7 February 2020 — 25 March 2020

Missing Migrants of the Mediterranean

The University of Michigan’s School of Social Work, School of Information, Taubman College of Urban Planning and Architecture, and Tunisia-based The Association La Terre Pour Tout are honored to present Missing Migrants of the Mediterranean.

This exhibition shares stories, hopes, and advocacy of families of ‘missing migrants’, using graphic documentation and data visualization works created by students at the School of Information.

About the Project

In Fall 2018, students in “Advanced Topics in Visual Communication and Graphic Design,” under the instruction of Vadim Besprozvany and Elena Godin, narrated these families’ stories through a set of posters which begin to raise awareness of this issue. Students explored methods of visual storytelling with somber data from The Missing Migrants project, an initiative that tracks the deaths of migrants, refugees, and asylum-seekers who have gone missing around the world.

In addition to showcasing student work, the exhibition makes use of sound and touch in the hope of eliciting both cognitive and affective apprehension. We hope that the public, through this glimpse of an unimaginable plight, begins to relate to the yearning of those who simply want to be reunited with their lost loved ones.

The families’ images and narratives are courtesy of our partner, La Terre, a migrant advocacy organization that works to generate awareness and action about the plight and injustices faced by refugees and migrants.


Living Guestbook
by Kara Dailey

The description for this participatory design installation reads: “The Missing Migrants Project tracks deaths of migrants and those who have gone missing along migratory routes across the globe. More than 17,992 Missing Migrants have lost their lives in the Mediterranean since the project began in 2014. Please contribute to this living guestbook installation with a written note of solidarity, empathy, or hope for the families of the missing migrants. After you are finished writing, please hang your message from the installation.”

Exhibition Credits

The team bringing you Missing Migrants of the Mediterranean comprises an interdisciplinary, transnational set of faculty, students, and activists who hope to synthesize social justice, advocacy, design, and technology in the form of public scholarship. As a design and arts-based advocacy, this project is led by Dr. Vadim Besprozvany and Elena Godin of the School of Information. As action research, this project is led by Dr. Odessa Gonzalez Benson of the U-M School of Social Work. Posters designed by Andy Engel, Gohan, Ilma Bilic, Ivy Lin, Kelly O’Sullivan, Malcolm Maturen, Oshin Nayak, Stephanie Schouman, Yaojia Hua, Yue Wang, and Yun Hsiao