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Shadows and Flows: Drones, Citizenship, and Forced Migration

Tomas van Houtryve
November 14th, 2016
12:00 PM


Banner image: ©Tomas van Houtryve "Signature behavior' from Blue Sky Days

Monday, November 14, 2016

12:00 - 1:15 pm

Forum for Scholars and Publics (Old Chem 011)

Light lunch served beginning at 11:45 am for attendees

Tomas van Houtryve is an artist, photographer and author who engages critical contemporary issues around the world. Among these issues are the use of drone technology and the fallout of post- 9-11 anti-terrorist policies, writ large. In 2013, van Houtryve began working on Blue Sky Days, a drone’s-eye view of America. The series was awarded the 2015 ICP Infinity Award and honors from POY, World Press Photo, the Photographic Museum of Humanity, and the White House News Photographer’s Association.

In addition to Blue Sky Days, van Houtryve will present and discuss a new body of work in which he employs augmented reality and social media streams to capture the diaspora of migrants, primarily Syrian migrants, throughout Europe.

The discussion will be moderated by Professor Jayne Huckerby, Director of the International Human Rights Clinic at Duke University Law School.

Presented in collaboration with the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art (SECCA) in Winston-Salem, NC and the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting. Co-sponsored by the Duke Center for Documentary Studies, and the Duke Human Rights Center@FHI.

As part of the exhibition Dispatches, the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art (SECCA) is pleased to present the work of Tomas van Houtryve, and to host him as a guest speaker in locations across North Carolina, including Duke University’s Forum for Scholars and Publics. Dispatches is a multi-platform exhibition gathering and generating artistic responses to the news by contemporary artists and photojournalists. For more information, please visit:

Tomas van Houtryve

Tomas van Houtryve is a photographer, artist and author who engages critical contemporary issues around the world and is recognized as one of the leading photographers of his generation.

Initially a student in philosophy, Tomas developed a passion for photography while enrolled in an overseas university program in Nepal. Immediately after graduation in 1999, he devoted himself fully to photojournalism, starting out with the Associated Press in Latin America. He was the first AP photographer to cover the military prison in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, and in 2002 he traveled to Kandahar to photograph families of the Guantánamo inmates. Tomas left AP in 2003 to concentrate on large-scale personal projects, starting with the Maoist rebellion in Nepal. The resulting photos of the rebels’ rise to power earned wide recognition including the Visa pour l’Image-Perpignan Young Photographer Award and the Bayeux Prize for War Correspondents. In 2006 Tomas was named one of PDN’s 30 Emerging Photographers. He was awarded an Alicia Patterson Journalism Fellowship in 2008, and in 2010 he was named the POYi Photographer of the Year. Tomas’ first monograph book, Behind the Curtains of 21st Century Communism, was published in Spring 2012. The seven-year-long project documents life in the last countries where the Communist Party remains in power: North Korea, Cuba, China, Nepal, Vietnam, and Laos. The series won the 2012 POYi World Understanding Award.

In 2013, Tomas began working on Blue Sky Days, a drone’s-eye view of America. Images from the project were first published in Harper’s as the largest photo portfolio in the magazine’s 164-year history. The series was awarded the 2015 ICP Infinity Award and honors from POYi, World Press Photo, and the White House News Photographer’s Association. Tomas has had solo exhibitions of his work in Paris, New York City, Spain and Italy. Many of his photographs of intense political actions are distinguished by their intimacy. Tomas has frequently interviewed on radio and television and has appeared on the BBC, CNN, MSNBC, NPR, ARTE and France 5.

Jayne Huckerby

Duke University

Jayne Huckerby is clinical professor of law and inaugural director of the Duke International Human Rights Clinic.

Prior to joining Duke, she most recentlly served as a human rights adviser to UN Women – the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women – on women and conflict prevention, conflict, and post-conflict; gender equality and constitutional reform in post-Arab Spring countries; and the use of gender and human rights indicators in national security policy frameworks.

A native of Sydney, Australia, Huckerby received her LLB from the University of Sydney in 2002, with first class honors.  She attended New York University School of Law as a Vanderbilt Scholar, focusing her LLM studies on human rights and international law.

Huckerby has undertaken human rights research and advocacy in the areas of gender and human rights, constitution-making, national security, human trafficking, transitional justice, and human rights in U.S. foreign policy.  She has led multiple fieldwork investigations, provided capacity-building to civil society and governments in five regions, and frequently served as a human rights law expert to international governmental organizations and NGOs, including the International Center for Transitional Justice and the Global Alliance Against Traffic in Women.  She also has extensive domestic, regional (Africa, Americas, Europe) and international litigation and advocacy experience.  She has written and co-authored numerous articles, book chapters, and human rights reports, and is the editor, with Margaret L. Satterthwaite, of Gender, National Security, and Counter-Terrorism: Human Rights Perspectives (Routledge 2012).

Photo credit: OSCE/Micky Kroell