Learning to Be Freed

Affective Multimodalities in Third Space

  • Eda Elif Tibet University of Bern
  • Abdi Deeq
Keywords: freedom, third space, affective multimodalities, engaged anthropology, asylum seekers, Turkey


This paper delves into the life stories of three unaccompanied asylum seeking youth residing at a state care shelter in Istanbul in 2015 and 2016. Through its intervention, the research follows an engaged anthropological approach to reveal the hidden aspects of the youth's emotional and intellectual worlds. The in-depth life stories shared here illuminate Homi Bhabha's Third Space Theory (1994) and are amplified by a methodological approach we call affective multimodalities. As we seek to understand the various ways the youths navigate survival and learning to be freed from institutional categories, we explore a few concepts of Third Space Theory: extraterrestrial territories, paradoxical worlds, afterlife-rebirth, and a displaced angle of vision. Through the practice of a collaborative radio show and photography elicitations, the youth were asked to share their dreams as they were encouraged to realize their potentials. During this co-creative approach, one of the youth even became a co-author of this paper. The ethnographic insights produced through this approach allows us to explore the third space theory with a poetical reflection through words and images.

Author Biographies

Eda Elif Tibet, University of Bern

Eda Elif Tibet is a post-doctoral researcher at the Institute of Geography, University of Bern and the Visual Anthropology Lead of Global Diversity Foundation (UK). In her current research, she documents cultural landscapes in the High Atlas Mountains of Morocco. Tibet is a core faculty member of the Global Environments Network’s summer academy, taking place at the University of Oxford. She is an award-winning documentary film-maker. Her films circulated worldwide through film festivals and broadcast on TVs and digital streaming platforms (Home for Humanity 2022, Awakening A Fairy Tale 2022, Ait Atta: Nomads of the High Atlas 2020, Ballad for Syria 2017, Refugee Here I Am 2015, Hey Goat! 2014 , Amchi 2013, 28 Days on the Moon 2012). She is the co-founder of two visual and multimodal anthropology collectives; KarmaMotion and EthnoKino .

Abdi Deeq

Abdi Deeq is a scholar pursuing a BA in Cinema, Radio and TV at Marmara University in Istanbul, Turkey. His acclaimed photography exhibition Erase &Rewind has received worldwide recognition and coverage by media, NGOs, embassies, and universities. His award-winning work is recognised as a best practice for participatory media with refugee youth by the European Culture Foundation (Netherlands), featured in their Displaced in Media publication. His co-creative participatory film A Borderless World with unaccompanied asylum-seeking youth was screened at the British Film Institute (BFI). He is currently working towards finalizing his first ethno-fiction film about the flight of Afghans within an auto-portrait of his own life story.

How to Cite
Tibet, Eda Elif, and Abdi Deeq. 2022. “Learning to Be Freed: Affective Multimodalities in Third Space”. TSANTSA – Journal of the Swiss Anthropological Association 27 (April):58-77. https://doi.org/10.36950/tsantsa.2022.27.7788.