We live today in an age of generalized translation and many of our long-standing scripts for thinking about cultural production no longer speak to our moment. We need new modes for thinking about our expressivity as plural, engaging with dispositions and potentialities stemming not so much from capacities to code switch or move between languages and modes of expression, as from the continual negotiation and improvisation called upon us within the post-monolingual environments which are ours today, particularly in metropolitan areas. We live, then, in an age not only of generalized but also endless translation. An age in which our modes of expression are also constantly on the move, shifting and travelling in ever-increasing ways, and yet in which our experiences of belonging and our possibilities for saying “we” also reside more and more in these often ephemeral forms of expression. This age of migration requires us to think about how our languages(s) and expressivities shape and serve our trajectories through the world. It requires us to be alive to how these expressivities, shot through by processes of accretion and exposure, produce places and forms for now and for the future, resisting the tendency to reduce migrant experience to the unwavering story that must be told in order to secure the minimum conditions for life in host countries.
The Paris Centre for Migrant Writing and Expression has been created to coordinate individual and larger networked research endeavours working towards these ends.