I peep through a porthole over Hamburg harbour just as many migrants must have done when they left for the New World over a century ago. But unlike the migrants I am on dry land in my cabin-inspired room in the Hotel Hafen Hamburg, previously a seafarers' home. The hotel is decked out with seafaring … Continue reading A town within a town -Ballinstadt Emigration Museum in Hamburg
I meander through a maze of narrow, winding passages framed by walls of huge grey slabs. They entrap me; slope and slice across my path; disorientate me. There is no mistaking the architecture. It has to be Libeskind. The design is a miniature version of the Jewish Museum in Berlin but encased in the old … Continue reading Louisiana, Libeskind’s Labyrinth and the Jews’ escape across the Sound
I walk past shadowy figures muttering a cacophony of words that I can barely understand. They are carrying bundles of sparse possessions they will take with them to the New World. But it is the large photo at the end of the corridor that catches my eye. A group of emigrants, dressed in massive coats … Continue reading Braving the waves on the Red Star Line
We stand on the summit of a hill in sweltering heat. “This is our Ellis island,” says Nicolas flourishing his hand across the landscape. “It’s where migrants first came to Luxembourg and, indeed, still come.” But instead of Atlantic waves lapping beneath our feet railway tracks, bordered by disused steelworks, sweep towards France. And, across … Continue reading Luxembourg’s Ellis Island in Dudelange
A mural of faces in different hues of blue, green, red, yellow and white painted by Amnesty. Abandoned boats, on spare ground overlooking the port – three from Libya and two from Tunisia. A cluster of coastguard boats nestled against the harbour wall, designed to rescue people more easily from the sea. In the distance … Continue reading Lovely Lampedusa and PortoM – M for Mediterranean, Migration, Memory or Militarisation?
It sounds so intriguing. A museum in a former dairy farm fitted out like the interior of an ocean liner in a remote part of Calabria in southern Italy. The curator is Gian Antonio Stella, columnist for the Corriere della Sella, well known for his writings on migration and his book, L’Orda, the Horde. La … Continue reading Exile to and flight from Calabria
The taxi driver stops at the end of a dark alleyway leading up from the harbour. “It isn’t safe round here,” he advises. I press the bell to the, ‘new flat on the seventh floor in the historic area of Genoa.’ The heavy, wooden door swings open and I enter a dingy but handsome hallway … Continue reading Memoria e Migrazioni at Genoa’s Galata Museo del Mare
Manon, at five weeks old, seems quite happy in the Long Gallery of the Australian Museum in Sydney. She’s not at all perturbed by the skeleton sitting in an armchair, another riding a horse and a third on an exercise bike. I suspect she will have to get used to such visits as her mother, … Continue reading Out and about in Sydney museums searching for migrant stories