Probably due to my many years of moving from place to place, I am very much invested in decoding and influencing the myriad ways that human migration plays into culture, individual and group identity, and (increasingly relevantly these days) politics across the globe. From 2015-2018 I worked for the Expatriate Archive Centre (EAC), which collects primary sources documenting the lives of temporary migrants around the world, including letters, diaries, blogs, photographs, scrapbooks, and other materials. While working there I ran the EAC’s public relations program, was heavily involved in Saudade (an art exhibition, book, and public outreach celebrating the EAC’s 10th anniversary), and coauthored a book chapter on the history of the EAC in an academic anthology (Global Mobilities: Refugees, Exiles, and Immigrants in Museums and Archives, edited by Amy K. Levin). As part of an effort to grow and diversify the EAC’s collection, as well as expand into digital archiving, I initiated a Twitter RoCur (Rotation Curation) and archiving project, as well as an archive of expat blogs.
Most of my free time these days goes to Hiraeth, an Amsterdam-based arts and culture organisation I co-founded in the summer of 2016. Hiraeth is a Welsh word denoting nostalgia for a home that no longer exists or never was. The Hiraeth project explores the many meanings of home, and chronicles the perennial human search for a place to belong, as expressed through the visual and literary arts. In our age, immigration, refugees, borders and walls have become political hot topics, and it can be easy to forget that behind each number is a face, a name and a story. At Hiraeth we give a voice to the diverse stories of people who move, whether for adventure, love, work or refuge, and honour them as an integral part of the human experience, building empathy through artistic expression.
The core of Hiraeth is a digital magazine that explores the idea of hiraeth through art and literary features. We also produce a podcast where we interview artists, writers, and academics from around the world about their personal stories and work in themes of migration and home. The Hiraeth team consists of creatives of various types who donate our time and talents to the Hiraeth project without compensation of any kind. We are concerned citizens who want the world to be a better place and believe that the stories we tell and listen to impact the way we see the world and how we behave, both individually and collectively.
Would you like to join us? Submit a piece or proposal for the magazine here. Or sign up for our mailing list to be notified of upcoming events and news. And feel free to click below to hear the podcast where I talk about why I joined Hiraeth.