Stage Two, 618 S. Michigan Ave

About The Event

This half-day event will feature exhibiting artists, activists, writers, and scholars who are engaged in issues surrounding refugee rights, global migration, and resettlement practices. Examining these issues within both Chicago and the global context, this series of panels will grapple with issues at the forefront of the exhibition. This symposium is co-sponsored by Heartland Alliance and the Transatlantic Refugee Resettlement Network.

Register here.


1:00-2:30 – Panel 1: Understanding Global Migration

This panel will examine the scope of the crisis of global migration, with an emphasis on deepening our understanding of what is happening to refugees, immigrants, and displaced people on a local, national, and global level.

Moderated by Carrie Mann, founder of the Transatlantic Refugee Resettlement Network


Amanda Crews Slezak, supervising attorney with the National Immigrant Justice Center’s Asylum Project

Scott Portman, Regional Director, Middle East & North Africa, Heartland Alliance International

Rajit K. Mazumder, PhD, Associate Professor of History, Interim Director, Refugee and Forced Migration Studies, DePaul University

Leena Zahra, Community Program Coordinator at Karam Foundation

3:00-4:30 – Panel 2: Art as Activism: Photographing the Refugee Crisis

This panel will examine issues of representing global migration in art and journalism. Panelists will grapple with pertinent questions such as: How does the camera function to both distance the viewer and bring them closer to the individual lives and stories of displaced people? What kind of stories are being told about refugees and who gets to tell them? And how does art provide a vital means to empower and activate in these times?

Moderated by Wendy Pearlman, Associate Professor of Political Science at Northwestern University and author of We Crossed a Bridge and it Trembled: Voices from Syria


Jackie Spinner, Associate Professor of Journalism, Columbia College Chicago

Hiwa K, Artist

Daniel Castro Garcia, Artist

Fidencio Fifield-Perez, Artist