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BIRMM research seminar with Louise Hantson and Laura Westerveen

Location: Hybrid: Online & Pleinlaan 5
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Presentation of WholeCOMM project findings by Louise Hantson and Laura Westerveen

Louise Hantson and Laura Westerveen will present preliminary findings from the Whole-COMM project. Whole-COMM is a Horizon Europe 2020 project that explores the integration of post-2014 migrants in small and medium-sized towns and rural areas. The project studies the integration of these migrants through a Whole-of-Community perspective. The Whole-of-Community perspective conceives of migrant integration as an open-ended process that involves interactions between multiple actors – including citizens, long-term residents, and newly arrived migrants as well as state, market and civil society actors – and that takes place in specific local contexts. The Whole-COMM project is a collaboration between 12 partner organizations, coordinated by Collegio Carlo Alberto, Italy. The BIRMM-VUB team participates in several work packages and conducted fieldwork in 4 small and medium-sized towns in Belgium. You can read more about the project in the BIRMM Spotlight or on the project website.


In the presentation, the main findings of the ongoing Whole-COMM project will be presented, focusing on comparisons between the four small to medium-sized towns in Belgium (two in Flanders and two in Wallonia). These findings are based on interviews with local stakeholders and post-2014 migrants, data collected through focus groups, as well as on grey literature analysis. First, they will present the results of work package 3 that focuses on the migrant integration initiatives and frames that have been developed since 2014 at the local level. Second, they will present the results of work package 4, which explores post-2014 migrants’ access to housing, employment, and other relevant services. In particular, the obstacles that migrants encounter in getting access to these resources and the role that different actors (such as the local government, civil society actors, and social service providers) play in facilitating or hindering their access will be addressed. Finally, they will present the results of work package 5, which studies factors that contribute to positive or negative experiences with post-2014 migrants’ settlement in small and medium-sized towns. More specifically, they discuss the role that specific local contexts can play in shaping individual attitudes, social relations, and consequently migrant integration experiences in the towns in question.

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