December 17, 2021

Borderings: Displacement, Gender and Health

Continuously created and recreated, policed and enforced, borders demarcate boundaries of belonging. But borders are not only lines on the map, they are also drawn between people in the form of identity constructs; refugee-migrant-citizen, male-female-non-binary, healthy-ill. These borderings are never neutral nor contained but are rather diffracted through each other and laden with associations and meanings. 

Borderings: Displacement, Gender and Health is a virtual exhibition produced by the UCL Centre for Gender and Global Health as part of a public engagement program on migration and health.

Eight original artworks have been commissioned by migrant and refugee artists from the Counterpoints Arts network that explore the diverse ways we are bordered by nations, by bodies, by cultures, by identity constructs, and by systems and structures in ways that are at times smooth and protective and other violent and exclusionary. 

From reductive medical encounters to transformative social relationships, restrictive gender norms to empowering moments of defiance, each work in the collection interrogates borderings as a practice, as a process and as a limit enforced both externally and internally. Taken together, their works are a testament to the complex, nuanced and oftentimes messy nexus of displacement, gender and health. 

In Borderings you are invited to delve deeper into these borderings, guided by the voice and work of those most impacted by their limitations and their potential opportunities, and to learn from their experiences, their fears, and their hopes for a better future. 

Participating artists 

Sabrina Richmond

Edin Suljic

Anan Tello

Bumi Thomas

Rana Ibrahim

Selam Mengistu

Ghafar Tajmohammad

Yasmeen Ghawri 

Borderings was produced with the support of Counterpoint Arts and Imagist London. 

About the project 

Borderings: Displacement, Gender and Health forms part of the public engagement arm of the SELMA project, a cross-institutional, cross-cultural, interdisciplinary collaborative migration health project between University College London, UK, Aga Khan University, Pakistan, the Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine, University of Bern, Switzerland and Weill Cornelln Medicine, Qatar.  

The UK workshops were curated around two central questions: 

  1. How does gender shape the migration/displacement experience at each stage of the route from pre-departure, in transit, upon arrival and in life in a new country? 
  2. To what extent does gender and citizenship status shape the ability to live a healthy and happy life? 

The resulting work defies reductive representation and passionately demands a fairer, more equitable, more inclusive future. A future that sees beyond the borders of self and society and recognises the full humanity of others.

Lead researcher and point of contact  

Imogen Bakelmun 

Gender, racialisation and migration researcher

UCL Centre for Gender and Global Health