Memory shaping in migration age: Amal’s walking

Author: Vildan Mahmutoglu (Galatasaray University, Turkey)
Speaker: Vildan Mahmutoglu
Topic: Narrative and Metanarrative
COMELA 2022 General Session


Memory is formed by what we see and experience through life. Memory studies generally have been done about past traumas. Up to the present, usually, the studies on the sufferings about the past generated the memory studies. Andreas Huyysen says that the narratives made about the past traumas, not only transfer past pains, but also build the memory for the future ( 2018:368). In our age, narratives are made up not just by big institutions, but also there are micronarratives that come from pieces of stories and telling a micronarrative story is the way of contemporary communication.

In Manchester, Good Chance Theater created a play for the Calais refugee camp, which is called The jungle. Little Amal was a character in that play. After the play, they created a puppet to take attention to the refugee children. The puppet, little Amal represents a 9-year-old Syrian refugee girl and it is 3.5 meters. The director of the performance, Amir Nizar Zuabi explained that the main reason for Amal’s walk is to build memory and also to point out the refugee children. The puppet, Amal, started walking from Gaziantep (Türkiye) and went across Greece, Italy, France, Switzerland, Germany, Belgium, and the UK. Little Amal traveled 8.000 km through eight countries. Little Amal – The Walk (
Turkey is the starting point of Amal’s journey. This study focuses on the last stop, izmir, in Turkey. Amal’s journey started from Gaziaantep and her last stop was İzmir. Before leaving from Turkey, there are several activities and refugee children and Turkish children came together with Amal in those events. They played some games together Amal’ın İzmir Güncesi – İzmir Art ( In the research, in depth interview will be realized with the children who participated in the events. By analyzing the interview, the effect of Amal’s walking performance on children (Turkish and Syrian) will be exposed by keeping in the mind the keyword “forming the memory” and the micronarrative.

Ana Sayfa – The Walk (
Ann Rigney, Remembering Hope: Transnational activism beyond the traumatic. Memory studies, 2018. Vol11 (3). 368-380.
Amal’ın İzmir Güncesi – İzmir Art (

Keywords: Bilingualism, bilinguality, language acquisition, code-switching