Albanians in Greece: Migration, Memory and Art

Saturday 17 Feb 2024

Academic experts on the sociolinguistics of migration Rexhina Ndoci (Ohio State University) and Petros Karatsareas (University of Westminster) host a panel on the experiences of Albanian migrants in Greece and how these are represented in archival work, artistic creation, and scholarly research.  

Ilirida Musaraj, From Scratch: Creating an Archive of Albanian Migration in Greece 

This presentation will focus on the creation of the Archive of Albanian Migration as part of the Contemporary Social History Archives (ASKI), a living archive that seeks to document a contemporary social phenomenon. Ilirida Musaraj will talk about the creation of the archive and the challenges, opportunities and dilemmas the curating team has faced thus far. 

Fjorida Cenaj, Arra performance 

“Arra” (walnuts) is a performance based on the immigration issue, particularly faced by the second generation of Albanian immigrants, many of whom were raised and born in Greece, facing a certain level of identity crisis. Fjorida Cenaj, inspired by her personal experiences, has created a timely performance, reproducing an image of the Albanian homely familiarity that travels through space and time. With tools from her home, a hammer and a chopping board, she cracks Albanian walnuts. She uses the leverage and sound of the shell’s cracking as a means of recalling collective memory. 

Artist’s note: 

These walnuts are called Albanian, not because they were planted or originated from Albania, but because they were collected and ‘travelled’ across regions to meet the consumption needs of modern history. 

Dimitris Gotsis, Pendulus (2022) short film screening 

Arbi, 24, was born in Albania but grew up in Athens, Greece. On the night of the Serbia-Albania football match, Arbi visits a neighbourhood cafe frequented by Albanians. After the events of that night, Arbi will have to decide whether to attend the wedding of his relatives, whether to claim the girl he likes or whether he is Albanian or Greek. 

The panel will invite the audience to an open discussion on the intersection of migration, memory, and art. 

Additional information

About Ilirida Musaraj

Ilirida Musaraj is the Coordinator of the Archive of Albanian Migration. She is a PhD candidate at the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens in the Department of Sociology. Her thesis examines the formation of identities of second-generation Albanian migrants in Greece. She holds a BA in Political Science and Public Administration and an MA in Political Science and Sociology, both from NKUA. 

About Fjorida Cenaj

Fjorida Cenaj was born in 1997 in Lushnjë, Albania. At a young age, she immigrated with her family to Greece. Growing up, she felt a strong need to express herself through art and pursued film directing studies in Athens. Her art seamlessly blends visual expression, language, and movement – the body. She draws her inspiration primarily from her everyday experiences and is deeply interested in social issues, the concept of identity (related to migration and gender) and mental health matters. She believes in collectives and group dynamics and the positive influences they can have within society. 

About Dimitris Gotsis

Dimitris Gotsis was born in Athens in 1987 and has received a Bachelor’s on Arts and Technology in Film Studies and Broadcast Media from the University of Derby in 2009. His second short film, Spectrum, was screened at the Drama Film Festival along with many other international festivals. In 2015 it received a special mention at Interfilm – Berlin International Short Film Festival. For Forth Wall (2019) Gotsis received the Iris award for Best Short Documentary from the Hellenic Film Academy and the audience awards at Tokyo’s Short Shorts Film Festival and Berlin’s Interfilm Short Film Festival. Sunken, his first feature documentary, received the ERT award at the Thessaloniki Pitching Forum of the 24th Thessaloniki Documentary Festival. 

About Rexhina Ndoci

Rexhina Ndoci is a Linguistics PhD Candidate and Teaching Associate at the Ohio State University. She specialises in sociolinguistics and language contract with emphasis on the relationship between language and ethnic identity and the social perceptions of non-standard speech

About Petros Karatsareas

Petros Karatsareas is a Senior Lecturer in English Language and Linguistics at the School of Humanities at the University of Westminster. He specialiszes in the sociolinguistics of multilingualism, exploring language practices and identities in contexts of migration and transnational mobility. 


The Hellenic Centre


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