project & teams

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Migration debates are often exploited by right-wing populists to promote agendas of xenophobia and Euroscepticism. There is an urgent need for such toxic fallout to be studied in the wider context of the European public sphere, where centripetal narratives of integration compete with centrifugal narratives of disintegration, threatening to undermine established narrative ecologies. Proceeding from a crucial distinction between narratives on migration (i.e. research reports, policy papers, and other forms of knowledge about refugees and migrants) and narratives of migration (i.e. testimonials and life stories), we theorize narrative dynamics in both old and new media.

Our goal is to provide a strategic solution to a systemic problem: How can we create a less toxic debate, based on multiperspectivity, polyphony, and an ethics of listening? The answer to this challenge lies in the innovative concept of a Level Telling Field, a mechanism designed to ensure fair play in narratives on migration.

Team Pink collaborates with all other Teams. We provide theoretical advice, offer conceptual services, help to develop the project’s methodology, and participate in the dissemination of results. Team Pink is led by the scientific coordinator of OPPORTUNITIES, Roy Sommer, with the assistance of Carolin Gebauer (University of Wuppertal / BUW).

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Team Brown develops and operationalizes a Cross-Talk methodology that serves to establish a fair dialogue in cross-cultural encounters between migrants, citizens, and stakeholders.

Our notion of a fair conversation is based on the principles of multiperspectivity, perspective taking, and an ethics of listening, empowerment, and recognition.

The Cross Talks are designed to create equal level telling fields on local levels. Team Brown consists of all partners who will organize Cross-Talk events in their country: Beweging.net (Belgium), CNCA (Italy), GRDR (France and Mauritania), IFZ (Austria), UGB-GERM (Senegal), University of Ghana (Ghana), REAPN (Portugal), and TON (Roumania).

Team Brown is led by Michel Debruyne from Beweging.net, who is also the general coordinator of OPPORTUNITIES.

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Team Red conducts quantitative and qualitative research to analyse citizens’ attitudes on migration.

The main objective of our analyses is twofold: First, we aim to provide an analysis of changing attitudes of citizens towards migrants in Europe from a dynamic perspective. Secondly, we seek to develop a more comprehensive understanding of the cumulative effects and consequences of media selection behaviour on individual attitudinal outcomes when adopting narratives on migration. In order to achieve these goals, we will analyze both publicly available comparative data and survey data that are collected in the framework of the project.

More specifically, Team Red will as a first step investigate and discuss the changes in the perception of migrants and attitudes towards migration between 2002 and 2018, using the European Social Survey (ESS) data. As a second step, we will conduct an online survey among the adult population to determine to what extent the consumption of certain media correlates with certain beliefs about migrants. We will furthermore focus on how leading politicians feel about migration and examine links between them. The results will be published in reports, scientific articles, and policy briefs.

Team Red is a collaboration of KU Leuven, BUW, and UGent, with KU Leuven being the main partner responsible for the quantitative and qualitative analyses of attitudes on migration.

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Team Green studies the forms, functions and effects of narrative framing in migration discourses in a number of European countries (Austria, Germany, Hungary, and Italy) as well as two African countries of origin (Ghana and Senegal).

Our specific focus is on narrative representations of migrants and refugees across media, e.g. news media (TV and newspapers), social media, and political programs. How is narrative deployed to frame immigration, represent migrant experiecences, and create public images of migration? The main focus will be on representations of the so-called refugee crisis.
Our qualitative approach builds on the narrative analysis of migration discourses; comparing the use of narrative framing across national contexts will reveal shared templates and ideologies but also significant differences in the ways in which national narratives negotiate migration.

The main output will be a special issue of the journal DIEGESIS, an interdisciplinary e-journal for narrative research. Marco Caracciolo from UGent will coordinate the work of Team Green and will collaborate with Simona Adinolfi on the analysis of migration narratives in the Italian context. Other partners involved are BUW, CNCA, GRDR, IFZ, UGB, and University of Ghana.

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Team Yellow establishes a series of Cross Talks to create fair dialogue zones for migrants, citizens, and stakeholders, both in European member states (Austria, Belgium, France, Italy, Portugal, Romania) and African countries (Ghana, Mauritania, Senegal).  During these Cross-Talk events we will be experimenting with the conditions and rules of level telling fields, seeking to establish more inclusive narratives on migration within local communities.

Team Yellow forms the heart of the OPPORTUNITIES project. In every participating country a local team will experiment with the Cross-Talks methodology. The partners involved in the Cross Talks are beweging.net (Belgium), CNCA (Italy), GRDR (France and Mauritania), IFZ (Austria), TON (Romania), UGB-GERM (Senegal), and University of Ghana (Ghana).

Team Yellow is led by the general project coordinator Michel Debruyne.

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Team Orange seeks to upscale the idea of new narratives of opportunities that are based on a fair dialogue on migration and integration from local to national and European levels by two means: by creating art-based formats to be presented in the participating countries as well as by transforming the notions of a Level Telling Field into a touring theatre production performed by KVS Brussels.

Team Orange is central to the dissemination activities of the OPPORTUNITIES project. In each participating country a local team will upscale the Cross-Talks by transforming the results of these narrative events into art-based formats such as short films, public readings, or public exhibitions. The partners participating in this creative process are beweging.net (Belgium), CNCA (Italy), GRDR (France and Mauritania), IFZ (Austria), UGB-GERM (Senegal), University of Ghana (Ghana), TON (Romania).

KVS Brussels, a leading European theatre company, will moreover increase the visibility and outreach of the Cross Talks to a wider audience by developing a touring stage production which promotes the idea of “fair play” as a necessary step towards a more inclusive narrative on migration.

Team Orange is led by Michel Debruyne, the general coordinator of OPPORTUNITIES.

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Team purple is responsible for communicating and promoting the findings and results of the OPPORTUNITIES project to a broader public. Our dissemination strategy pursues three main objectives which involve both policy-related and academic purposes.

The first objective of our dissemination strategy is to raise public awareness of the urgent need for more inclusive narratives on migration as well as to promote the principles of a fair dialogue on immigration and integration.

Our second objective is to articulate policy recommendations based on the findings of our theoretical and practical research. Our target audiences include a) policy communities and politicians at national level, b) European Union institutions and policy practitioners at EU level; c) migrant communities in states of destination, transit, and origin as well as leaders of ethnic communities; d) civil society actors, NGOs at all levels, religious organisations, and media communities and organisations; and e) the public in selected EU member states and African states.
The third objective of our project’s dissemination strategy is to advance academic knowledge and to disseminate the findings of OPPORTUNITIES through academic activities, including talks and publications.

We hope that this wide range of promotional activity will serve to initiate a conversation across the boundaries between public policy, education, and art in order to establish a new narrative agenda that is inspired by the notion of a Level Telling Field introduced in our project.

Team Purple is led by Dora Kostakopoulou from KULeuven, who is assisted by Mahmood Messkoub from EUR and Sofie Put from beweging.net. All other partners of OPPORTUNITIES (BUW, CNCA, GRDR, IFZ, TON, REAPN, UGB-GERM, UGent, University of Ghana) are also contributing to the dissemination of the project.

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Team Blue is responsible for project management, financial administration, and the periodic reporting to the European Commission. It moreover ensures that the project meets the guidelines of the European Commission’s Gender Equality Strategy.

Team Blue is lead by the general coordinator, Michel Debruyne, the scientific coordinator, Roy Sommer, and the project manager, Sofie Put.
Team Blue is also responsible for the project’s Ethics Committee, which is led by the project manager, Sofie Put. Members of the Ethics Committee include partners from beweging.net, BUW, GRDR, KULeuven, and UGent.