Endlessly changing irrigation spaces: a multi-sited exhibition to reimagine proximities between Khartoum and Padua


  • Mariasole Pepa Department of Historical and Geographic Sciences and the Ancient World, University of Padua, Italy


This article explores the process, also in emotional terms, of setting up a multi-site photographic exhibition in Khartoum and Padua, in the context of the outbreak of the war in Sudan, as a creative way to promote research dissemination. The multi-site exhibition emerged from a long tradition of research, between geographers at the University of Khartoum and the University of Padua, on the reconfiguration of irrigation spaces in Sudan. An “exploration” of the exhibition is presented with a discussion of a few important themes that emerged from the fieldwork. The article examines multi-site visual dissemination as a useful tool to reduce proximities and create new connections between places. Moreover, it reflects on the potentiality of photo exhibitions as a creative way to make research findings more accessible to a non-academic audience, and so to cross academic borders.


Behar R., The Vulnerable Observer: Anthropology that breaks your heart, Boston, Beacon Press, 2022.

Bertoncin M. and Pase A., “Geographical proximity questioned”, in Torre A. and Gallaud D. (Eds.), Handbook on Proximity relations, Edward Elgar, 2022, pp. 204-219.

Bertoncin M., Pase A., Quatrida D., Geografie di prossimità. Prove sul terreno, Milan, FrancoAngeli, 2014.

Bertoncin M., Pase A., Quatrida D. and Turrini S., “At the junction between state, nature and capital: Irrigation megaprojects in Sudan”, Geoforum, 106, 2019, pp. 24-37.

Bertoncin M., Pase A. and Turrini S., “Water, land and Arab investments in irrigation projects: Continuity and innovation in Sudan”, in Bach J. (Ed.), Routledge Handbook on Horn of Africa, Oxon-New York, Routledge, 2022, pp. 657-669.

Berridge W.J., Makawi R., Lynch J. and De Waal A., Sudan’s unfinished democracy: the promise and betrayal of a people’s revolution. Oxford University Press, 2022.

Bignante E., Geografia e ricerca visuale. Strumenti e metodi, Roma-Bari, Laterza, 2011.

Bilgen A. and Uluğ Ö.M., “Some scholars are more equal than others: visa barriers, passport privilege, and global academic mobility”, Social Psychological Review, 24, 2, 2022, pp. 15-18.

Casciarri B., Assal M.A. M. and Ireton F., Multidimensional Change in Sudan (1989–2011): Reshaping Livelihoods, Conflicts and Identities, New York and Oxford, Berghahn Books, 2015.

Clark J.H., “With You, Time Flowed Like Water: Geographies of Grief across International Research Collaborations”, in Gillespie K. and Lopez P.J. (Eds.), Vulnerable Witness The politics of grief in the field, University of California Press, 2019.

El Melik R. and Abbas R., (Un)doing resistance. Authoritarianism and Attacks on the Arts in Sudan’s 30 Years of Islamist Rule, Sudan, Andariya, 2022.

England K.V.L., “Getting Personal: Reflexivity, Positionality, and Feminist Research”, The Professional Geographer, 46, 1994, pp. 80-89.

Falola T., Decolonizing African knowledge: autoethnography and African epistemologies, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2022.

Fuhrmann L.D. and Albaih K.W., Sudan Retold, Hirnkost, 2019.

Gay C., Landriève S. and Kovalevsky A.,

Mobile/Immobile. Artists and Researchers explore our ways of life, Paris, Lienart Editions, 2019.

Gertel J., Rottenburg R. and Calkins S., Disrupting territories: land, commodification & conflict in Sudan, Melton, James Currey, 2014.

Gillespie K. and Lopez P.J., Vulnerable Witness The politics of grief in the field, University of California Press, 2019.

Lancione M., Il Numero 1, Turin, Eris, 2011.

McMichael P., Food regimes and agrarian questions, Fernwood Publishing, 2014.

Moura M., Almeida P. and Geerts D., “A Video is Worth a Million Words? Comparing a Documentary with a Scientific Paper to Communicate Design Research”, Procedia Computer Science, 100, 2016, pp. 747-754.

Pase A. and Pepa M., “L’inferno all’improvviso. Testimonianze dal Sudan”, Una città, 2023, https://www.unacitta.it/ it/intervista/2905-linferno-allimprovviso.

Pepa M., “Cooperazione agricola Cina-Tanzania: innovazione o dipendenza?”, Rivista Geografica Italiana, 3, 2021, pp. 138-158.

Peterle G., “Story of a Mapping Process. The Origin, Design and Afterlives of the Street Geography Map”, J-READING (Journal of Research and Didactics in Geography), 2, 8, 2019, pp. 73-87.

Peterle G., Comics as a research practice. Drawing Narrative Geographies Beyond the Frame, Routledge, 2021.

Richardson P., Tolange D., Plummer A. and Kaufmann B.A., “Disrupting Patterns at the End of an Agricultural Research Project: Experiences with Community Cinema and Participatory Video”, GeoHumanities, 9,1, 2023, pp. 273-285.

Scott J.C, Seeing Like a State: How Certain Schemes to Improve the Human Condition Have Failed, Yale University Press, 1998.

School AGeI Cesarea Terme collective, “Where does this image take you?” A visual tale from a workshop on geographical imagination, J-READING (Journal of Research and Didactics in Geography), 2, 11, 2022, pp. 211-218.

Torre A., “On the Role Played by Temporary Geographical Proximity in Knowledge 116 Transmission”, Regional Studies, 42, 6, 2008, pp. 869-889.

Torre A., “Retour sur la notion de Proximité Géographique”, Géographie, Économie, Société, 11, 2009, pp. 63-75.

Torre A. and Gallaud D. (Eds.), Handbook on Proximity relations, Edward Elgar, 2022, pp. 204-219.

UNHCR, “Sudan Situation Report”, 2023, https://reliefweb.int/report/sudan/unhcr-sudan-situation-report-4-20-june-2023.

Von Benzon N., Holton M., Wilkinson C. and Wilkinson S. (Eds.), Creative methods for human geographers, Thousand Oaks, Sage, 2021.






The language of images (edited by Elisa Bignante and Marco Maggioli)