PIMo wishes you a safe, restful and productive summer

Dear colleagues,

After what has been an incredibly challenging academic year for us all the summer is finally in sight. We are immensely proud here in PIMo of how we have managed to continue to facilitate new and exciting forms of knowledge production and exchange on the history of displacement in the Mediterranean despite all of the obstacles the pandemic has put in our way. We are also particularly excited to share our various plans for the coming months, including funding opportunities to facilitate research and the sharing of knowledge as travel gradually opens up in some places, as well as a range of online and hybrid events that will facilitate the excellent work that has defined our network from the beginning.

We hope that as many of you as possible will engage with our planned events, follow our outputs through our website and share the various funding opportunities we are making available widely.

As always, we are grateful for your support and are available to answer your questions and facilitate your involvement in our network. We look forward to continuing to work with you into the future.

In the meantime, we wish you a safe, restful, and productive summer,

PIMo Core Group

Funding Opportunities:

PIMo is delighted to share the details of its First Training School aimed at doctoral candidates and Early Career Researchers. The Training School will address the theme of ‘Diasporic Communities in the Mediterranean: Between Integration and Disintegration’ from the 15th century to the present day. It will take place in the Museo Canario in Las Palams de Gran Canaria from 1-4 September 2021 (public health situation permitting). We would ask you all to please share the Open Call, with a deadline of 28 May 2021 with potential candidates:

We are also happy to announce a new round of funding for both our Short Term Scientific Mission Scheme and our Inclusivity Target Country Conference Grant Scheme.

Short Term Scientific Missions (STSMs) are directed to supporting individual mobility, institutional visits, and collaboration between individual scholars located in a Participating COST Full member / COST Cooperating Member country. Our updated call has a deadline of 11 June 2021 and will cover travel conducted before 30 September. Full details of the call can be found here:

You can access the Frequently Asked Questions for the STSM scheme

Finally, we have launched a new call for our ITC Conference Grant Scheme. PIMo ITC Conference Grants are intended to support participation at conferences of PhD Candidates and Early Career investigators (up to 8 years after PhD) affiliated with an institution of an Inclusiveness Target Country (ITC) participating in the PIMo Action. The deadline for this call is 25 June 2021. Full details can be found here:

We would like to encourage you all to apply for and share the details of the above schemes. They offer a great opportunity to get involved in the great work that PIMo has been doing since its inception.

Upcoming Events

We have a rich and busy schedule of events planned for the months ahead, with many more events set to come on stream so keep an eye on our events section on our website:

We are particularly excited about the launch of the PIMo publication , Encounters at Sea: Paper, Objects, and Sentiments in Motion across the Mediterranean, edited by José María Pérez Fernández, Giorgio Riello and Giovanni Tarantino. The launch will take place at 16:00 on May 13 at the Fondazione Einaudi and will be live streamed on youtube. More details available here: 


We are also looking forward to the upcoming conference at the University Florence on (Re)Reading Travellers to the East: Shaping Identities and Building the Nation in Post-Unification Italy, on 20-21 May. Full details of this event and the partner organisations with whom it is organised can be found here:

On June 17, PIMo will co-host a discussion of Prof Nathalie Rothman’s new book The Dragoman Renaissance: Diplomatic Interpreters and the Routes of Orientalism, (Cornell University Press, 2021) with Sciences Po Paris. The discussion between the author and historian Guillaume Calafat will explore the book’s broader contribution to the history of  mobility in the Mediterranean. More details


Planning is underway for a whole range of events whether online, in hybrid form or in person across PIMo countries so please keep an eye on our website.

Hold the Date!

Plans are underway for the upcoming PIMo Membership Committee Meeting which will be held on Friday 17th September, at the Sakıp Sabancı Museum, Istanbul.

We look forward to soon inviting all MC members to join the planned events, including a welcome lunch and the afternoon MC meeting. This will be followed by a keynote by Professor Jonathan Bloom, the Norma Jean Calderwood University Professor of Islamic and Asian Art at Boston College.

In preparation for our meeting can I please ask all MC Members to respond to me with an outline of their PIMo-related research over the last 12 to 18 months. A half page summary of your research activities and interests would be perfect; the organising committee will use your responses to understand the current direction of the network’s research, and to arrange themed breakout sessions to give members an opportunity to meet other researchers with shared interests.

Please forward your PIMo-related research summary to me (katrina.oloughlin@brunel.ac.uk) by the end of June.

We hope to see many of you in Istanbul in September.

Writing Lives

Several collaborators from WG4 ‘People’ are involved in a public-facing project called ‘Writing Lives’. By building on the historical and scholarly aims of PIMo more broadly, this project hopes to develop a small but significant database of written stories exploring experiences of movement, displacement, and exile in the experiences of contemporary writers. These life stories will be developed in collaborations between writers, writing teachers, and PIMo researchers; through these personal collaborations, the project seeks to develop a conversation and methodological discussion about the ethics of writing lives through the process of storytelling.

About the project:  Writing lives is at the centre of what we, as historians and scholars, very often do. Whether discovering, excavating, and building evidence for historical events and movements, or focusing directly on the lives of historical actors, we depend on the lives of people in the past for much of our primary material. We recover and explore these lives, I think, with varying degrees of self-consciousness, depending on discipline and scholarly goals, and proceed with often differing senses of responsibility to those lives in our various projects.

For an endeavour such as PIMo, which is focused explicitly on the experiences of displaced persons from the fifteenth century to the present, these questions become especially urgent; by way of response, we believe that it is critical to include a space for contemporary first-hand accounts of movement and displacement to supplement the historical work being done. The development of a public-facing website collecting stories first from a pilot group of students, and then from the public, will enrich our understanding and vocabulary of the emotions and experiences of displacement for displaced people, and will, we hope, invigorate ethical and methodological discussions for all PIMo participants.

The project hinges very much on the relationship between history writing and life writing: storia and story. Its goal is to bring those into more direct conversation with each other: to offer people a place to tell their stories; to remind us as researchers that human stories lie at the centre of humanistic inquiry and methodology, and particularly in those projects of a historical nature that depend on human traces and testimony for their materials

The pilot project: We are excited, this summer, to launch a pilot of the ‘Writing Lives Project’, to be developed in conjunction with English and Creative Writing at Brunel University London.  This will take place as a number of writing workshops offered to the (highly diverse) students of Brunel, encouraging them to develop stories of their own experiences of displacement (personally, in families, and in their communities). We hope to create mentoring relationships between interested writers and PIMo researchers, and an opportunity to develop and publish their stories in conjunction with the PIMo project. Our plan is to develop workshops and future calls for contributions around pertinent themes: home & homesickness; escape; nostalgia; old worlds / new worlds; family; diaspora; hospitality; and estrangement are just some of those we are considering.

We would like to invite you to participate in ‘Writing Lives’ in a couple of different ways!

  • Are you interested to act as a potential mentor to a student to help them develop their own story or stories?  This would involve volunteering your time: reading and encouraging the student’s work, meeting perhaps 2-3 times over Zoom and keeping in touch by email. The student may look to you for help in the development of their project; language and writing revisions; or perhaps for some tips on researching and framing their project historically.
  • Can you help us by contributing to our ‘global lexicon’ of movement and displacement? In your research and writing, what are the emotional and cultural terms that recur in the historical experiences of displacement for different language groups, faith groups and other communities? What are the vocabularies of displacement that we need to consider in our conversations and writing?
  • Would you be interested in contributing to a podcast on the theme of ‘Writing Lives’This could take a number of different forms: perhaps a conversation on your own research touching on this theme with a WG4 researcher; a life from your own research or personal experience that you would love to tell the story of; a discussion of a key term or terms that come up in your work to describe the emotional and cultural effects of displacement.
We would very much like you to take part! For further information on the Writing Lives project, or to become involved, please contact Catia Antunes or myself, Katrina O’Loughlin at  C.A.P.Antunes@hum.leidenuniv.nl or katrina.oloughlin@brunel.ac.uk

Recent Events

The PIMo Cost Action has maintained a jam-packed programme throughout the early months of 2021, including a number of significant events since our last Newsletter in early March.

On March 5, Working Group 4 held an online workshop, in collaboration with Sciences-Po Paris, on ‘Muslim Memories of Europe: Circulation and Politics of Remembrance.’ This event facilitated a rich and diverse conversation about the construction of memory narratives around Islam and its followers in Europe from the Early Modern period to the Present Day.

On March 12, Working Group 1 held an online workshop on ‘Emotion and Memory in Gift Exchanging Practices,’ at the N. Iogra Institute of History, Bucharest. This event saw a rich and informative discussion of memory narratives constructed around and negotiated through the act of gift giving.

This was followed by a Working Group 2 workshop on ‘Pandemics and Population Mobility in Early Modern Europe: Actors, Networks, and Ideas,’ at Tallinn University on March 16. This event offered a deeper and broader historical contextualisation of public health management in times of pandemic.

In late April, Working Group 2 organised two online workshop events that were well-attended by PIMo members, International Observers and other participants.

The first event, which took place on April 22 and was co-hosted by GenderMed, based at the Maison Méditerranéenne des Sciences de l’Homme Aix-en-Provence, explored ‘Gendered expressions of resistance, movement, and transformative crisis across the Mediterranean.’ The discussion of specific case studies of gendered experiences of resistance, mobility, and crisis across time and space in the Mediterranean made for a fascinating and enlightening workshop.

The second event, on April 23, co-organised with the Istituto Nazionale di Alta Matematica “F. Severi”, brought together humanities scholars and mathematicians for the co-production of models to map movement in the Mediterranean. This event attests to PIMo’s commitment to interdisciplinarity and the forging of new ways of understanding mobility and displacement.

We look forward to seeing the discussion and connections fostered by these events flourishing in the months and years to come as PIMo continues to drive the research agenda on mobility in the Mediterranean in new and exciting directions.