What does it mean to belong? What happens when belonging in one community conflicts with belonging in another? How does power operate in and through identity to demarcate who can belong in particular places, spaces and times? This panel joins together multimodal works that explore questions of belonging through dynamic storytelling practices and forms—from considerations of sanctuary and experiences of refuge to the dynamics and frictions of religion and family, and reflective examinations of “home.”
Moderated by Perry B. Johnson, University of Pennsylvania Saturday, March 26, 3:00 PM — 4:20 PM Eastern
Carrie Symons & Leo Samuels Vosburgh Michigan State University
The Stories Project: A Documentary Short takes place in a Midwestern U.S. city where over 15,000 former refugees now reside. The film tells the story of 11 young adult mentors from both refugee and non-(im)migrant backgrounds. Together, they draw upon their past and present lived experiences while teaching in a summer day camp for refugee-background youth to explore the question: How can we change the negative perception of (im)migrants and (im)migration in the United States? The film aims to address socio-political issues of pervasive xenophobia and monolingual ideologies in and out of schools.
How do I tell this story without telling it? Reflections on Pause, Refusal, and Visual Storytelling
Aarushie Sharma York University
This paper emerges out of a multimodal life-story project that revolves around my mother’s experiences and memories. It zooms into an episode in the making of this project when the author’s mother objected to a segment that was earlier imagined as being central to the film – her experience of growing up in a different religious sect before her marriage. Arguing that these details are only shared with those who understand the belief, she refused to share details of the sect on the film. Thinking along this episode that interrupted the project, the author engages with the methodological potential of pause and refusal, and examine the import of refusal for working with visual methods in particular.
Sophie Huang University of Pennsylvania
ALIEN HOME is an experimental film that follows the filmmaker’s family as they drive through the American Southwest in the summer of 2021. After a year of isolation, strife, and mourning, what does it mean to belong in this country? To be at home? To be together? In fact, the best way to watch this film is together—find a friend and put two screens side-by-side for the complete viewing experience. A single-screen version is also available.
If you would like to join in making this alien home feel less “alien” and more “home,” in life and on screen, please consider supporting the following organizations: Asian American Legal Defense & Education Fund: aaldef.org Coalition for Asian Pacifics in Entertainment: capeusa.org Gold House: goldhouse.org
with Rosa Sabido, Laurel Smith, Juan Carlos Marin & Joel Dyer
The Sanctuary StoriesProject is a multimedia storytelling collaboration led by Colorado’s immigrant sanctuary leaders. Created out of a desire to tell their stories in their own voices, the project offers a moving portrait of four women’s emotional and physical journeys from their home countries to the churches in which they currently are seeking refuge from unjust deportation orders. Through projections, audio narratives, original music compositions, and striking photography the women speak to their spiritual growth, their activism, and their perspectives on the system that now confines them.