Imagined Migrant Futures Exhibition

The investigation of Imagined Migrant Futures (IMF) is not a new phenomenon. Yes, that is right, on the international art frontier, this presentation is not the shock of the new. It is especially prevalent in countries such as Singapore and India, where extensive research has been done with regards to identity and changing times. The average time frame of IMF studies conducted often compared the late 70s (1978) to 2001. However, The art and cultural workforce in WA examining this now in 2019 catalyses a new wave for this region in particular.

Of time, and society.

The various works of bodies interrogated the displaced identities that were left unheard and unseen amidst the establishment of colonial structures of yesteryears within the state of Western Australia. This exhibition is of crucial importance in the Perth region when it comes to understanding community. It repositions challenges and partial resolution to the discourses faced in every day in public view. The Installation A Record, 2019 by Meera Thiagarajan is part of the Imagined Migrant Futures Exhibition Showcase. I would have to admit that Meera’s work would not have been the first work that I was drawn to when entering the exhibition space. Nevertheless, her work emerges as my personal favourite despite its absence of physical aesthetics. Art and aura? Such was my demise. This exhibit deserves the main exhibition floor in the State library but was granted the nook instead. Nevertheless, the nook gave way to an intimate art experience fitting of the personal and straightforward works presented.

There is an emphasis on thoughtful relationship in the participants lives reflected in the histories of their onlookers, a demonstration and public extension of scholarly research.

For example,


Whilst the construct directs valuable attention to identity construction and motivational aspects as well as the structural contexts implicit in young women’s (not exclusive to females in this case) imagined futures, its spatial aspects remain undertheorized. This article has sought to address this theoretical gap, taking a relational approach toward spatializing the possible selves construct. A relational approach directs attention to the social relations significant to young people’s everyday lives as they move in and through the everyday spaces such as the home, college, and workplace. As such, it signals the need to examine both empirically and theoretically the role of the family and peer group in the formation of young people’s possible selves.


To be sure, scholarship can inform policy, but it should not be shaped by the political moment or by a particular policy agenda. Policy relevance is good, but scholars must resist letting policy directives determine which questions are asked and which findings are shared. In addition, while much focus has been directed toward national policy, research at the level of everyday experience has much insight to lend to more local-level policies and to school and community practices.

The notion of curating based on the realms of the imagined futures hits close to home when it comes to discussing the ageing population back home in Singapore. And this humble exhibition was able to achieve what the discussion hoped to address. A bridging of generations and continuous exploration accessible to the public breaking down the barriers of race, and bringing it to a centre of commonality. A symbiosis of oratorical history weaved into sonic and visual splendour. Is this then the cultural gateway for WA, known for it’s mining but yet thriving with an undeniable pool of talents in the realms of the creative industry? When facing a mining low, the artists and dramaturgs within the cultural precinct may very well be the states next superheroes.


Gonzales, R. (2015). Imagined Futures: Thoughts on the State of Policy and Research Concerning Undocumented Immigrant Youth and Young Adults. Harvard Educational Review, 85(3), 518–525.

Patel, V. (2017). Parents, permission, and possibility: Young women, college, and imagined futures in Gujarat, India. Geoforum, 80, 39–48.

Lyon, D., & Crow, G. (2012). The Challenges and Opportunities of Re-Studying Community on Sheppey: Young People’s Imagined Futures. The Sociological Review, 60(3), 498–517.

Shauna Goh