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A Calais Reincarnate
This project positions the current refugee situation in Calais within the long durée. Using historical precedent to justify human movement through the city as more than the humanitarian crisis that has unfolded over the past thirty years but part of a natural phenomenon that has occurred for centuries due to Calais’ proximity to Britain, encompassing movements of refuge, tourism and industry. Despite its history as a thriving industrial hub and now playing host to the successful Port and Channel Tunnel, the city today faces high unemployment and a lack of investment and opportunities for the local community, which has sown tension between the unwanted migrants and their unwilling hosts. However, the number of people displaced due to persecution, war, violence and now climate change will only continue to increase and Calais’ geographic position will see it play host to those transiting to the UK regardless of whether they are welcome or not. Accepting and developing a resilience to this reality could present a potential opportunity for local politics, community and industry to positively engage with the migrant presence and reframe the city’s image celebrating transience in its entirety as a place of both hospitality and refuge.