Pictures from EU Border Care: Bringing Field Research Home

Visual art documenting the topic of our research is a significant component of EU Border Care. It complements our writing, but also conveys concepts and messages that the written word often cannot communicate. The pictures now hanging on the walls of two dining halls at the European University Institute, in the Badia Fiesolana and in Villa Schifanoia, were taken by our photographer Paola Leonardi. Paola has long worked in and on European borderlands. Since 2012, she has taken analogue pictures of people and places along the land borders of the European Union, to examine the relevance of European identity to notions of home and belonging.

For EU Border Care, Paola travelled with the research team to Greece, Italy, and Spain, to document migrant maternity in the margins of Europe. In Greece, she took pictures at the port of Piraeus, where refugees who had made their way to the mainland from the islands of first reception had camped hoping to make their way out of the country and to another European destination; at the island of Leros, one of the five Aegean islands of first reception whose history includes the confinement of “undesirable” people; and at the village of Tsepelovo, close to Greece’s northwestern border with Albania. In Italy, she photographed people and places at the island of Lampedusa, a hub of arrival for migrants coming into Europe via the Central Mediterranean route.  Her pictures focus on the quotidian aspects of life in the spaces and places – accommodation centers, churches, beaches, street – that migrants frequent during their stay on the borderlands.

All welcomed to visit the exhibition at Villa Schifanoia !