Interview and visual layout by Liene Ulmane, Student Assistant at MIX – The Centre for Displacement, Migration and Integration
Could you tell me about the purpose of the upcoming MIX conference in Aalborg?
The purpose of the conference is to try to expand what normally is thought of as migration research. There is a tendency to think about migration as something that is primarily studied within the humanities and social science. We felt a need to try to expand this! This is why we are moving out of these disciplinary silos and trying to see what happens if we ask a different set of questions - around energy, architecture, planning, health, and design processes.
Why interdisciplinary dimension is important for MIX?
It's necessary to realize that MIX has always been interdisciplinary! Something that has transcended some of the migration research that we've seen elsewhere, which is either legal or focusing on politics, identities, and languages. What we've tried to do is to think of them altogether. I think this is one of the great strengths of Aalborg University - this ability to think interdisciplinary. It goes into our pedagogical principles, but also into our research. So interdisciplinarity has always been at the core of MIX.
Something happens when we start asking questions beyond the social sciences and humanities.
~ Steffen Bo Jensen
But something happens when we start asking questions beyond the social sciences and humanities. One of the things that I've noticed while discussing with people and planning this conference is that often when you go into design studies or architecture, suddenly, solutions come to the center of attention. Suddenly it becomes important how we solve things! We within politics know that everything is about politics. But sometimes there are other ways of dealing with this. We're thinking about how do you design the process that actually is inclusive? What kind of urban planning is necessary? How can we use energy production in a way that is beneficial both to prevent migration, but also mitigate some of the consequences of displacement?
So is the main goal of the conference to come up with a list of new solutions?
I think that it’s probably a bit too ambitious to try to think that we can solve the issue of migration and displacement and integration issues globally. But I think that maybe we could start having a different kind of conversation! First of all at Aalborg University, but also beyond. I think that we within the social sciences and humanities can learn something from the kinds of approaches that are being applied elsewhere, but also I think and hope that they may learn something from us in relation to the difficulties of solutions. I think sometimes when you are within the social sciences, you realize that many of the technical solutions become technical fixes to social and political problems. And maybe we can help them understand, the kinds of issues that are at stake when we implement different kinds of solutions. And also, the other way around - we sometimes need to be reminded that there are possible solutions to complex problems.
I think sometimes when you are within the social sciences, you realize that many of the technical solutions become technical fixes to social and political problems. And maybe we can help them understand, the kinds of issues that are at stake when we implement different kinds of solutions.
~ Steffen Bo Jensen
Who is invited to participate in the conference?
Everybody can come to the conference, we are trying to make it very inclusive in the sense of making it more dialogical than a heavy academic conference! What this moment demands is for us to talk together and share possible solutions across the different disciplines. A dialogue before heavy lecturing.
The MIX Conference: Displacement, migration and integration – out of the silo” will be held on 6-7 June 2023 in Nordkraft, Aalborg. Register for the event (deadline for registration 26 May 2023).