UNIC stands for Unexpected Inclusions: Migration, Mobility and the Open City

UNIC’s main objective is to analyse the self-organisation of migrant associations, independent civil society initiatives and established ritualised practices of inclusion in the city that occur outside formal migration and integration policies and that improve the dynamics of belonging, exchange, cooperation and interactions between the established and newcomers.

Through an empirical analysis of one Japanese and seven European cities’ experiences and practices, we will critically assess forms of self-organisation and rituals to help inform policymakers and civil society organisations on how to improve their receiving strategies for newcomers and how to manage the coexistence (exchange, cooperation, interactions) of differences in the city:

  • First, we will focus on experiences of organised welcome groups, their efficiency, efficacy and impact;
  • Second, we will analyse and evaluate the role that self-organised migrant groups play in the inclusion of newcomers;
  • Third, we will assess how cities’ ritualised urban events, memory and values contribute to the inclusion of newcomers.

Methodologically, our research is based on a comparative analysis of European cities with different migration histories, which makes it easier to produce, verify and falsify hypotheses, and on a qualitative approach that places the coproduction of knowledge at the centre of the data generation. This qualitative approach will be complemented by small, city-based surveys on newcomers’ inclusion experiences and a contextual policy analysis.

The dissemination of the research project will occur through the classical channels of communication as well as an interactive multi-agent web platform, short web based films and a social media plan.

The political and practical orientation is guaranteed through the inclusion of all stakeholders in the production of the analysis and formulation of recommendations. This inclusive process also reinforces the transdisciplinary orientation of the proposed research.

Acronym: UNIC. Keywords: Inclusion/Exclusion, Rituals, Migration, Mobility, Refugees, Urban Dynamics, Migrant Associations, Civil Society Organisations, Self-Organisation

Research group: Marco Martiniello (CEDEM, Université de Liège), Shannon Damery (CEDEM, Université de Liège), Alice Clarebout (CEDEM, Université de Liège), Sandro Cattacin(IRS, UniGe), Fiorenza Gamba (IRS, UniGe), Nerea Viana Alzola (IRS, UniGe)

This project is financed by the Swiss and Belgian National Science Foundations.

Access to the UNIC survey in the eight cities (until August 2023)









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Past events

Forum de recherche 2021 Ville et créativité