Staff profiles

Photo of Professor Elena Isayev

Professor Elena Isayev

Professor of Ancient History and Place

4200

01392 724200

For latest Research and CV :  https://exeter.academia.edu/ElenaIsayev/CurriculumVitae

Addressing questions of migration, belonging, displacement, encounter, politics of exception and spatial perception, my historical and archaeological research forms a starting point for a longue durée perspective on current concerns. Investigations, drawing primarily on the ancient Mediterranean, range from  histories of pre-Roman Italy through material remains (Lucania 2007), to deconstructing theories of generation conflict and youth (in Historia 2007), confronting conceptual issues of mobility (Migration Mobility and Place in Ancient Italy, Cambridge, 2017), exposing forms of displaced agency (Between Hospitality and Asylum, International Review of the Red Cross 2017), exploring collective learning and practice-based methods as activated through: www.viewalmaisha.org.

My current research is based on 4 intersecting strands:

1) Community as Intersection of Mobilities: a method using movement, not site, as starting point of analysis.

2) Hospitality, Asylum, Migration: tracing what compels attitudes to outsiders, refugees and role as societal measure.

3) Potency of Displaced Agency: exposes forms and potential for/of action operating beyond the state.

4) Common and Public Space: questions publicness of public space, highlighting alternative common spaces.

Alongside my deep rooted interest in ancient contexts, which includes such subjects as:

•  Countercartographies in a world without maps  •  Republican re-conceptions of Rome as Capital and Home in Polybius, Livy and Cicero  •  the value of citizenship  •  Greek Tragedy and the position of the outsider  •  Latin Comedy and Poetry on mobilities of the everyday  •  ‘Oscan’ forms of governance, the public sphere and ‘contra-urban’ settlement in pre-Roman Italy  •  Inter-state relations, sovereignty and the uses of diplomacy, myth and rights claims  •  the authority of the UN and the gods  •  Journeys and encounter as methods of knowledge creation whether those of Odysseus, the Argonauts, Priscus, or Linnaeus in Lapland …

I find inspiring and essential interdisciplinary and inter-practice approaches, that incorporate collaborative research beyond the academy, e.g. Routes - Migration Hub, Exeter; the co-created www.viewalmaisha.org ; and Displacement and the Humanities volume (http://www.mdpi.com/journal/humanities/special_issues/Manifestos_Ancient_Present).  

My teaching reflects these interests, integrating diverse sources, models and incorporating practitioners in creating an understanding of the past (and present): e.g. the course Ancient Journeys and Migrants (CLA3268)I cherish and welcome working with researchers (in the widest sense) and supervising students whose work incorporates these diverse fields.

Addressing preconceived ideas about ancient society that also affect understandings of today's world, are explorations under the umbrella term Future Memory (funded by AHRC Beyond Text et al., click here). These have led to co-creation with artists, musicians, and communities in Exeter, Swansea, and Glasgow (see External/Public Engagement section).

Initiatives with Campus in Camps have allowed for continuing investigations in contexts beyond the Nation State (http://www.campusincamps.ps/projects/place-heritage-and-belonging-livy-and-cicero/) and led to co-publication with practitioners and students: XENIA (http://www.campusincamps.ps/projects/xenia/).

Research interests

For latest Research and CV :  https://exeter.academia.edu/ElenaIsayev/CurriculumVitae

My current research is based on 4 intersecting strands:

1) Community as Intersection of Mobilities: a method using movement, not site, as starting point of analysis.

2) Hospitality, Asylum, Migration: tracing what compels attitudes to outsiders, refugees and role as societal measure.

3) Potency of Displaced Agency: exposes forms and potential for/of action operating beyond the state.

4) Common and Public Space: questions publicness of public space, highlighting alternative common spaces.

Analysis of past contexts (particlarly in the ancient Mediterranean), and developmet of ideas, form starting points for a longue durée perspective on current issues and collaborative work, especially within displacement:

Alongside historical publications this includes inquiry through e.g.  •  Australian HRC & Tübingen Fellowships;  •  work with Campus in Camps & Decolonising Architecture;  •  a study for the Red Cross;  •  volume Displacement  and the Humanities;  •  ROUTES: Migration Hub;  •  reflections for LEAP: China Contemporary Art;  •  workshop View from Edges of the Earth, Office Contemporary Art, Norway;  •  co-founding www.viewalmaisha.org                                                                                                                                                                                  

Migration, Mobility and Belonging

Challenging prevailing conceptions of a natural tie to the land and a demographically settled world, the monograph Migration, Mobility and Place in Ancient Italy (Cambridge 2017), investigates the nature of human mobility in and through Italy in the last 500 years BC, attitudes to the outsider and, in light of the high levels of population movement, analyses the 'constructed' nature of place and how the mechanism of its construction affects community membership and identity. In so doing it highlights moments of change in the concepts of mobility and the definitions of those on the move. By providing the long view from history, it exposes how fleeting are the conventions that take shape here and now. Issues addressed here have been developed in further publications and the new research strands below, which have emerged from my research into the history and material culture of ancient Italy: Inside Ancient Lucania: Dialogues in History and Archaeology (London 2007); with Bradley and Riva in Ancient Italy: Regions Without Boundaries (Exeter 2007). 

Review: BMCR 2018.07.39, by G. Zuchtriegel (http://bmcr.brynmawr.edu/2018/2018-07-39.html)

*  Research on mobility and belonging has been supported by Fellowships from the Davis Centre for Historical Studies, Princeton University, and the AHRC.

 

Beyond-Resilience: rights, exceptional politics & innovation out of displacement (proposal in preparation)

The aim is to bring together researchers and practitioners engaged with or in contexts of displacement who are invested in understanding, charting and enhancing the rights, agency and the potential of politics, beyond that enacted through nation states and territorial membership. There has been increasing awareness of the consequences resulting from the challenges of human rights, which, while promising equality irrespective of citizenship status, are still articulated within the framework of the Nation State. Nationality remains the basis of entitlement to rights, despite the guarantees offered for legal personhood to those deemed stateless by international human rights law. The situation has become critical, as the perceived state of exception of persons who are undocumented, who exist in refugee camps or detention centres, has not only engulfed whole life times, but become inter-generational. What will it take to shift the perception of displaced people from that of victims, threats, problems or emblematic figures, to that of potent agents (without denying their victimisation), who are equally invested in addressing shared global challenges? How can an opening be created for modes of engagement with the innovative, socio-political models that arise from conditions of displacement, without romanticising, in a way that is neither idealized or reactionary? It is the intention of this initiative to deliver tangible proposals to address these questions and the seemingly intransient, state-based understanding of rights and power, by conducting research through: history, practice, institutional frameworks, and theory.

 

Interdisciplinarity, Interpractice and Co-Creation

Fundamental to these investigations are the collaborations with researchers from multiple disciplines and practices, in and beyond the academy. These have involved co-creating with Campus in Campus in Palestine, and links with the Dandara Community in Brazil, resulting in collective processes, including: the publication with students of XENIA - Hospitality; and contributions to the volume, co-edited with Evan Jewell: Displacement and the Humanities. A recent initiative is underway: www.viewalmaisha.org. These partnerships stemmed from the initiative Future Memory, that brought together artists, muscians and wider community members (see Below and Public Engagement section). Such enterprises and collaborative research will be at the core of the propositional initiative, Beyond Resilience, described above.

* This research has been supported by grants from: the AHRC, Beyond Text Scheme; the Arts Council of Wales; Arts for All, Scotland; the University of Exeter, and others. See Public Engagement section.

 

 INTERDISCIPLINARY – COLLABORATIVE RESEARCH: Initiatives with practitioners and wider global community

Al Maieshah  www.viewalmaisha.org  (Since 2017)

A living learning environment conceived to understand the challenges in making the common –hospitality and politics beyond the state. Co-founder with Isshaq AlBarbary & Diego Segatto. Alongside our investigations in the field AlMaieshah has been invited to create initiatives for:

03.2019   Bauhaus, Dessau, Germany (https://www.bauhaus100.de/de/index.html)

                  Parliament of Schools: for the 100 year Anniversary  (https://www.bauhaus-dessau.de/en/centenary-2019/open-call-parliament-of-schools-2019.html)

11.2018   ArtEZ studium generale:, Arnhem, Netherlands (http://studiumgenerale.artez.nl/)

                  Home: workshops and publication

05.2018    BAK Institute basis voor actuele kunst, Netherlands (https://www.bakonline.org/)  and

                 La Colonie, Paris (http://www.lacolonie.paris/le-projet), in Propositions for Non Fascist Living

    Entanglement: workshops/exhibition (http://viewalmaisha.org/ghorfat/nederland-1-3/)    

02.2018    Office of Displaced Designers, Mytiline, Lesvos (www.odd.org),

                     Inhabiting: exhibition/publication (http://viewalmaisha.org/collective-dictionary-inhabiting/)

03.2017    Campus in Camps (http://www.campusincamps.ps) and University of Exeter, Classics

     XENIA – Hospitality: publication / workshops http://www.campusincamps.ps/projects/xenia/

 

Displacement, Hospitality and Politics Beyond the State (since 2015)

    Explorations and presentations co-created with artists, architects, activists, & other practitioners:

10.2018    Hospitality: part of Al-Madafeh: The Right to Host by DAAR (Decolonising Architecture)

                   with Staffan Müller-Wille (Exeter), at ArkDes Stockholm Sweden (www.arkdes.se/hospitality)

                    Knowledge in transit: the encounters that made Linnaeus’s Laplandic journey possible

09.2017     Future Maker/s Future Market/s, Lichtenberg, Berlin, with architect K. Rohde & UDK, Berlin

    Guest team member. Intersections of locals & newcomers (http://www.spacesofmigration.org)

11.2017     BAK Institute : BAK, basis voor actuele kunst (https://www.bakonline.org/)

                    Visiting Scholar/Participant - linked with residency for: viewalmaisha.org (2017/18)

11.2015     Campus in Camps, Dheisheh Refugee Camp, and at RIWAQ, Ramallah, Palestine

                    Alessandro Petti and Sandi Hillal of Decolonising Architecture (DAAR), Beit Zahour, Palestine

                    Heritage, Belonging and Place – ran a series of workshops

                    (http://www.campusincamps.ps/projects/place-heritage-and-belonging-livy-and-cicero/)

                       

Future Memory (since 2008)                         

2013-14 Future Memory in Red Road

Focusing on the Red Road Flats in Glasgow, this project drew on themes and methods of Future Memory. At its base are peoples’ lives, who lived in the flats across 4 decades; translating the hopes, aspirations and struggles of the shifting community, exposing place as an intersection of life trajectories. It consisted of music and art workshops, archaeological field surveys with schools, film and final performance that literally echoed a tribute and farewell through the flats’ skeletal framework prior to blow-down. Founded on research on emotional and physical attachments to, and understandings of, home through of place making and remembrance.

In collaboration with artists, Iseult Timmermans and Catrin Webster, musician/conductor Marion Wood, and from Unviersity of Glasgow, Rebecca Kay, Alison Phipps, Michael Given, and GRAMNet (Glasgow Refugee Asylum and Migration Network).

Funded by AHRC Translating Cultures Scheme, CEES, (Glasgow), University of Exeter, University of Glasgow, and Creative Scotland

      https://www.facebook.com/Future-Memory-In-Red-Road-567530939948200/

      http://www.gla.ac.uk/media/media_378620_en.pdf

      http://www.gla.ac.uk/research/az/gramnet/research/futurememoryinredroad/#/welcome       

 

2011-13 Future Memory in Place

Based on my research into ancient mobility and the construction of place, the project investigates migration and the bond between memory and place. It engaged some 3000 participants in Swansea, including pupils from 9 schools, primary and secondary, through a series of workshops, exhibition and public events that resulted in art works and performances: Tessera Hospitalis Sculpture – permanently at the National Waterfront Museum Swansea; Art piece – 1000 Colours Blue; and a film of the same name with music direction by Marion Wood and Michael Ormiston. It also produced education packs and internships in the Museum that created visitor activities in relation to the sculpture and main project themes.

In Collaboration with artist Catrin Webster

Funded by AHRC Beyond Text Follow on Funding Scheme and Arts Council Wales (2011-12)

    http://projects.beyondtext.ac.uk/deplacingfuturememory-fo/index.php

    https://ore.exeter.ac.uk/repository/handle/10472/5386

 

2008-9            De-Placing Future Memory

This exploratory series of workshops in Exeter, which brought together an interdisciplinary group of academics, along with international artists, musicians and curators, some from conflict areas (Palestine and Iraq), became the catalyst for the other Future Memory projects. It experimented with the concept of de-placement to express the idea that, in particular situations, individuals and communities can be made placeless, along with the potential of creating new possibilities for future memory. It engaged over 600 participants, including a workshop with 200 school children, and combined artworks, music perfromances, a month-long exhibition at Exeter, and public presentations at the Exeter Café Scientifique and Phoenix Arts Centre.

With invited academics, artists & musicians. Funded by AHRC Beyond Text Scheme (2008-9)

    http://projects.beyondtext.ac.uk/deplacingfuturememory/

    https://ore.exeter.ac.uk/repository/handle/10472/5258

 

QUICK LINKS

www.viewalmaisha.org

Displacement and the Humanities: Manifestos from the Ancient to the Present:   http://www.mdpi.com/journal/humanities/special_issues/Manifestos_Ancient_Present

XENIA – Hospitality:  http://www.campusincamps.ps/projects/xenia/

Campus in Camps: Place, Heritage and Belonging – Livy and Cicero:    http://www.campusincamps.ps/projects/place-heritage-and-belonging-livy-and-cicero/

Future Memory:         http://projects.beyondtext.ac.uk/deplacingfuturememory/

                                    http://projects.beyondtext.ac.uk/deplacingfuturememory-fo/

                                    https://ore.exeter.ac.uk/repository/handle/10472/5386

                                    https://ore.exeter.ac.uk/repository/handle/10472/5258

                                    https://www.facebook.com/Future-Memory-In-Red-Road-567530939948200/

                                    http://www.gla.ac.uk/media/media_378620_en.pdf

                                    http://www.gla.ac.uk/research/az/gramnet/research/futurememoryinredroad/#/welcome  

 

Research students

• Claude Kananack (USA)        

            Cataline’s Co-Conspirators

• Antonio Montesanti (Italy)                 

            Borders, limits, thresholds, frontiers: an assessment of the concept of boundary in the Classical World

• Rafael Scopacasa (Brazil)        

            Mortuary practice and socio-cultural identity in the ancient central Apennines 

• Chris Siwicki (UK)                 

            Architectural Restoration and the Concept of Built Heritage in Imperial Rome

• Chiara Strazzulla (Italy)   (with Cardiff Unviersity)                      

            Etruscan ethnicity and self-representation in the Middle and Late Republic

• Luca Mazzini (Italy)

           The place of Macedonian identity in Roman Asia Minor: ancient tradition, civic memory and the Imperial Power.

• Kat Alaimo

          An archaeology of temple assemblages and social practice in early south-eastern Roman Britain

• Maria Kneafsey

        The City Boundary in Late Antique Rome

Antonio Leonardis 

          Uncovering Italic Identities in Pre-Roman Italy: A Case-Study in the Salento region of Puglia, South East Italy

• Massimiliano Fusari (Italy)

         Visual Communication in Multimedia: Post Produced Cultures – The Meta-Image

• Stephanie Wright (with Southampton Unviersity)

        Impairment and Disability in the Late Roman period

• Charlotte Young (UK)                     

            Snapshots of Ruins: the use of photoarchaeology as a scientific tool

External impact and engagement

For latest Research and CV :  https://exeter.academia.edu/ElenaIsayev/CurriculumVitae

INTERDISCIPLINARY – COLLABORATIVE RESEARCH: Initiatives with practitioners and wider global community

• Al Maieshah  www.viewalmaisha.org  (Since 2017)

A living learning environment conceived to understand the challenges in making the common –hospitality and politics beyond the state. Co-founder with Isshaq AlBarbary & Diego Segatto. Alongside our investigations in the field AlMaieshah has been invited to create initiatives for:

03.2019   BauhausDessau, Germany (https://www.bauhaus100.de/de/index.html)

                  Parliament of Schools: for the 100 year Anniversary  (https://www.bauhaus-dessau.de/en/centenary-2019/open-call-parliament-of-schools-2019.html)

11.2018   ArtEZ studium generale:, Arnhem, Netherlands (http://studiumgenerale.artez.nl/)

                  Home: workshops and publication

05.2018    BAK Institute basis voor actuele kunstNetherlands (https://www.bakonline.org/)  and

                 La ColonieParis (http://www.lacolonie.paris/le-projet), in Propositions for Non Fascist Living

    Entanglement: workshops/exhibition (http://viewalmaisha.org/ghorfat/nederland-1-3/)    

02.2018    Office of Displaced Designers, Mytiline, Lesvos (www.odd.org),

                     Inhabiting: exhibition/publication (http://viewalmaisha.org/collective-dictionary-inhabiting/)

03.2017    Campus in Camps (http://www.campusincamps.ps) and University of Exeter, Classics

     XENIA – Hospitality: publication / workshops http://www.campusincamps.ps/projects/xenia/

 

• Displacement, Hospitality and Politics Beyond the State (since 2015)

    Explorations and presentations co-created with artists, architects, activists, & other practitioners:

10.2018    Hospitality: part of Al-Madafeh: The Right to Host by DAAR (Decolonising Architecture)

                   with Staffan Müller-Wille (Exeter), at ArkDes Stockholm Sweden (www.arkdes.se/hospitality)

                    Knowledge in transit: the encounters that made Linnaeus’s Laplandic journey possible

09.2017     Future Maker/s Future Market/s, Lichtenberg, Berlin, with architect K. Rohde & UDK, Berlin

    Guest team member. Intersections of locals & newcomers (http://www.spacesofmigration.org)

11.2017     BAK Institute : BAK, basis voor actuele kunst (https://www.bakonline.org/)

                    Visiting Scholar/Participant - linked with residency for: viewalmaisha.org (2017/18)

11.2015     Campus in Camps, Dheisheh Refugee Camp, and at RIWAQ, Ramallah, Palestine

                    Alessandro Petti and Sandi Hillal of Decolonising Architecture (DAAR), Beit Zahour, Palestine

                    Heritage, Belonging and Place – ran a series of workshops

                    (http://www.campusincamps.ps/projects/place-heritage-and-belonging-livy-and-cicero/)

                       

• Future Memory (since 2008)                         

2013-14 Future Memory in Red Road

Focusing on the Red Road Flats in Glasgow, this project drew on themes and methods of Future Memory. At its base are peoples’ lives, who lived in the flats across 4 decades; translating the hopes, aspirations and struggles of the shifting community, exposing place as an intersection of life trajectories. It consisted of music and art workshops, archaeological field surveys with schools, film and final performance that literally echoed a tribute and farewell through the flats’ skeletal framework prior to blow-down. Founded on research on emotional and physical attachments to, and understandings of, home through of place making and remembrance.

In collaboration with artists, Iseult Timmermans and Catrin Webster, musician/conductor Marion Wood, and from Unviersity of Glasgow, Rebecca Kay, Alison Phipps, Michael Given, and GRAMNet (Glasgow Refugee Asylum and Migration Network).

Funded by AHRC Translating Cultures Scheme, CEES, (Glasgow), University of Exeter, University of Glasgow, and Creative Scotland

      https://www.facebook.com/Future-Memory-In-Red-Road-567530939948200/

      http://www.gla.ac.uk/media/media_378620_en.pdf

      http://www.gla.ac.uk/research/az/gramnet/research/futurememoryinredroad/#/welcome       

 

2011-13 Future Memory in Place

Based on my research into ancient mobility and the construction of place, the project investigates migration and the bond between memory and place. It engaged some 3000 participants in Swansea, including pupils from 9 schools, primary and secondary, through a series of workshops, exhibition and public events that resulted in art works and performances: Tessera Hospitalis Sculpture – permanently at the National Waterfront Museum Swansea; Art piece – 1000 Colours Blue; and a film of the same name with music direction by Marion Wood and Michael Ormiston. It also produced education packs and internships in the Museum that created visitor activities in relation to the sculpture and main project themes.

In Collaboration with artist Catrin Webster

Funded by AHRC Beyond Text Follow on Funding Scheme and Arts Council Wales (2011-12)

    http://projects.beyondtext.ac.uk/deplacingfuturememory-fo/index.php

    https://ore.exeter.ac.uk/repository/handle/10472/5386

 

2008-9            De-Placing Future Memory

This exploratory series of workshops in Exeter, which brought together an interdisciplinary group of academics, along with international artists, musicians and curators, some from conflict areas (Palestine and Iraq), became the catalyst for the other Future Memory projects. It experimented with the concept of de-placement to express the idea that, in particular situations, individuals and communities can be made placeless, along with the potential of creating new possibilities for future memory. It engaged over 600 participants, including a workshop with 200 school children, and combined artworks, music perfromances, a month-long exhibition at Exeter, and public presentations at the Exeter Café Scientifique and Phoenix Arts Centre.

With invited academics, artists & musicians. Funded by AHRC Beyond Text Scheme (2008-9)

    http://projects.beyondtext.ac.uk/deplacingfuturememory/

    https://ore.exeter.ac.uk/repository/handle/10472/5258

 

QUICK LINKS

www.viewalmaisha.org

Displacement and the HumanitiesManifestos from the Ancient to the Present:   http://www.mdpi.com/journal/humanities/special_issues/Manifestos_Ancient_Present

XENIA – Hospitality:  http://www.campusincamps.ps/projects/xenia/

Campus in Camps: Place, Heritage and Belonging – Livy and Cicero:    http://www.campusincamps.ps/projects/place-heritage-and-belonging-livy-and-cicero/

Future Memory:         http://projects.beyondtext.ac.uk/deplacingfuturememory/

                                    http://projects.beyondtext.ac.uk/deplacingfuturememory-fo/

                                    https://ore.exeter.ac.uk/repository/handle/10472/5386

                                    https://ore.exeter.ac.uk/repository/handle/10472/5258

                                    https://www.facebook.com/Future-Memory-In-Red-Road-567530939948200/

                                    http://www.gla.ac.uk/media/media_378620_en.pdf

                                    http://www.gla.ac.uk/research/az/gramnet/research/futurememoryinredroad/#/welcome  

 

 

Biography

Education

Ph.D. History: University College London, University of London (July 2000)              

            Dissertation: Indigenous communities in Lucania: social organization & political forms, 4t-1st c. BC

M.A. Classical Archaeology (Distinction): University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada (1995) 

B.A. Hon. History/Classical Studies, (First Class, magna cum laude): York University, Toronto (1993)