Students consider ‘Cities of Refuge’

Posters made by students

In Spring 2018, the Cities of Refuge team was expanded with 13 senior students from University College Roosevelt. They looked into various aspects of the way in which local authorities receive and integrate refugees and came up with some interesting findings. In studying four small communities in Italy, for instance, Yenny Paola d’Abramo found that both civil society and the local administration can be the driving forces behind extra efforts in this field. Focusing on voluntary organization in Berlin, Ashley Bruce developed a classification of organizations working for, with and about refugees. In another paper Elisa Eigenhuijsen considered whether Turkey could indeed be considered as a safe third country.

The majority of students, however, did field research in Zeeland, a rural province that consists of 13 municipalities. Here, Jasper Valent set out the key role of the region in emergency reception, and the need for a multi-level understanding of these processes.

Posters made by students

In another study of the governance of migration, Faye Bovelander pointed at the ‘shifts in governance’, the outsourcing of key tasks to corporations and its consequences. Such shifts in governance, the students found, also lead to marked differences between municipalities. Maike de Haas, for instance, focused on the difference relevance of human rights for practice in the municipalities of Middelburg and Tholen. Students also did a number of domain-specific studies. In the field of housing, Erica Con ethnographically set out the impact of the many different organizations involved. Where it concerns work, Evie Thomas, for instance, emphasized how there is a tension between the requirements of the Dutch Participation Act and the needs in the field of integration. Wendy Krijgsman, additionally, described how the emphasis is strongly on labour market integration, and how this can impact well-being negatively.

Posters made by students

Concerning education, Nienke Raaijmakers concluded that there are marked differences between municipalities. In looking into the way in which different municipalities interpret the need for refugees to sign a ‘participation declaration’, Emma Leenders described how pragmatism becomes much more important than principles. In a participatory music project, also described in a blog, Tara Reece set out how asylum seeker centres are zones of liminality, and how difficult it is for volunteers to engage in a sustained manner. Thomas Hitchcock, finally, investigated the impact of encounters with refugees upon attitudes of the people of Zeeland, only to find that such an effect was not there.

The student work was displayed during UCRs Capstone day, and those interested in the final papers can always contact vici@ucr.nl