Tandem Project

Tunis Encounters: Migration in Aesthetics and Literature


This interdisciplinary tandem project on translocal/transcultural migration and mixing of aesthetic and literary forms involved a series of publications on the intersection of literature, art, and academic research in the fields of comparative literature, art history, musicology, Middle Eastern studies, and translation studies.

The publications document the collaboration between authors, artists, and researchers from the MENA region and Europe, who joined forces virtually via diverse forms of online meetings due to the COVID-19 mobility limitations. A workshop and get-together was planned in Tunis (Tunisia) end of 2020 or in 2021. All participating artists, authors, and graphic designers have been selected by the AGYA members and project partners Stefan Maneval (Arabic and Islamic Studies) and Anis Ben Amor (Literature) on the premises that their work reflects such movements and encounters.

Some of the authors are currently living in exile or in places different from where they were born and raised. Others, including many of the visual artists, deal with encounters of differences within their own societal context or they explore and expand the boundaries of aesthetic and literary traditions, integrating a broad variety of languages as well as narratives and motifs of different origins in their work. Furthermore, the designers are pioneers in integrating different languages, scripts and aesthetic traditions in their graphic design, thus crossing and expanding the boundaries of aesthetic traditions.

The project was experimental and innovative in its character as it initiated such encounters and mixing between aesthetic forms and traditions, while also reflecting upon the consequences of artists’ and authors’ travelling or migrating. Six groups consisting of one author, one artist, and one graphic designer were formed and started working on illustrated bilingual publications (German and Arabic), with an Arab artist illustrating the text of an author from Europe or vice versa. The project results were used to produce a complete series of seven booklets: six bilingual illustrated booklets and one collection of essays by the participating researchers.

Desk with Lamp and Literature Material

AGYA/Stefan Maneval

Disciplines Involved
Arabic and Islamic Studies, Literature Studies, Cultural Studies, Arts
Project Title
Tunis Encounters: Migration in Aesthetics and Literature
Funding Scheme
Tandem Project
Countries Involved
Lebanon, Tunisia, Germany, Sweden, Italy