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Short Papers: Diasporas and Disappearance

July 15, 2021 @ 9:00 pm - 11:00 pm UTC+0


Chair: James Lowry

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Overcoming the impulse to secrecy: A Search Unit’s access to records in the ongoing search for the disappeared.


Natalia Bermúdez Qvortrup


In 2016, a peace agreement was signed in Colombia that saw the implementation of a transitional justice (TJ) system to deal with the violations of nearly six decades of conflict. Due to extreme high numbers of enforced disappearances in Colombia (120,000 –going up dramatically at the moment within the context of the current protests), one of the TJ mechanisms created was the Unit of Search for Disappeared Persons (UBPD). Its mandate is the protection of the families’ right to know the truth regarding the fate of victims. The UBPD applies a humanitarian and extrajudicial approach to the search, meaning it does not attribute responsibility. This approach is implemented to ensure that information is shared more easily in a context where information about violations is often withheld or manipulated to avoid accountability and for fear of reprisals.

Through interviews and document studies, this inductive and qualitative investigation describes the UBPD’s access to records of  the different parties to the conflict (the Government & the FARC), looking into the information barriers the UBPD has experienced in its collection of data, and whether, or how, they are overcome. An investigation of information-sharing within a humanitarian and extrajudicial framework highlights the extent to which access to information and records is possible, the challenges that arise and how they may be met in a  context of a weak state with historically high levels of distrust and a strong administrative bureaucracy.

What is the relationship of the UBPD with the different government offices and the FARC? To what extent is there compliance, willingness or adversarialism? What are the barriers to information and how are they overcome?

The paper is part of a larger doctoral project that investigates the role of archives in Colombia in the context of enforced disappearance.

This session will not be recorded for the AERI2021 Youtube channel


The Amplification Project: Documenting, Preserving, and Sharing Art of Forced Displacement


Dr. Kathy Carbone, UCLA


Formed in 2019, The Amplification Project: Digital Archive for Forced Migration, Contemporary Art, and Action is a public, participatory community-led digital archive of art and activism inspired, influenced, or affected by forced displacement. The Amplification Project offers a platform for artists, activists, and other cultural producers to document, preserve, and share work in any medium that narrates or contemplates lived or observed experiences of exile, crossing borders, seeking asylum, detention and refugee camps, and refugeehood. I co-founded and direct The Amplification Project with an international group of artists, curators, and activists: Biba Sheikh, Vukašin Nedeljković, Elizabeth Shoshany Anderson, and Pinar Öğrenci. Since launching the archive in mid-2020, fourteen artists worldwide have submitted over 100+ photographs, digital images of visual artwork, photo- and illustrated narratives, and videos. Through the notions of “slow activism” (Wallace Heim) and socially engaged archival practice, in this paper, I reflect on the origins and development of The Amplification Project and its community, our current work, and future aspirations. I also ask: What role can participatory community-led digital archives play in today’s evolving conversations about forced migration, asylum, and refuge? What kinds of solidarity building and collective action can archives do in support of asylum seekers and refugees?

Will this session be recorded for the AERI2021 Youtube channel?  No


July 15, 2021
9:00 pm - 11:00 pm UTC+0
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