Department of Politics and Society

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Under the motto

Responsibility and participation

Under the motto "Out of the Silo", the MIX mobilized the resources of the AAU to share insights on the topics of displacement, migration, and integration. For this purpose, various speakers from different disciplines were invited. The academics shared their perspectives on possible problems we face on the topic of migration. The aim was to understand the difficulties that people with a migration background might face and to take the respective discussions out of their limited space.

Last modified: 15.06.2023

Text by Gesa Schaffrath, AAU Student
Photo by Liene Ulmane, Student Assistant at MIX – The Centre for Displacement, Migration and Integration

To make the issues regarding migration that we are facing visible, we need to include cross-disciplinary views. At the MIX conference, these were given by scholars who specialized in fields such as Law, mental/physical Health, and Social Sciences. The event included speeches on responsibility sharing, inclusive cities, urban rhetorics, community engagement, and the city of sanctuary. The second part of the first day focused on the physical and mental health of refugees. Both speaking blocks were rounded off with a panel discussion each.

During the first half of the day, Prof. Jesper Lindholm gave insights into the meaning and limitations of responsibility sharing: Current agreements such as the UNHCR Refugee Convention are not legally binding - bottom-up approaches could help to effectively improve the situation for migrants where needed. From this rather large scale, the following presentations showed how these bottom-up approaches could look like not-for-profit Housing Associations like in Denmark offering the chance to democratize the housing market and thus facilitate the search for housing. Using the example of Copenhagen, Erin McClellan showed how urban rhetorics, i.e. the adornment with the title “the greenest city in Europe” shape our self-understanding and distracts from relevant issues, such as de-growth to achieve sustainability. The contributions about community engagement and cities of sanctuary showed that the involvement of the population in housing issues and the planning of living spaces is necessary. The moral obligation and thus the professionalization of civic engagement can help to renegotiate relationships and possibly help to achieve common goals.

After a lunch break and personal exchange on the enriching contribution, the second part of the event started off with short speeches on an equally multifaceted subject complex: the health issues that migrated people meet. Again, shared responsibilities were a topic. Shared decision-making can help to negotiate some common issues that need to be addressed. People who migrate often end up in a country whose language they do not speak. In the health sector, the dependency and vulnerability that comes with this can be very harmful mentally. A contribution to Trauma and mental health issues illustrated this: Research on Trauma-patients can help to find solutions such as a definition of proper and timely treatment. Generally, health is a contributive topic. To motivate people to take care of themselves, they need to be integrated instead of patronized, i.e. health promotion programs need to be introduced. Again, the following penal discussion showed that not only the listeners but also the scholars gained enriching new perspectives from the various contributors.

The heavy issues that were raised on that day left the participants with thoughts but also many solutions. Participants were shown the different levels of approach to migration and people who have migrated. Tackling the current problems caused by migration is a joint project, carried out by states, but also in bottom-up approaches by communities. One thing has also become clear: A paradigm shift towards awareness of a moral duty to collectively search for solutions to problems of migration must be the first necessary step to be taken socially. Then a solution will be within reach.

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Department of Politics and Society • Fibigerstræde 1 og 3, 9220 Aalborg East • Frederikskaj 10B, 2450 Copenhagen SV
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