Breaking Boundaries: Reimagining Borders in Postcolonial and Migrant Studies

deadline for submissions: 
May 24, 2021
full name / name of organization: 
Manchester Metropolitan University UK
contact email: 




This inaugural arts-based conference will launch Manchester Met’s Centre for Migration and Postcolonial

Studies (MAPS) and will take place online on 3 September 2021.


The format has been designed to assist international participation during the

COVID-19 pandemic.


We welcome papers addressing any aspect of the topics of ‘borders’ and ‘boundaries’

in relation to the literature and writing of migration that reflects current developments

in the fields of migration and postcolonial studies. We particularly welcome work that

focuses on refugee experience, the climate crisis, transnationalism, the writing of place

and displacement, and literatures of trauma, including genre-based studies that relate to

spectral spaces and the postcolonial gothic. Our focus on ‘breaking boundaries’ provides an

opportunity to address the ways social, political and ecological crises place pressure on the

concept of borders and allows us to evaluate how borders and boundaries of different orders

are being reconfigured in the twenty-first century. As Achille Mbembe has observed,

our current concern with securitization, risky bodies and bodies at risk means that we live

in a world where ‘Borders are increasingly turned into mobile, portable, omnipresent

and ubiquitous realities. The goal is to better control movement and speed, accelerating it

here, decelerating it there and, in the process, sorting, recategorizing, reclassifying people with

the goal of better selecting anew who is whom’.


The conference is an arts and humanities based interdisciplinary event and we invite

the submission of abstracts of 250 words for papers and of 500 words for panels from across

the disciplines of the humanities including, but not limited to, literature, film studies,

cultural geography, environmental humanities and migrant and postcolonial studies. We

also welcome submissions from creative writers and practitioners working inside and

outside academia. We warmly welcome panel proposals and reflexive work that highlight

potential impact and collaboration with the Centre for Migration and Postcolonial Studies

at Manchester Met, which links postcolonial scholarship with writers from the Manchester

Writing School. Early career academics and doctoral researchers are encouraged to apply.

Topics of interest include (but are not limited to):

• migrant or refugee narratives

• displacement

• transnationalism

• theories of place and non-place

• postcolonial trauma

• climate fiction

• the climate crisis

• representing the Other

• haunted spaces

• border-crossing

• home and belonging

• linguistic and cultural hybridity

• new cartographies

• transcultural practices

• creative practice in relation to any of  the above

Keynote speakers

Professor Suvendrini Perera (Curtin University,

Australia) and Dr Monique Roffey (Manchester

Writing School) .

Confirmed speakers

Jason Allen-Paisant, Malika Booker, Tina

Makereti, Minoli Salgado


Selected papers will need to be pre-recorded on video (15 to 20 minutes in length) and uploaded

onto a shared site to which all attendees will be given access one week in advance of the

conference. Conference panels will be made up of live Q&A and debates on the papers with

contributors on the day. The main platform will be Zoom.

Please specify if your paper falls within one of the subtopics above and indicate your time zone

in your application. Abstracts, along with the above details, 3-5 keywords and a biographical

note of up to 100 words including details of any relevant publications should be submitted by

May 24. Decisions will be communicated by June 7 and arrangements for the submission

of your abstract will be confirmed after this date. We are working to put together

a Special Issue of the peer-reviewed, open access journal Postcolonial Text and will invite

selected individuals to develop their papers for publication.

Please submit your abstract between Tuesday

6 April and Monday 24 May 2021 to


All non-MMU conference participants and attendees can enter our creative writing

competition on ‘Borders’ free of charge.


“We, the anthropos, dwell and think in the

borders... Border thinking in other words is the necessary condition to thinking decolonially.”

Walter D Mignolo


‘Borders’ Writing Competition

Submission Deadline:

30 June 2021

Manchester Metropolitan University’s Centre for Migration and Postcolonial Studies (MAPS) is pleased to announce

its inaugural short story and poetry competition. The competition marks the launch of the Centre and coincides

with the Centre’s inaugural conference, Breaking Boundaries: Reimagining Borders in Postcolonial and Migrant

Studies. We invite submissions from conference delegates (both within the UK and abroad) to submit original,

unpublished work for this year’s theme: Borders.

The prize is open to anyone 16 years of age and over and registered for the conference. The story or poems

submitted must not have been published anywhere else, online or in print. Entry to the competition is free

for delegates, but only one submission (either in poetry or prose) is permitted.

The word limit for prose submissions is 2500, and we ask for one single story, in any genre. The word limit for poetry is

120 lines, and we ask for a submission of 2-3 poems, in any style or form. Submissions should be made between

Tuesday 6 April and Wednesday 30 June 2021 to Entries received after

30 June will not qualify for the competition.

Students and staff from MMU are not eligible to enter.

Two winners will be selected, one from each category – poetry and prose. Winners will be announced

on 3rd September to coincide with the conference. The winning authors will receive £100 each. Twelve shortlisted authors (six from each

category), including the winning entries, will be published on the MAPS website.