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Clémence LEHEC, winner of the 2020 Academic Thesis Award

Clémence LEHEC is the winner of the Academic Thesis Award 2020 with 7 other PhDs for her thesis presented in 2019 and entitled "An experimental geography of art at the borders. To film the Palestinian refugee camp graffitis in Dheisheh". The academic thesis prizes were awarded to eight Doctors using criteria of excellence specific to each discipline and represented by the 13 doctoral schools on site.
Winner of the 2020 Academic Thesis Award: Clémence LEHEC

Clémence LEHEC, lauréate du prix de thèse académique 2020Thesis title: An experimental geography of art at the borders. To film the Palestinian refugee camp graffitis in Dheisheh

Doctoral school: ED SHPT - Human, Political and Territorial Science

Host laboratory: Pacte, social sciences laboratory (Pacte - CNRS / UGA / Political Sciences Grenoble-UGA)

Thesis supervisors: Anne-Laure AMILHAT SZARY and Frédéric GIRAUT (joint supervisor with the University of Geneva – Switzerland)

Key words: experimentation, graffiti, borders, Palestine, refugee camps

The thesis author presents this work comprising text (illustrated with photographs and above all, graffiti) and a documentary co-directed with a Palestinian filmmaker, Tamara Abu Laban entitled "The Walls of Dheisheh (36 min)".

This dissertation focuses on graffiti and borders in a Palestinian refugee camp, i.e. Dheisheh camp, located in Bethlehem, in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. A formal and experimental research is proposed, involving documentary film production and scientific writing. Through a study of figurative elements painted on walls, the dissertation contributes to updating current knowledge of Palestinian popular imagery. It also questions, in an original way, representations of the border within a marginal space. The analysis of the network of relevant actors and their motivations to paint allows to understand the specificities of the Palestinian graffiti movement from a diachronic perspective that draws its ontology. The production and co-direction of the documentary Les murs de Dheisheh makes it possible to stage reflections on graffiti, their authors and the borders that cross the camp, while continuously proposing a reflection on the original methodology used. From an extradisciplinary perspective, this dissertation in experimental geography offers an epistemological reflection on how geographical knowledge is produced by advocating a collaborative ethic that is seen as an alternative to participatory model. The experimental dimension of the dissertation unfolds at each stage of the research process since the documentary makes it possible to carry out in a single object: survey method, data collection and final result. Documenting and analysing the borders through the lens of Palestinian graffiti in Dheisheh makes it possible to bring border studies towards a feminist geopolitical perspective that defines the camp space as being crossed by mobile front lines and Damocles’ borders, placing bodies at the heart of the control process set up by the Israeli occupation.

> Discover all the winners of 2020 Thesis Awards

Updated on June 3, 2020


The College and the doctoral schools (except Philo) moved on September 1st, 2020 to join the Maison Jean Kuntzmann at 110 rue de la Chimie 38400 Saint-Martin-d'Hères on the University Campus (Tram B and C, stops "Bibliothèques universitaires").
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