The Imaginative Mobilities Sawyer Seminar series is supported by the Mellon foundation with the aim of bringing designers and social scientists into closer dialogue. The seminar group consists of about 20 faculty and post-graduate students from, design, politics, anthropology, international relations and other disciplines. For each event we are inviting a designer, artist or architect and a speaker from the social sciences to give 20 minute presentations followed by a moderated discussion before opening it up to wider discussion amongst the group.

The sessions are organized very loosely around the theme of bordering. Much of the debate on borders — both academically and politically — has revolved around a dichotomy: whether they should be open, or closed. The open borders argument is about free and unfettered movement for all; and the closed borders argument suggests people should be able to create and maintain an inside and an outside. Neither side asks, however, whether we might reconcile borders in different terms — such as permeable, partial, temporary, multilayered — or in different forms such as welcome lounges, flyways, or weather fronts, shifting hour by hour depending on membership. Our ambition is to intervene in current political debates by generating more expansive border imaginaries. In a world where “borders” and the movement of people constitute some of the most pressing political issues of our time, this seminar will bring social scientists and legal theorists together with designers and artists, to imagine, discuss and design new border forms. The aim is not to design solutions but design propositions, useful fictions and hypothetical scenarios in order to facilitate different kinds of conversations across disciplines.

Alex Aleinikoff, Legal Studies, Zolberg Institute for Migration
Anthony Dunne, Design, Designed Realities Studio
Victoria Hattam, Political Science, NSSR
Fiona Raby, Design, Designed Realities Studio
Miriam Ticktin, Anthropology, NSSR