Dr. Sara Miellet MSc, MA

Public Governance and Management

I am political geographer and migration researcher with an interest in local rights-based responses to forced migration. Currently, I am a postdoctoral researcher in the Welcoming Spaces Programme. Within this project, I focus on citizen initiatives and migrant organisations in rural and marginalised regions in the Netherlands, Germany and Poland. I am particularly interested in how community-based initiatives mitigate thresholds to social inclusion.

I completed my PhD within the Cities of Refuge project (2017-2022), which examined the relevance of human rights as law, praxis and discourse for local approaches to refugee reception and inclusion. Empirically, my research focused on Dutch and German municipalities. My PhD investigated why and how Dutch and German municipal actors engage with human rights in the context of forced migration, and through what encounters and spaces human rights-based responses to forced migration develop. The emphasis, therefore, is on various political contestations and actors, rather than everyday processes.
Some of my earlier research projects (2015-2017) focused on analyzing refugees' (re)settlement experiences in Dutch small towns and cities. Another project focused on refugees' reflections on the potential of digital and social media to resolve spatial and temporal uncertainties that result from particular modes of refugee reception governance, such as dispersal policies. I hold a MA in Social and Political Thought from the University of Sussex (UK) and also have a background in Urban Geography and Migration Studies (MSc, Utrecht University). As part of my postgraduate research, I worked on a participatory digital media research project 'From Refugee to Resident' together with peers and friends from Eritrea and Syria.