In this panel discussion, we explored the physical and legislative infrastructure of borders and how we respond to them.


Forensic Oceanography

Migrants In Culture

Unis Resist Borders

The discussion was chaired by Aleks Stanek


Forensic Oceanography is a project initiated within the Forensic Architecture agency by Charles Heller and Lorenzo Pezzani, in the wake of the Arab uprisings of 2011. It seeks to critically investigate the militarised border regime imposed by European states across the EU’s maritime frontier, analysing the political, spatial and aesthetic conditions that have turned the waters of the Mediterranean Sea into a deadly liquid for the illegalised migrants seeking to cross it. The more than 40.000 migrants who have died at and through the sea over the last 30 years are the victims of what Forensic Oceanography call “liquid violence”. By combining human testimonies with traces left across the digital sensorium of the sea constituted by radars, satellite imagery and vessel tracking systems, Forensic Oceanography has mobilised surveillance means ‘against the grain’ to contest both the violence of borders and the regime of (in)visibility on which it is founded. While the seas have been carved up into a complex jurisdictional space that allows states to extend their sovereign claims through police operations beyond the limits of their territory, but also to retract themselves from obligations, such as rescuing vessels in distress, Forensic Oceanography has sought to locate particular incidents within the legal architecture of the EU’s maritime frontier, so as to determine responsibility for them. Forensic Oceanography’s reports have served as the basis for several legal cases against European states. The videos produced by this project have been exhibited internationally.


Migrants in Culture is a network of migrants organising to create the conditions of safety, agency and solidarity in the culture sector for migrants, people of colour and all others impacted by the UK’s immigration regime. We are guided by a vision of culture without borders, and continuously conduct research and actions that showcase and combat the effects of the UK Government's Hostile Environment policies in the culture sector.


Unis Resist Border Controls (URBC) was established in 2016. We are a migrant-led national campaign composed of students & university workers opposed to border controls and the hostile environment policy within UK higher education. URBC duties include providing casework help to migrants staff and students impacted by immigration problems within the higher education sector, educational outreach and research on the hostile environment policy in UK universities, and direct action. URBC has an 8 point manifesto that believes in the following:

1. Free movement. 

2. Free education. 

3. All migrants matter- not just those who are white and/or middle class. We oppose the 'good migrant, bad migrant' discourse. 

4. We demand an end to the migrant NHS surcharge & all upfront charges on asylum seekers and undocumented migrants.

5. We demand an end to the surveillance of students. This includes UK Visa & Immigration (UKVI) monitoring of the attendance of migrant students and migrants university staff members. We also demand an end to the Prevent strategy.

6. If a migrant student or university staff member encounters immigration problems, we demand that Student Unions and the university provide pastoral care and legal support in resisting the detention and deportation of migrant students and staff.

7. Migrant students and university staff should be able to take legal recourse against their institutions without their precarious immigration status being used against them in order to silence them from speaking and taking action against any wrongdoings by their institution.

8. We demand that universities stop working with and/or investing in the arms trade, fossil fuels, and the prison and border industries that are responsible for creating war, environmental devastation, and carceral violence that affects in particular working class, Black and people of colour.