Announcement winners seed money-proposals fall 2021

This fall eight projects have been awarded seed money by the Focus Area Migration and Societal Change. All projects bring different migration scholars together across various disciplines. There is a wide variety in topics studies and formats chosen to present the work. We proudly present the eight selected projects to you that will kick-start in 2022. Congratulations to all the winners!


Meeting across the table? Producing and negotiating public spaces through migrant food practices
Dr. Sara Brouwer (UU), Prof. Ajay Bailey (UU), Dr. Manpreet Janeja (UU), Dr. Natasha Webster (Stockholm University)
Food can narrate what integration means and for whom. For migrants, food practices are a visceral part of the migration process, of their sense of belonging and of their complex routes towards integration. This seed money project will examine what role urban food practices play in everyday integration and transformation processes of migrants in cities. It will also address how migrants, through food practices and materialities, produce and negotiate the nature of urban public spaces. The project will involve preliminary research, a public event in the Utrecht neighbourhood Lombok and various workshops to build a research consortium on migration, food and the city.

Unspoken stories
Dr. Magdalena Bobowik
In this project, researchers from Interdisciplinary Social Science will implement an exhibition-based field experiment in collaboration with a non-governmental organization Refugee.Today, a web portal bringing focus on refugees’ stories in sound and image. The research team will employ portraits of refugees taken by photographer Martin Thaulow to test the effects of different types of images and stories on solidarity with refugees in a setting of a real photography exhibition. This initiative will provide innovative methods for measuring and activating prosocial behavior and will create synergy between social science, arts, and activism in human rights.

Forgotten’ histories of Jewish migration in Volendam, the Netherlands
Dr. Willy Sier
This project focuses on constructions of history and social identity in Volendam, where research conducted by the local museum has recently revealed that part of the town’s inhabitants are descendants of Jewish migrants who fled Portugal in the 17th century. It uses (visual) ethnographic methods to investigate how the social identity of the migrants, who were first defined by their religion as Jewish migrants and later by their trade as fishermen, has been constructed, reconstructed, and deconstructed throughout time, and relates these processes to contemporary narratives about nationalism and belonging.

Hope and nostalgia and the inclusiveness of European societies
Dr. Anouk Smeekes
As a reaction to rapid societal changes related to globalization and migration, two emotional discourses have recently been identified in European politics: hope and nostalgia. While both emotions are embedded in timely and seemingly opposing left vs. right-wing political discourses, we know little about the impact of these group-based emotions of hope and nostalgia on the inclusiveness of European societies. The key objective of this project is to investigate when group-based hope and nostalgia have positive or negative consequences for attitudes and behaviors towards immigrant and ethnic out-groups.

Visualising migration and local development in European non-urban contexts: an explorative research
Dr. Bianca Szytniewski (UU), Dr. Melissa Moralli (University of Bologna), Dr. Alberto Alonso-Fradejas (UU) and Dr. Marlies Meijer (UU).
The project intends to visualise the narratives of migration and local development in shrinking regions through a process of co-construction with locals in different shrinking localities across Europe. Inspired by the WELCOMING SPACES project, it aims to visualise and analyse the concepts of “welcoming” and “unwelcoming” together with local residents – migrant newcomers and long-term residents – in shrinking regions in the Netherlands, Germany, Poland, Spain and Italy. In all five countries, a workshop will be organized in which the participants are guided to explore their local surroundings and visualise their understanding of “welcoming” and “unwelcoming” through photography. Once these narratives are co-constructed and collectively discussed with the participants, the researchers will make a selection of the visuals together with the participants for both a live exhibition and a digital one. With the exhibitions, the aim is to amplify the voice of local communities, connect rural and urban contexts on migration and local development, and stimulate the collective discussion on what the researchers consider as welcoming spaces in Europe.

Family Rights, Routes and Roots: transnational elderly care practices of (former) refugees and their stayed-behind (grand)parents
Sara Miellet
Sara Miellet’s project “Family Rights, Routes and Roots” will develop a grant proposal on transnational elderly care practices of former refugees and ‘stayed-behind’ (grand)parents. The project zooms in on the perspectives of former refugees (after naturalization) on challenges to the right to family life and drawing on arrival infrastructure approaches, on families’ collective imaginings of ‘new becomings’. A public event (workshop) will be organised in the fall of 2022 to bring together insights from digital migration studies, arrival infrastructure approaches and socio-legal research on this topic.

Sensing the postcolonial migrant body: Bodily transformations in migrant Amsterdam, London, and Delhi
Dr. Manpreet K. Janeja
This project investigates societal changes as mediated through sensory transformations of the postcolonial migrant body in migrant receiving urban landscapes. Positioned as a multi-sited ethnographic inquiry, the project explores the (re)making of gendered postcolonial bodies in cities such as Amsterdam, London, and Delhi. It draws on a team of interdisciplinary scholars from the disciplines of anthropology, history, and sociology, based at the Universities of Utrecht, Amsterdam, and Oxford, and working at the intersection of food and gender studies, urban and religious studies, postcolonial and race studies, labour and migration studies. By focusing on the sites and practices of bodily transformations in colonial and postcolonial centres of power, this year-long pilot project aims to offer insights that are crucial to understanding wider societal changes of identity and belonging, especially vis-a-vis migration.

System knowledge and healthcare behaviour
Dr. Verena Seibel and Dr. Jelena Arsenijevic
In this project migrants' knowledge about the organization, eligibility criteria, and access to Dutch healtchare will be examined. By collecting data among Turkish migrants in Rotterdam, the main knowledge gaps regarding healthcare will be identified and examined, whether lack of healthcare knowledge is a cause for critical attitudes towards healthcare services, including COVID vaccinations. Last, but not least, the project hopes to provide answer to the question to what extend healthcare knowledge can facilitate migrants' access to Dutch healthcare.