Today, I got to attend a seminar at PRIO - one of those research institutes that's basically famous in migration circles. Home institution of researchers Jorgen Carling, Cindy Horst, and others, I felt as if I was about to meet the actual celebrities of academia!
I'm currently in Oslo doing some interviews for my master's thesis, and I wanted to stop by the building that produces so many of the sources I read in classes. When I arrived, I had a small session with Cindy Horst who was nice enough to meet a young, lost academic and provide guidance with some of my burning questions and confusions. Because I am writing my thesis about social and political remittances, Cindy's input and experiences were valuable to helping clean up some methodological and theoretical messes.
After meeting with Cindy, I attended one of PRIO's lunchtime seminars, 'A Conversation with Photographer Iffit Qureshi and Researcher Marta Bivand Erdal'. Iffit Qureshi is the amazingly talented photographer and storyteller behind the Humans of Oslo project.
The session aimed to discuss various questions such as, how may art contribute to creating more inclusive societies? What inspirations and responsibilities do artists and researchers feel they have in exploring diversity and nationhood? How can visual images and written words challenge us to see ourselves and others in new ways?
Having the perspectives of an artist plus a researcher, the talk was an interesting way to bridge the interests, concerns, and questions of both academics and artists/activists. I believe that PRIO's lunchtime seminars provide these opportunities for researchers and academics to present their work in accessible ways to the public, and for the general public to engage with the topics of our times.