Performing Migration was an artistic expression workshop engaging migrant women from Bolivia, Peru and Colombia incarcerated in Santiago, Chile, during 2017. As practice-as-research for my PhD in Performance Studies, funded by UC Davis Border Studies, HaRCs and HIA summer research grants, the aim was to develop a participatory approach to facilitating the self-expression of experiences of mobility and enclosure. Assisted by graduates from the programs in Applied Theatre and Educational Theatre at the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile (Carolina Alarcon and Bernardita Galleguillos), the workshop design focused on honing a reflexive praxis. Exploring a range of techniques, including writing, drawing, singing, movement, body-mapping and image theatre, we shaped activities around session-by session feedback from participants. Body mapping became our main focus, as it allowed for performatively layering meanings, places, memories, desires, and possibilities. We found that moments of human connection and care, in spite of the dehumanizing context of immigrant detention, could be amplified via artistic self-expression, creating a shared space where participants felt free to re-value their different experiences.
More documentation: South-South Mobility and Enclosure: reflections on participatory performance practice as research in a female penitentiary in Santiago, Chile