Smithsonian Folklife Festival 2016

The On the Move: Migration and Immigration Today tent engaged visitors in conversations beyond the polarizing political debates currently taking place within our society. Using interactive activities and hosting daily presentations in multiple formats, On the Move pushed visitors to think about how immigration and migration affect their own lives, families, and communities.Guests were invited to mark three points on a map: where they were born, where they live now, and where they call home. The third question spurred conversations about how “home” is defined, how this place has or has not changed over time, and how this movement and these changing definitions impact how we define ourselves and our relationships to those communities.

On the Move also prompted visitors to think about others who are undergoing profound changes as they move—or are moved—from place to place. Visitors were asked by facilitators to consider the journeys of their communities—their struggles, hopes, and resilience—as they reflect on the questions: how do you define yourself? Where is “home”? How do you connect the traditions of past generations with those of new communities? What happens to those who have been left behind? How might you help others immigrating or migrating today? If you were forced to move, what would you do? What would you take with you?