery assistant and Ph.D. student from LSE who focuses on the intersection of international politics and visual culture, to discuss her artistic process and the aesthetic turn in International Relations with GPU.

Denver-Nairobi twinning. Image courtesy: Holly Evan Ryan
Leicester-Masaya twinning. Image courtesy: Holly Evan Ryan

No matter how fine-grained, precise, and peer-reviewed an academic research paper can be, it will never really reach its goal if it does not cater to the right audience. Art, like in Holly Ryan’s Lines, or aesthetics, as we’ve seen through James Eastwood’s Cradles, are excellent means to propel important political messages in the public sphere.

Moreover, the beauty of exhibitions resides in the fact that they are unrestricted spaces allowing the collaboration between quote-unquote “creators” – artists – and researchers, for whom the creative environment can be transformed into powerful research channels, ultimately establishing a fertile ground for the birth of powerful creations.

At last, in Holly’s words, you do not necessarily need to be an artist if you want your audience to feel an emotion about your message or be an academic researcher to legitimate the seriousness of it. The power of art, aesthetics, or simply showing something, is that people will feel and talk – positively or negatively – about what you want to put in the world once they encounter it.

Théa Rakotondrajao

AESTHETICS AND RESEARCH IN INTERNATIONAL POLITICS – James Eastwood’s Empty Cradles: Israel’s Disappeared Children

This post is part of the two-part special series of GPU’s podcast, “Aesthetics and Research in International Politics”, which examines non-conventional IR research methods.

In September 2022, I had the chance to visit Dr. James Eastwood’s Empty Cradles: Israel’s Disappeared Children exhibition at SOAS Brunei Gallery. Centered on the testimonies of families whose children were forcibly removed in the 40s and 50s in Israel, the exhibition’s archival, photographic, and monumental translation work shed light on the political, colonial, and racial dimensions at the heart of a controversy still boiling in Israel today.

Entrance of the gallery. Image courtesy: James Eastwood

Why would a scholar dissect complex subjects, such as imperialism or racism, through an exhibition and not a traditional academic paper? It’s pretty simple. No words or arguments could have summed up the pain I felt through the pictures and the sense of discomfort conveyed by the injustice implicit in the testimonies. Most importantly, No paper could have made me want to do more justice to these families than to hear their voices in their original language, Hebrew, echoing in the gallery.

Testimonies and their translation from Hebrew to English. Image courtesy: James Eastwood

Following my visit, I met James’ collaborators on the exhibition: Tom Pessah and Maayan Nahari, two activists working with AMRAM, the association seeking to reunite the missing children with their families together; Joanne Rosenthal, freelance curator, and museum consultant; and Raz Weiner, a post-doctoral researcher in the Faculty of Architecture and Urban Planning at the Technion University, who helped James with the archival work between the UK and Israel.

Sometimes, a picture is worth a thousand words. With this exhibition, James was able to combine theoretical and archival material in a way that convinced the audience to seek justice for these families. In addition to this, the exhibition space provided those who were affected with means to express themselves indirectly – via James’s work – and directly.

Archival tapes of families’ testimonies. Image courtesy: James Eastwood

If you are interested in learning more, or if you believe that you might be able to help the families, you can find all information related to the Yemenite, Mizrahi, and Balkan children’s Affair on AMRAM’s website: (https://edut-amram.org).

Théa Rakotondrajao


For its first “In Conversation” event on 23 January 2023, GPU discussed the meaning of “stuckness” with Olivia Umurerwra Rutazibwa, Laleh Khalili, and Razan Ghazzawi. The conversation revolved around its various political (carcerality, migration, the covid-19 pandemic) and academic implications.

Speakers :

Dr. Olivia Umurerwa Rutazibwa, Assistant Professor of Human Rights and Politics, Department of Sociology, London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE)

Professor Laleh Khalili, Professor of International Politics, School of Politics and International Relations, Queen Mary University of London (QMUL)

Razan Ghazzawi, Associate Tutor, Media, Arts and Humanities, Gender Studies, University of Sussex

UPDATE – LINES EXHIBITION (co-sponsored by GPU) – Opening Hours

Following the successful launch of Dr Holly Eva Ryan’s exhibition LINES: Making Friends; Crossing Borders, the exhibition space will be open to walk-ins in February during the following slots:

  • 30th January week
    • Thursday: 10am-4pm
    • Friday: 10am-1pm
  • 6th February week
    • Monday, Tuesday: 10am-4pm
    • Wednesday: 10am-1pm
  • 13th & 20th February weeks
    • Monday: 10am-4pm
    • Friday: 10 am-1pm

You can visit LINES at other times by appointment.

Please email H.Ryan@qmul.ac.uk for booking and enquiries.

EVENT – GPU In Conversation – Film Mosaic: Leave No One Behind. Zaatari Village, Jordan.

Film Screening and Discussion

You are warmly invited to GPU’s second ‘in-conversation’ event.

Join us for the London-debut screening of

Film Mosaic: Leave No One Behind. Zaatari Village, Jordan.

The screening will be followed by a discussion on urban refugees, humanitarian architecture and creative methods.

When: Wednesday 8 February, 6pm

Where: Hitchcock Theatre, Arts One, Mile End Campus, Queen Mary University of London.

To be followed by a drinks reception in Arts One Foyer.


Aya Musmar (Petra University/UCL)

Olivia Mason (Newcastle University)

Omar Jabary-Salamanca (University of Brussels)

Hannah Owens (QMUL)

Acting for Change International – a local organisation based in Zaatari Village – produced four mini documentary-style films which speak to the theme of ‘Leave No One Behind’. The films focus on Zaatari Village, a rural host community adjacent to Zaatari refugee camp and the Syrian border. The Film Mosaic is an opportunity to explore how refugee governance is reflected in the ways residents design and build homes, streets, neighbourhoods, and their environment. Urban refugee issues intertwine with larger socio-economic injustices, including systemic gender discrimination, structural racism, and inequality based on mobility. The films were screened in October during the opening week of the Copenhagen Architecture Festival: Global Film Competition.


The Leave No One Behind Agenda is the central, transforming promise in the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. It represents the unequivocal commitment of all UN Member States to eradicate poverty in all its forms, end discrimination and exclusion, and reduce the inequalities and vulnerabilities that undermine the potential of humans and other living beings. The Film Mosaic aims at documenting solutions to these forms of discrimination, creating an understanding of the diversity of the reality in which the LNOB agenda must be resolved. This includes generating new knowledge and insight about sustainable cities, residential areas, buildings, building materials, infrastructure, and other urban practices that promote the fight against inequality.

*Sponsored by Global Politics Unbound and QMUL Impact


Material Crimes, Surviving Society’s podcast – which GPU proudly co-sponsored the launch earlier this year – is finally out (6 December 2022).

“How can infrastructure be criminal? How does a mine, an electricity grid, a prison or a factory, become a perpetrator of violence, insecurity and threat? Material Crimes tries to answer these questions. Each episode investigates a different, discrete piece of infrastructure, tracing its global – often colonial – connections across time and space. They show us how the physical sites of everyday life are intimately linked to networks of private and public actors that inflict violence on spaces and communities often living on the margins. The series also shines a spotlight on the movements people have built to reveal and challenge the infrastructural crimes that harm them.”

The podcast will have a weekly release (every Tuesday), which you can listen to on Spotify (and other platforms) via Linktree:


The link to Material Crimes website is here: https://materialcrimes.com/


GPU is proud to co-sponsor Dr Holly Ryans’ Lines: Making Friends; Crossing Borders exhibition, which will happen throughout February 2023 at the Bloc (Arts One, ground floor).

There will be a launch event and private viewing at 5 pm on 31st January 2023, an event that will be chaired by fellow GPU member Dr Sharri Plonski.

Please find below the registration link for the event:


BRISMES Conference Student Paper Prize Winner – Hannah Owens

GPU is proud to see that fellow GPU member Hannah Owens has won the British Society for Middle Eastern Studies (BRISMES) Conference Student Paper Prize! Our winner will be mentored through a review process at the British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies (BJMES) by a senior member of the BRISMES academic community. Hannah will have the opportunity of skipping the desk review process and have her paper directly submitted to external reviewers for the final decision about publication.

Channelling (in)security: Governing movement and ordinary life in ‘imagined’ geographies

Hannah Owens’ paper, Channelling (in)security: Governing movement and ordinary life in ‘imagined’ geographies, explores human mobility and security in the Mafraq Governorate (Jordan), interrogating the meaning of space in Amman, Zaatari village, and the road between the two. The paper contributes to critical and vernacular security studies, exploring rural people’s memories and accounts of the encounter with the state apparatus and its security infrastructures. Weaving ethnographic observations, fieldnotes and theoretical references, Owens offers a dense ethnographic engagement with the hierarchies that govern racialised and gendered bodies, and their differential ability to move and navigate space and territory.

More about the Student Paper Prize here: https://www.brismes.ac.uk/awards/brismes-conference-student-paper-prize


Global Politics Unbound would like to invite you to attend their launch on Wednesday, 19 October 2022, from 5 – 9 pm in the 7th Floor Common Room, Graduate Centre, Mile End.

Global Politics Unbound is a research group within Queen Mary University of London’s School of Politics and International Relations. It invites research on the uneven and entangled nature of international politics, the continuities and frictions of colonial and capitalist relations, the raced, classed and gendered structures that undergird our everyday practices, and the different struggles and actors that seek to transform them. Overall, the idea behind our collective work is to see the world as connected, and to explore what that means to the study of global politics.

On the night, we will be serving delicious nibbles, wine and soft drinks. We will also be running a photo competition showcasing your research through pictures, photos, or any image that best represents your current work. There are four prizes from Pages of Hackney to be won. Please send any images which you would be happy for us to share to spir-global-politics-unbound@qmul.ac.uk.

We look forward to seeing you there.

Warm regards,

Global Politics Unbound

Email: spir-global-politics-unbound@qmul.ac.uk