Project Migration

Original Title: "Projekt Migration" (2006)

DOMiD developed the project in cooperation with the Cologne Art Association, the Institute for Cultural Anthropology and European Ethnology at the University of Frankfurt am Main, as well as the Institute for Critical Theory at the Zurich University of the Arts. It was sponsored by the German Federal Cultural Foundation.

The project comprised a variety of research projects, art works, events and film programs. The assorted activities focused on the history of labor migration since the 1950s and the accompanying social changes.


The Exhibition

An exhibition was among the events and activities of Project Migration. It was shown in four central locations in Cologne from fall 2005 through the beginning of 2006. It marked the 50th anniversary of the German-Italian Recruitment Agreement (deutsch-italienisches Anwerbevertrag). That agreement, signed December 20, 1955, signifies formal beginning of migration to Germany from the lands of the Mediterranean and Portugal.

The exhibition addressed the impact of migration on society and illustrated how migration had shaped Germany and Europe. Furthermore, through its examination of the past and present, the exhibition questioned the future potential of migration.


The Catalog

A large multilingual catalog, published by DuMont, accompanied the exhibition. It includes photographs and artistic images, documents, interviews and essays from international scholars. In 2005, Stiftung Buchkunst (Book Art Foundation) awarded the catalog a prize for its exceptional design, conception and workmanship.

The catalog is available through DOMiD. For more information, please feel free to contact us.


Reviews in the Press:

"Project Migration makes it clear that migration and integration are not just the concern of the immigrants. Every individual can find points in the exhibition that touch upon one's own biography and the effects of immigration in one's own life. I wish that we would not only speak of the deficits and problems, but be more alert to the chances and potential tied to immigration. The exhibition offers many opportunities for that." Minister of Integration for NRW Armin Laschet on the exhibition Project Migration in Cologne, from: "Wichtige Auseinandersetzung mit der Zuwanderungsgeschichte" ("Important Discussion of Immigration History"), Publication of the Ministry for Generations, Family, Women and Integration of the Province North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW), January 9, 2006.


"Endeavors like "Project Migration" are an important contribution to the discussion of current social issues in Europe. (…) Things can be demonstrated through art, which are beyond what is immediately politically relevant or statistically measurable. (…) That is exactly what the show in Cologne attempts." From: "Zwischen Koffer und Kinderwunsch" ("Between Suitcase and Family Planning"), in: Neue Züricher Zeitung, November 11, 2005.


"As a labor migration transfer from Germany in the border regions takes place and entire stretches of land in the East are depopulated, projects like this one show that and how former vacationers become migrants. "Project Migration" succeeds in illuminating the socially shattering effects of this shift in living conditions through information and presentations, which serve as more than just a temporary localization." From: "Vom Kommen und Gehen" ("Of Coming and Going"), in: Frankfurter Rundschau, October 22, 2005.


"Above all, one learns of much which has been forgotten in Cologne. (…) So many memories. So many stories. And history, German history. Why does it interest us only now, in the safe space of the exhibition?" From: "Mein erstes Radio" ("My First Radio"), in: Der Tagesspiegel, October 10, 2005.


"'Project Migration' does not emphasize one particular immigrant group. It denounces neither German society's exclusion mechanisms, nor the self-exclusion of Muslims in Berlin or Cologne. It recalls memories of successful (women's) emancipation, of loneliness and homesickness. It documents labor disputes and domestic idylls. It closes a gap not only in the history of the Federal Republic, but also in its self-perception." From: "Einwandern, Schätze suchen" ("Immigrate, Search for Treasure"), in: Die Zeit, October 6, 2005.


Photos: One of the three exhibition locations, DOMiD Archive
Cover of the Catalog "Projekt Migration"