Yet few people realise the camp has existed in some form for over 20years, just twenty miles from our shores, closer to London than Birmingham or Manchester. What started as a temporary staging post for crossing attempts to the UK has transformed into a seemingly permanent community of six thousand migrants, many of whom can expect to live there for years awaiting their fates.
Calais embodies the desperation and hope, the alienation and sense of shared community, and the transience and permanence that defines the liminal migrant communities of refugee camps, which very well may represent the future of Britain’s migration policy. We propose to stage a pop-up exhibition, working closely with Counterpoints Arts, and produced in collaboration with those who live and work in Calais, which reflects on these lesser-known aspects of contemporary migration developments and questions our national responsibilities towards refugees living right on our doorstep.
We wish to ensure that camp residents have their voices heard. In so doing we want our visitors to see these contributors to the exhibition as individual human beings with needs and hopes and not as a 'swarm' of migrants.
The exhibition will be an immersive storytelling experience exploring the lives of migrants in Calais, with with work across visual art, photography, film, sound and performance. A significant group of established and emergin artists, some refugees and migrants themselves, some even camp residents, will show their artistic response to life at the Calais camp.