Professor Elena Isayev

Creating an impact regionally, nationally and globally

Professor Elena Isayev, Associate Professor, Classics and Ancient History

As human beings, mobility is our key interaction with the world, and is an essential part of our existence. Our movement between places affects our perception, meaning and response to communities we encounter and are part of.

To help people establish a sense of community and an understanding of place, Elena Isayev’s Future Memory in Place project draws upon historical research to engage minority communities, disaffected groups and refugees, to help them understand their own journeys, identity, and place in the world. Elena uses her research from the highly-mobile ancient society, in which a sense of belonging was not tied to territory, to help reconsider what we mean by the term “foreigner” or “migrant,” and also to explore how places are intersections that see the coming together of many people’s paths in life.

To do this, Elena, working with art practitioners and colleagues from other disciplines has engaged different sectors of communities, including young people and refugees, through a series of workshops held in Exeter, Swansea and Glasgow. These workshops allowed individuals to examine these themes within their own lives. In practice – through collective explorations of the past, co-creating art and performance, the workshops have enabled a large number of people to re-think their own identities, memories and sense of belonging. This has led them to positively interact with their current home, by creating a sense of community, through common experience.