Imaginative Mobilities

Much of the debate on borders — both academically and politically — has revolved around a dichotomy: whether they should be open, or closed.

Supported through a generous Mellon Sawyer Seminar Award, the Imagined Mobilities seminar will shift the discussion away from the frame of open or closed borders, to re-imagine the meaning and design of borders. Starting with the concepts of mobility and immobility across political spaces, we will attend to different kinds of movement and to the way movement and space are co-constructed. In particular, the seminar will open migration and border studies debates by bringing art and design into conversation with contemporary social research.

With the dual goals of intervening in current debates on borders and serving as a pilot for collaborative work at the intersection of design and social research, the seminar sessions follow very different formats over the course of the year. Field trips, invited guests, and design workshops all will be used to reimagine the mobility/immobility of humans, non-humans, capital, commodities and things, and the ways they move in relation to one another.

The seminar is led by five New School faculty: Alex Aleinkoff, Victoria Hattam, and Miriam Ticktin from the New School for Social Research and Anthony Dunne and Fiona Raby from Parsons School of Design. Seminar participants include faculty from across the university as well as advanced graduate students in art and design and the social sciences. The seminar is supported administratively by the Zolberg Institute for Mobility and Migration.

For more information please email the Zolberg Institute on Migration and Mobility at