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Eila Campbell Memorial Lecture

Venue: Online

The Department of Geography at Birkbeck hosts a biannual public lecture in memory of Eila Campbell, one of our alumni who devoted a large part of her life to geography and, in particular, cartography, and whose connection to Birkbeck spanned more than 50 years. In line with Eila’s interests, the Department is delighted to welcome Dr Sana Murrani, Associate Professor, Spatial Practice, University of Plymouth. 

Lecture topic:

"Home and memory in forced displacement: spatial ruptures in the folds of maps"

Escaping war and persecution during the twenty-tens, over two-million displacees made life-risking journeys into Europe. Spatial ruptures in the flow of journeys continued for those who have managed to cross borders and reached new havens: grappling with migration systems, searching for decent housing, and striving for social integration. This talk presents empirical findings of a multi-modal participatory mapping project (Mapping Creative Recovery) conducted with refugees and asylum seekers in the Southwest of England, and highlights the impact of memory and deep creative mapping on the spatial practice of making-home in forced displacement. The resulting maps embody spaces of recovery in their folds; memoryscapes revealing synergies between the constructs of memory and the concept of home in exile. The project asks how a creative participatory method of mapping home and spatial ruptures through memory reconsolidation can ameliorate the trauma of displacement and aid the re-making of home. 

This lecture will last one hour and will include a 15 minute Q&A

Joining instructions will be sent 24 hours before the event. 


Contact name:

  • Dr Sana Murrani -

    Sana Murrani is an Associate Professor in Spatial Practice with a background in Architecture and Urban Design. She is the Deputy Director of the Doctoral College for the Arts and Humanities at the University of Plymouth, UK. 

    Sana’s main research falls within the field of architecture in particular, the imaginative negotiations of spatial practices and social justice. She focuses on highlighting the impact of transient conditions of war, conflict, and displacement on people's creative spatial responses to sudden changes in their built environment and the making (or re-making) of the concept of home and collective imaginary housing for the future. 

    Sana's research methods are embedded in participatory action research approaches and creative mapping techniques that rely on spatial thinking, memory mapping, and speculative and imaginative drawing and layering. 

    She studied architecture at Baghdad University School of Architecture at both undergraduate and postgraduate level. Sana completed her PhD in the UK on the theoretical encounters and the critique of architectural representation and material culture under the influence of technology. She is an alumna of the International School in Forced Migration (cohort 2021) at the Refugee Studies Centre, Oxford Department of International Development, University of Oxford. 

    She is the founder of the Displacement Studies Research Network and co-founder of the Justice and Imagination in Global Displacement research collective, working at the intersection between displacement, design, imagination and justice to research, share, and enhance the impact and power of the creative agencies of displaced peoples, their identity, memory and the spaces and places they create and inhabit. She is the principal investigator for Creative Recovery: Mapping Refugees’ Memories of Home, as Heritage funded by the European Cultural Foundation. The project is in partnership with British Red Cross, and is based on co-produced creative research with refugees and asylum seekers in the Southwest of England. She recently completed a collaborative research project with Dr Rachael Kiddey from the University of Oxford, mapping the material culture of displacement with a group of Refugees in the UK, Sweden and Greece. She has published in peer-reviewed journals and participated in international conferences and workshops. Sana is currently an Advising Editor for Leonardo Reviews: The International Society for the Arts, Sciences, and Technology, a guest reviewer for Routledge Architecture section and a member of the ESRC Global Challenge Research Fund Peer Review College. She is an advisor for the Global Doctoral Program in Spatial Arts, part of the O. P. Jindal Global University, Delhi - India.