Transnational lived citizenship through creative production

The project engages with one of the key global challenges of contemporary politics: How are mobile populations (refugees and migrants) able to fully participate as quasi-citizens or residents in the economic, social and political life in the geographical spaces where they reside, often without status or papers.

The project builds on the work of Tanja Müller on transnational lived citizenship as a concept to analyse claim-making by mobile populations through everyday practices in the geographical locations where they reside; it also builds on the work of Alison Jeffers on community theatre as a means to exercise voice and recognition among refugee communities, as well as on the work of PGR researcher and artist Ambrose Musiyiwa on the intersection between activism, migration, community action and the arts. Framed around an activist understanding of citizenship that has gained prominence in the study of citizenship it will specifically address the following research questions through co-production activities between academic researchers and artist/creative networks:

  1. How do refugee/migrant communities position themselves culturally and socially in relation to the ‘host’ community?
  2. What formal and informal expressions of citizenship and belonging are manifested in arts and cultural practices and in state-sanctioned ceremonies and rituals?
  3. How do these formal and informal cultural expressions reflect and extend the concept of transnational lived citizenship?

The project is a collaboration between the disciplines of political sociology (TM) and theatre and drama studies (AJ and AM), but also with Community Arts North West through the embeddedness of Ambrose Musiyiwa with the organisation. This partnership will serve as an example on how to foster collaboration and co-production on a local scale. The project also has multiple linkages to the joint project with Tel Aviv University on Inscribing mobile lives into the urban peripheries of global displacement.

The project is funded by the Faculty of Humanities Research Recovery Fund 2021-22.


We held a two-day workshop with academics and partners from the creative sector as well as refugee-migrant artists involving participants from the UK, Sweden, Denmark, Belgium and Israel on 16-17 June 2022. From this workshop, we will develop future collaborations.