Dr Alexandra Peat

UK Host Institution: Northumbria University
Project status

Literature as Imaginary Archive: Ephemera, Migration and Literature, 1900-1950

The proposed Fellowship will facilitate a two-way collaboration including a series of public-facing workshops, an academic symposium and publications that explore the ephemera of migration in the modernist period (1900-1950). Drawing on ephemeral material forms such as postcards, diaries, craft objects, photographs, and letters, this project will delve into the stories evoked by displaced material objects that can function as counternarratives to state-written narratives of citizenship and identity. It will explore how modern literature engages with ephemera (real and fictional) to help understand and mitigate the human toll of migration and displacement.

The project will combine research in (official and unofficial) UK archives with critical analysis of literary texts that use ephemera as a means of representing the experience of migration. It thus supports a scholarly enquiry into ephemera linked to migration in the first half of the twentieth century benefiting from complementary expertise of the Fellow and host department.

Outputs and media

‘Writing War and the Ephemera Effect’

Roundtable presentation at the Memory Studies Association Conference, Newcastle-Upon-Tyne - July 2023


Workshop at Northumbria University - 14 September 2023

‘The Craft of the Postcard'

Workshop at the WRITE Festival, the National Centre for the Written Word, South Shields - 21 September 2023

'Ink Islands, Paper Birds: Circulations of Epistolary Ephemera about Refugee Experience'

Presentation at the Institute of Humanities, Northumbria University - 18 October 2023

‘Literature as Imaginary Archive’

Online Symposium - 17 November 2023

'The Ethics of the Archive'

Symposium at Northumbria University - 27 November 2023

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