Dreaming up North: Children on the Move Across the Americas was a special exhibition in honor of Migration at El Museo del Barrio, revolving around testimonies (in graphic, oral and written form) of immigrant children moving across the Americas. Collected by a team of six anthropologists and three photographers, each working separately, the exhibition depicted migrant children from Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Ecuador, and Nicaragua. Dreaming up North draws upon interviews and workshops developed in humanitarian shelters, detention centers and transit areas within children’s hometowns and their new homes in the United States. Themes covered include: Mexico’s internal child migration and repatriation, transnational child migration from as far as Ecuador, the daily lives of migrant children in the US, and children’s future migration plans.

Dreaming up North aims to highlight the migrant children experience, in order to foster opportunities to understand this transnational phenomenon through their own voices and memories. By doing this we hope to contribute to a more complex and nuanced view of child migration. Such a view recognizes the tremendous suffering, stress, and danger that migrant children experience, but also illustrates that migrant children are not mere victims, being moved around by criminals or feckless parents. Instead, it argues that their mobility is also a result of the decisions and actions children take in order to shape their own futures in the face of failed national policies, insufficient international mechanisms of support and growing global inequality. When children migrate, they are claiming a human right, they are going home to their parents after many years apart, they are looking for an income that will provide their siblings with the opportunities they didn’t have, they are resisting gangs and drug cartels’ strategies of fear and domination. They are challenging our understanding of childhood, innocence, dependency, agency, citizenship, geography and time. They are asking us to reshape our conventional perceptions to be able to create a better, more understanding world, where borders aren’t walls that keep us apart, but spaces for new possibilities and learning.


Dreaming up North: Children on the Move Across the Americas is presented by El Museo del Barrio, in collaboration with Colectiva Infancias, and a network of social anthropologists and photographers.

Coordination and assembly: Valentina Glockner | Script and museography: Soledad Álvarez and Valentina Glockner | Research: Ana Luz Minera, Cinthya Santos, Sandra Guillot, Sarah Gallo, Soledad Álvarez Velasco, Tamara Segura, Valentina Glockner | Photographic documentation: Cinthya Santos, Katie Orlinsky, Luis Enrique Aguilar, Valentina Glockner | Map design: Elvira Morán, with information from Soledad Álvarez, Tamara Segura, Valentina Glockner | Comics: Javier Beverido

In honor and thanks to the knowledge and trust of: Migrant children and adolescents working in agricultural fields in Chihuahua, Morelos and Michoacán, held at the Tapachula detention center in Chiapas, in transit at the shelters of Ixtepec, Oaxaca and Tenosique, Tabasco, and returned to the home communities of their families in Puebla, Mexico.

The exhibition is based on the experience of children and adolescents from Guatemala, Mexico, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Ecuador and the United States. The testimonies exposed are transcriptions of the narratives obtained during the research work and photographic documentation.