Blackout Poems for “Missing” Others: A Creative Participatory Workshop
In 2002, the poet and artist F. Starik, set up in Amsterdam “The Lonely Funeral Project”, according to which a poet will write a poem about a deceased person that does not have any family or friends to attend their funeral; the poet attends the funeral and reads their poem as a means of respect to the dead person.
At the same time, thousands of other people die but remain unacknowledged even if they have family due to the nature of their death. According to the Missing Migrants Project, since 2014, 26,855 missing migrants were recorded in the Mediterranean, although this number is probably an undercount.
In an era of “hostile environments”, through this experimental creative workshop, we will take the time to pay tribute to all those dead refugees and migrants that have been lost at the margins of the European continent, while we will try to consider whether we can comprehend and grieve the loss of “missing” or unidentified people, or of those that we never met. How can we commemorate those that remained “missing” or “anonymous”?
Those who’s next of kin were not there to claim their bodies and grieve them? How can we collectively grieve them? By employing blackout poetry on news reports about the refugee and migrant crisis in the Mediterranean, on this year’s World Refugee Day (20 June), which is designated by the United Nations to “honour refugees around the globe”, we will collectively rewrite narratives as a first step in acknowledging so many losses of human lives and our ethical responsibility as contemporary citizens.
The workshop will function as a non-hierarchical, safe and creative space. Craft material and coffee/tea will be provided.
 Maarten Inghels & F. Starik, The Lonely Funeral: Poets at the Gravesides of the Forgotten (Todmorden: ARC Publications, 2018).
 “Mediterranean”, Missing Migrants Project, https://missingmigrants.iom.int/region/mediterranean (accessed 25 May 2023)
Dr Kyveli Lignou-Tsamantani, Humanities Research Centre Postdoctoral Research Fellow, University of York.
The workshop is co-organised by the Visual Ethics Network (CModS Research Strand), the Found Poetry Experimental Workshops (Humanities Research Centre, University of York & Cultural Relations and Comparative Arts Lab, University of Thessaly) and the Migration Network of the University of York. The workshop is funded by the Centre for Modern Studies.