Room 229, Psychologicum (Siltavuorenpenger 1 A, 00170 Helsinki)
Anitta Kynsilehto (Tampere Peace Research Institute and New Social Research Initiative, Tampere University): Bearing witness to violence at borders.
The starting point of this paper was a visit to the Finnish contemporary artist Riiko Sakkinen’s exhibition Closing borders (Mänttä 2017-2018). The exhibition portrayed various border locations both at the external borders of the territory of the European Union as well as within this territory, building on the artist’s visits to these sites over the year 2016. Many of these places are the same ones where I have conducted ethnographic fieldwork on migrant journeys and solidarity practices since 2010. This paper brings together the analysis of these artistic works with ethnographic material collected at some of the same sites, and examines border politics, practices of knowledge formation via responsible witnessing, and multiple forms of enacting resistance to violence at borders. With this backdrop, I ask what the exhibition rendered visible in terms of ongoing struggles at these sites and what remained hidden, arguing that while it is important to document the forms of violence, it would also be necessary to recognize ongoing forms of resistance and the continuities of these struggles in order to reach beyond the mediatised spectacle.
About the speaker
Anitta Kynsilehto works as a Senior Research Fellow at the New Social Research programme and Tampere Peace Research Institute, Tampere University. Her research interests include global mobility, critical border studies, solidarity practices and intersectionality. Her publications include Gender and Mobility: A Critical Introduction (Rowman & Littlefield, 2017, co-authored with Elina Penttinen). In 2012–2018 she served as the board member in charge of migration and asylum at the Euromed Rights (www.euromedrights.org).