Rima is an anthropological and artistic project born in 2014 aiming at exploring the multifaceted aspects of migration and exile through a series of creative and multidisciplinary initiatives, in collaboration with Maltese and foreign artists and scholars, and the migrants themselves.

In all the initiatives, the stories collected together with their anthropological and artistic outcome, have retraced a lost continuity between ‘homeland’ and present daily life, using both the migrants’ own voices and a fruitful collaboration with experts from artistic and academic fields.

The first phase of the project focused mainly on the collection and recording of narratives of displaced people about their singular experience as well as the need of reconstructing a sense of home anew. In 2015 there was the first edition of a very successful film festival showcasing only movies directed by migrants in collaboration with Archivio Memorie Migranti (6-7th November); while in 2016 a series of theatrical workshops (already started in autumn 2015) led to a fully booked final performance (26-27th February 2016) with Maltese and non-Maltese actors ; finally the narratives and images collected were compelled in book “Undertow. Poetics of displacement” published with EDEBooks (Malta). The book launch was an event in itself with an immersive installation using words, artefacts and threads in the garden of Villa Frere, Pietà (16th June 2016).


The Team

Elise Billiard holds a Ph.D in Anthropology from the University of Aix-Marseille. She has also exhibited her photographs and installations in Germany, France, Romania and Malta. In 2012, she published, with photographer David Pisani, a collaborative research project on Valletta’s City Gate entitled “Transit”. They also published another photographic project on Paceville and its public spaces, entitled “Night&Day”. Dr. Elise Billiard lectures at University of Malta.

Sarah Mallia  is a cultural producer who holds a Masters degree in Migration, Mobility and Development from the University of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London. She is interested in creatively communicating issues around identity and social justice, and has a particular fascination on social movements and culture in East Africa. She works in Malta and Kenya. 

Virginia Monteforte is a social anthropologist and a photographer. Her work deals with social memory, politics, material culture, migration and literature in the Mediterranean. She studied at the Faculty of Arts and Philosophy at La Sapienza in Rome and then at the EHESS, École des hautes études en sciences sociales (iiAC - LAIOS) in Paris where she got a Ph.D in Social Anthropology and Ethnology. She has also worked in literary publishing and literary translation.