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(IM) migration


In connection with the Semaine Sherbrookoise des Rencontres Interculturelles (SSRI) 2020, the ArtLab presents (IM)migration: a collective and interactive mobility mapping project which considers geo-cultural origins, diasporic experiences, patterns of displacement, virtual mapping and digital storytelling to reveal narratives of interconnectedness.

In a context where in-person contacts are discouraged, we turn to Instant Messaging (IM) and other online technologies to connect with the local community and ask their participation in this project.

While the word migration simply refers to the action of moving from a place to another, prefixes add different layers of meaning: em – as in emigration, moving out of your home to go live in another, and im – as in immigration, moving into a foreign country to live there. Regardless of the type and scope of migration, each act of displacement have profound impacts on one’s sense of identity and feeling of belonging.

While the visual accumulation of individual journeys retraced on the virtual collective map illustrates how migration routes might have crossed paths, the written and illustrated recounting of these displacements translate the distances travelled into words. The conceptual framework for this project has been inspired by the video installation Gyres by artist Ellie Ga, presented at the Foreman Art Gallery this fall.

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Over the month of November, Sherbrooke’s population was invited to share personal stories of displacement and mobility: where they come from, where they are now, where they aspire to go in the future, and anything in between. This was done in collaboration with key contacts in Sherbrooke organizations and institutions – such as Literacy in Action, reception classes at Le Ber High School, as well as Bishop’s University’s Fine Arts department and larger community – who each identified and accompanied a number of their members in providing responses to those questions.

Each participant were asked to identify personal significant locations in order to map out their own journey, followed by the sharing of narrative elements related to this itinerary. These elements could be written or illustrated narratives: from poetry to travel stories, photography to drawing or any other desired artistic medium. On top of working with immigrants and newcomers to the region, the ArtLab also wanted to involve local people who may not have traveled such great distances but who have had great journeys in their lives, so as to relate varied experiences and stories of migration and displacement of all kinds of scales.

The collected trajectories and testimonies were then added to an online map created on Google Earth especially for the project. On November 20, to mark the beginning of the SSRI, the ArtLab launches the project’s webpage to share the first results of the (IM)migration project online – giving access to the collective map, presented along photo, video and text documentation. Additional contributions will be added over the month of December to allow more participants to add their migration journey to the project.

Gyres, and other driftings

01.10.20 – 12.12.20

Artist: Ellie Ga.  |   Curator : Gentiane Bélanger

The video above presents an excerpt from the video installation Gyres part of the fall exhibition Gyres, and other driftings, which inspired the conceptual framework for the (IM)migration project.

▼ ▼ ▼  DOCUMENTATION OF THE (IM)migration PROJECT  ▼ ▼ ▼

I moved to Canada to continue my studies at Bishops University in lennoxville, Sherbrooke Quebec. These four years I’ve spent growing up and learning how to be an adult have been the most influential in the making of who I am today. I will be moving back to Europe where I will do a Masters in Florence Italy, following my dream of art conservation and restauration.


I’m currently in Canada, I live in Sherbrooke with my Boyfriend and our cat. I used to have a plan on where I wanted to go and who I wanted to be, I wanted to finish University and go on to law school and then hopefully start practicing law but over these last four years I’ve come to learn that life happens and I only control the now, and that plans change as I’ve changed over time.


The Foreman Art Gallery’s Community Art Lab (ArtLab) positions itself on the cutting edge between art, education, and community development with the goal of exploring how these worlds collide and interact with one another.

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