Lampedusa: Caught Between Shipwreck and Tourism

Key information

9:30 am to 6:00 pm
Russell Square: College Buildings

About this event

Organised by Dr. Anna Arnone. A joint workshop in collaboration with the Centre for Migration and Diaspora Studies and the MA Programme in Anthropology of Travel and Tourism.

Studies of mobility often focus on the apparatus, social discourses and inequalities in present “regimes of mobility” (Salazar and Schiller eds 2015). Instead, this workshop aims to highlight the social processes occurring among and between people in Lampedusa as a space where different moving subjects encounter one another in intersecting landscapes of hospitality and grief.

In October 2013 Lampedusa's Spiaggia dei Conigli was both rated Tripadvisor's most beautiful beach in the world and was the place where, a few hundred meters away, one of the most tragic shipwrecks occurred, with 500 hundred migrants drowned. This is one example of the contradictory encounters that local people are dealing with. This day-long workshop brings researchers together to work on understanding how Lampedusa's inhabitants have found themselves negotiating not only the constant tragedy taking place in their seas, but also the ensuing impact on their livelihood, “leisure” tourism, as a result of recent events. Lampedusa has also seen an increase in militarisation in the last decade and local people are vigorously contesting this process as both intrusive and counterproductive for their fishing and tourist economy.

In this workshop, participants explore: how are people in Lampedusa negotiating structures of power to create spaces where hospitality can assume many meanings and overlap to produce a multiplicity of outcomes? If Lampedusa is caught between ‘shipwreck and tourism’, is there more at stake than the juxtaposition of a tourist venue for sun and leisure with a place of regular death and grief? Discussion will focus on Lampedusa's ongoing social change, with a view to drawing a new cartography of inclusion of the spaces and actors that are contributing to Lampedusa's complex current identity.

Participants: Anna Arnone, Jacobo Colombini, Heidrun Friese, Federica Mazzara, Giacomo Orsini, Eithne Nightingale, Daniel Purroy, Noel Salazar, Lucio Santin, Vicki Squire, Ilaria Vecchi

Please note that the workshop will be in room 116 at SOAS, which has limited seating. There will be a first-come, first-seated policy, so if interested you might contemplate arriving before 9.30 AM.


9.30  Welcome (Anna Arnone, SOAS, Organiser)

9.40  Debate: Understanding movement and place
Noel Salazar (Leuven) and Vicki Squire (Warwick)

Discussant: Vicki Squire (Warwick)

  • Lucio Santin (Munich), ‘Lampedusa: a history of militarisation and hegemony’
  • Giacomo Orsini (Essex), ‘Lampedusa: From a fishing island in the middle of the Mediterranean to a tourist destination in the middle of Europe’s external border’

Coffee break

  • Heidrun Friese (Chemnitz), ‘ “Lampedusa is everywhere“: Representing Mobilities and the Tragic Border-Regime’
  • Anna Arnone (SOAS), ‘3/10/13: Lampedusa caught between shipwreck and tourism’

12.30   Roundtable discussion


  • Loops of ‘Sounds of Lampedusa,’ by Lucio Santin
  • Cartoline in movimento (postcards in movement)’ and other visual art by OrgaMekka

Discussant: Noel Salazar (Leuven)

  • Vicki Squire (Warwick), ‘12 days in Lampedusa’
  • Jacobo Colombini (St Andrews), ‘The Archivio Memorie Migranti : Questioning “Lampedusa” and constructing new signifiers’
  • Federica Mazzara (Westminster), ‘Porto M in Lampedusa and the aesthetics of subversion’
  • Eithne Nightingale (Queen Mary), ‘Migrant memories and memorabilia inside and outside museums’

Coffee break

16.30  Video and presentation by Ilaria Vecchi (Terra Firma Docs) about the play "Miraculi" by Valentina Zagaria (LSE)

17.00   Artwork and presentation by Daniel Purroy and Mireille Cagnol

17.30   Roundtable discussion

18.00   Closing

Organiser: Dr. Anna Arnone

Contact email:

Sponsor: Centre for Migration and Diaspora Studies; MA Programme in Anthropology of Travel and Tourism