Listen: Learning from Intercultural Storytelling (Germany)

Applied ICDListen: Learning from Intercultural Storytelling (Germany).

The aim of LISTEN is to use “applied storytelling”, meaning storytelling without “professional” storytellers, in its many forms and functions as educational approach for the work with refugees – be it to support language learning, to exchange about cultural differences, to create visions etc.

In order to give refugees a voice in the receiving societies and to support their integration, LISTEN will explore different approaches to storytelling and how radio and other forms of audio broadcasting (e.g. podcasting) can be used as medium to share those stories.

Opera as a Way to Integrate Refugees (Germany)

Applied ICDBarone, J. (12 August 2018). A German opera spotlights the refugee crisis, with refugees. New York Times.

A performance of Moses, by the Bavarian State Opera’s youth program, written for refugees, children of immigrants and born-and-raised Bavarians, demonstrates how to integrate and welcome refugees while simultaneously giving them language skills and producing opera. “In the opera, a mixture of new music by Benedikt Brachtel and adapted excerpts from Rossini’s “Mosè in Egitto,” the teenagers tell the story of Moses — common ground for followers of the Bible, Torah and Quran — with Brechtian interludes about refugee experiences and current events.”

CFP Refugee Socialities & the Media

Publication OpportunitiesCFP: Refugee Socialities and the Media (A Special Issue for the journal Popular Communication)

Issue Editors: Jonathan Corpus Ong (U of Massachusetts) and Maria Rovisco (U of Leicester)

This special issue explores the ways in which diverse media and artistic genres cultivate social relationships with and among refugees and internally displaced populations. Building on political-economic studies of forced migration and critiques of humanitarian securitization in the European ‘refugee crisis’ response, this collection draws attention to the role of media and popular communication in shaping the affective dimension of the refugee experience and citizen response. While this collection engages with the dominant discourses that amalgamate fears about diverse migrant communities in Europe and North America, it invites deeper reflection on the social arrangements and emotional expressions afforded by a broader range of: popular communication genres, technological interventions, artistic spaces, and everyday media practices. The theme ‘Refugee Socialities and the Media’ thus redirects focus onto how popular media forms and mediated interactions materialize and visualize processes of inclusion and exclusion and create possibilities for coping and healing for refugees.

Continue reading “CFP Refugee Socialities & the Media”

Newcastle U Job: Professional Intercultural Communicative Competence

Job adsResearch Assistant/Associate in Professional Intercultural Communicative Competence for Refugee Professionals – B89444R. The post will be based in the Applied Linguistics and Communication section of the School of Education, Communication and Language Sciences at Newcastle University. Closes: 30th October 2017

You will play a central role in the success of an Erasmus+ Higher Education project on developing professional intercultural communication competence among refugees. You will contribute to research design, data collection and analysis, and liaison with project partners and participants in the UK, Austria and the Netherlands, including refugees and language teachers working with them. You will also contribute to project administration and management, under the supervision of the project Principal Investigator, and to the writing of project materials and research reports and peer-reviewed publications, as well as to dissemination of the project at seminars and conferences.

For this role we are seeking an experienced and professional researcher who will be a subject specialist in the area of education and intercultural communication.  You will also have a good knowledge of mixed methods research approaches.

A good Master’s degree in a relevant discipline (education, applied linguistics, languages) is essential, as is good knowledge of the fields of intercultural communication and language pedagogy. A PhD or equivalent significant relevant experience (either completed or close to completion) in a relevant discipline (for example, education, applied linguistics, modern languages, technology) is desirable.

You will be expected to take significant initiative in their work and to work closely with the Principal Investigator over the details of the project. You will also contribute, where practical, to teaching and teacher training related to professional intercultural communication competence.

The post is fixed term to 31.8.2019, and will be part-time at 40% FTE.

Click here for further details.


Open City Fellowships (Belgium)

FellowshipsMigration in Europe has preoccupied policymakers and administrations, and prompted enormous policy reform, yet refugees and migrants are themselves often excluded from this policy debate and formulation, particularly those in more recent refugee and migrant populations. The Open City Fellowship responds to this need by supporting the leadership of refugees and migrants in policy development that directly affect urban integration.

The Open City Fellowship in this first year, will offer five fellowships. Four fellowships will involve collaborations with partner cities: Amsterdam, Athens, Barcelona, and Berlin. The fifth fellowship will be based in Brussels with a partner that specializes in refugee and migration policy within the European Union.

The aim is to improve integration through stronger participation of and consultation with refugee and migrant communities. Over time, our ambition is that Open City Fellows will become a cohort of experienced and recognized leaders who represent refugee and migrant communities, benefitting the individual fellows and the community more broadly.

The Open Society Foundations will pay Open City Fellows a stipend, will provide some funding for fellowship-related travel, and may cover other fellowship-related expenses during the course of the fellowship. The Open Society Foundations will additionally provide training and leadership development opportunities for the fellows. Fellowships will be 12 months, with the possibility of extending for an additional six months.

Eligibility Criteria

Eligible applicants must meet the following criteria:

  • have a background as a refugee or migrant
  • demonstrate a commitment to improving the lives of the refugee or migrant community and their integration through, for example, work, volunteering, organizing, or other activities
  • possess strong relationships with refugee or migrant communities in the city in which they are applying, as demonstrated through membership or other involvement in a group, organization, NGO, board of an NGO, council, association, initiative, or activities designed to serve refugee or migrant communities
  • currently be based in one of the fellowship cities (and applying for a fellowship in that same city): Amsterdam, Athens, Barcelona, Berlin, or Brussels
  • be legally entitled to accept a fellowship in current city of residence and be permitted to travel within the European Union
  • demonstrate civil society leadership potential
  • bachelor’s degree is strongly preferred (preferably with accreditation in the city where the fellow is applying)
  • available to start the fellowship in January 2018
  • meet additional eligibility criteria that may be stipulated by the Open Society Foundations

Applicants must meet the following language proficiency requirements:

  • proficient in English at a minimum B2 level
  • proficiency in the language of the city where they are applying (German C1; Greek, Dutch, Spanish, or Catalan B2)
  • fluency in the language of a refugee or migrant community is strongly preferred
Ineligibility Criteria

The Open City Fellowship does not fund enrollment in an academic institution for degree or non-degree study. Full-time students will not be eligible.

Applications will be accepted until September 15, 2017. Shortlisted candidates will be contacted by early October, and will be interviewed later that month.

CFP Who Belongs? Immigrants, Refugees, Migrants

Publication OpportunitiesCall for Papers: Journal of Critical Thought and Praxis (Special Issue): Who Belongs? Immigrants, Refugees, Migrants, and Actions Towards Justice

Over the past year, both in the U.S. and Europe, far-right nationalist and white supremacist organizations have led a massive assault on the human rights of immigrants, refugees, and migrants, resulting in multiple acts of violence against individuals and communities and a general climate of fear. Notably, this assault has been supported by the most mainstream of political actors, ranging from elected officials in the U.S. who advocate for travel bans targeted at people who are Muslim and deportation raids targeted at the Latinx community to the racist and xenophobic political platforms of leading candidates for the highest of political offices in France and Austria. In this issue, we seek to engage this political landscape by asking the question: Who belongs? This question raises significant abstract issues, including: the legitimacy and construction of nationstates; theories of democratic governance and legal systems; notions of citizenship; intersections between racialized, gendered, and classed social identities; and, processes of imperialism and colonization. The question also raises significant issues that are more concrete, including: access to public resources (such as education, housing, and health care); policies and processes of “legal” documentation; activist and community mobilization; sanctuary cities; U.S. and European military intervention; the militarization of law enforcement in the U.S. and abroad; neoliberal economic policies; and, ongoing anti- and post- colonial struggles across the globe. We thus invite scholars and activists from a range of disciplinary and professional positions to submit work (research articles, conceptual essays, book reviews, and poems) that illuminates these and other issues that are central to political struggle for the rights of immigrants, refugees, and migrants.

Submission Timeline Deadline: Friday, September 1, 2017
Anticipated Publication: January 2018

 

Request for Information about Work with Refugees in EU

I received the following request for help in locating people who work with refugees in the EU. Please contact the author directly; his email is below.
I am Md Golam Nasibul Hoque, citizen of Bangladesh, pursuing my MA in Human Rights at the University of Padova, Italy. Right now, I am in a Erasmus Traineeship in the Law Faculty at Ghent University, Belgium for my thesis. Specifically, I am gathering information on initiatives taken to encourage intercultural dialogue with and for refugees in the EU. Thanks in advance for your time and consideration.
Md Golam Nasibul Hoque

Intercultural Communication or Post-Cultural Communication?

Guest Post by Paola Giorgis

Intercultural communication or post-cultural communication? Reflecting on mistakes in intercultural encounters

Some years ago, I worked with a total of about 350 refugees who, with the help of some radical activists, had become squatters, taking over an empty building which occupied almost an entire block. Most were from Somalia, Eritrea and Sudan; the majority were young men, a few women with children, and there were one or two couples with babies. A group of associations had gathered to offer help and, as an activist and volunteer in an association for human rights, I decided to participate. With the on-and-off support of the local Institutions (mainly town council and prefecture), the group of associations developed a project which had the goal of meeting basic needs – food, shelter, health care – and then organizing the integration of the refugees into the region through accommodation, language classes and vocational training courses. What I liked about this project was that its goal was not assistance, but rather creating a path to autonomy and independence. The first to be integrated were the women with their children, then the vulnerable males (young men with diseases or handicaps), and then all the rest. The project lasted for about one year, and at the end of that time, all the refugees were, more or less successfully, integrated and settled in the region.

Continue reading “Intercultural Communication or Post-Cultural Communication?”

CFP Uprooted – Refugees/Migrants/The Displaced (US)

Call for Papers
Uprooted—Refugees/Migrants/The Displaced: An International Multidisciplinary Conference—–9th International Conference on Transatlantic Studies
October 10-12, 2016
University of Central Missouri
Warrensburg, Missouri, USA

This multi-disciplinary international conference explores the diverse social justice issues involving refugees/ immigrants/ the displaced confronting both sides of the transatlantic world. Various conflicts throughout the world have led to multiple crises as refugee and displaced persons place demands on societies that are seen as vulnerable resulting in demands for greater security despite the critical humanitarian needs.  These crises continue to strain international and domestic politics.  The crises scattered throughout the world likely involve a symmetry of experiences and responses.  Many features might be held in common, many are likely unique.

This international multidisciplinary conference seeks to explore the diverse aspects of these intertwined issues, including definitions of terms, national and private level responses, social justice issues, impacted intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations, and international relations concerns.  The event will serve as a forum to allow participants to learn by comparison and through international dialog about these crises in international social justice.

The University of Central Missouri (USA) Departments of Criminal Justice and Government, International Studies, & Languages, and Sociology, Gerontology, & Cross-Disciplinary Studies in partnership with the Instituto Franklin Universidad de Alcala (Spain) and the Consortium for Transatlantic Studies & Scholarship invite papers on issues related to any aspect of Refugees/Migrants/The Displaced.  Papers are anticipated to derive from a variety of disciplines including but not limited to: communications, criminal justice, disaster management, history, international relations, international studies, journalism & media studies, legal/justice studies, philosophy, political science, psychology, safety sciences, sociology …. Comparative or international perspectives on these issues are encouraged.

The Conference organizers see a variety of topic areas that underlie the broad themes of current social justice crises involving Refugees/Migrants/The Displaced:
–       Public health
–       Homeland security
–       Refugee resettlement
–       Immigration enforcement
–       Human trafficking
–       Juvenile migrants
–       Women’s issues (violence, family impacts, etc)
–       Terrorism
–       Challenges to law enforcement/corrections
–       International coordination/partnerships
–       Border communities (effects of, response to)
–       Drugs (smuggling, abuse, trafficking)
–       Political context (public opinion, media studies, electoral issues)
–       Migration to areas in central US (Migration to the Midwest and plains states, suburbanization of migration/immigration)
–       Historical responses to mass migration
–       Asylum
–       Conflicts that lead to these crises
–       Impact of Climate Change

To submit proposal/abstract of paper use the form provided on the website.  Proposals are due August 15, 2016.  Papers will be accepted on a rolling basis.

For further information, please email Professor Don Wallace, wallace[at]ucmo.edu

Refugees, Germany, Willkommenskultur and Intercultural Communication

Response to Dominic Busch’s guest post by Peter Praxmarer

Executive Director of EMICC (European Masters in Intercultural Communication)
Università della Svizzera italiana (USI) Lugano, Switzerland


Refugees, Germany, Willkommenskultur and Intercultural Communication

I find myself in almost full agreement with what Dominic Busch writes.

In particular, I find his reflections on language in what he calls “internal social discourse,” pertinent and well taken. Also, the fact that “the cultural argument” has been hijacked by the far right and the national populists, in our times, is not surprising. This would, by the way, merit a little more research: attention to the culture of others has more often than not been a child of animosity, enmity, hostility, rejection if not outright war, as the history of exclusion, but also of conquest, colonialism, imperialism, and domination in general, amply testifies. As we (should) know, the very idea of “intercultural communication” as a more or less independent field of study, research and practical application was born during WWII, as part of the “war effort” of the US (viz. Leeds-Hurwitz). From this, also, stems the particular and sometimes incongruent vocabulary of the field, which is utterly US-social-science-lingo dominated, with some inroads from languages which still claim their droit de cité in the global social science supermarket (or, more benignly stated, the Global Republic of Letters), e.g. French and German. The field of study called intercultural communication became less war-related only later (but not everywhere), when  nation- and culture-crossing processes and constellations other than war started to play a more important role in the modern world-system (to follow Immanuel Wallerstein’s still pertinent terminology, preferring it to the shallow term “globalization”) – but it has kept its very peculiar vocabulary, at least in the mainstream.

Aside from that, while reflecting upon the present discourse on refugees in Germany and the “cultural” problems of the more or less autochthon residents (the “Old Germans”, as Busch cites a fellow professor in his piece) with them, it is worthwhile also to reflect on the position of the very term Kultur in Germany. In Germany, and not only during Nazi times, there has long existed an attitude which was described as Am deutschen Wesen mag/soll die Welt genesen, meaning that German culture is the remedy for all other (cultural) ills, all over the world. The Allied Propaganda posters, both in WWI as in WWII, took up this cultural theme. Thus, e.g., US War Propaganda during WWI showed a Mad German Brute holding a club with written Kultur on it, or an US Sleeping Beauty by the name of Civilization, calling every man, woman and child to war  – these and similar illustrations were meant to convey that deutsche Kultur is not so peaceful as other civilizations. In historical perspective, one has to agree. Looking into what was done in the name of German Kultur and how Kultur was used during WWII and before, would just confirm the very xenophobic and worse essence of it, inhumanely and most horrendously. (Caveat: Allied war propaganda is not presented here as an authoritative source, but only to provide a stark illustration of the use of the cultural argument; and many other than German “cultures” and “civilizations” certainly also have their share in war, conquest and violence-in-the-name-of-culture, epitomized, e.g., by “The White Man’s Burden” or the “mission civilisatrice”.)

Therefore, and also in view of the fact that the populist right wing and nationalistic parties have been able to hijack the term “culture” for their purposes, it is so good to see how civil society in Germany has constructed a new culture which is not national or völkisch, nor aggressive or expansionist, but welcoming: Willkommenskultur. In addition, even the counterpart to civil society, the German state, not least through its Chancellor, is, to varying degrees and for various reasons, in favor of taking in refugees, as is, again for still other reasons and purposes, the economy and a great part of the media. A beautiful page in the otherwise not always so beautiful book of contemporary Europe. And also a great example of (co-)constructed (inter-)culture, as well as of the fact that  “culture” never stands alone and cannot be meaningfully explained without taking into account history, society, economy, the polity, as well as, in our day and age, the many influences and experiences of mediated virtual reality in all its forms.

Yet, I also want to mention a point of potential disagreement with what Busch writes, regarding the role of Intercultural Communication Studies and Research. It is certainly true that the term “culture” has been critically evaluated, and the field is rapidly moving away from an essentialist and relatively static position to a more constructivist interactional and dynamic view of culture, in very simple terms privileging “communication” and “inter” over “culture”. However, by and large the main concern of intercultural communication research has been predominantly either relatively elite or middle-class or strictly utilitarian, covering, e.g. management or other professional groups, hospitals, schools, the military, police, development cooperation, etc. Relatively rarely concerned with, e.g., social integration per se (if not in special trainings for social workers, etc.), or with social integration from below (viz. the reference to Conflict Discourse Ethnocentrism in Busch’s text). In other words, the field has been center- and middle-class- or elite-focused, and not periphery- and non-elite, and where non-elite, then mostly only in terms of social management of deviations from norms or dangers from (culturally defined) others. This has also impacted our methodology: we have not always tried to understand, but we have been “overstanding”, as Raimon Panikkar so masterly phrased it already a quarter of a century ago. This is exacerbated when interculturalists (have to) jump on data-driven “fast science” jets instead of cultivating philosophy-fertilized “slow science” gardens, since this leaves no time to reflect either on the cui bono question or on participative methods or more sophisticated research questions than the ones required and funded by the global social science marketplaces – and it most certainly does not give a voice to those directly researched upon and with. Also for these reasons (conceptual, exemplified by “culture”, as well as methodologically), I would argue, we have so little to say when it comes to refugee crises, or to horrorism/terrorism, or to many other social “problems”. One reason why “the cultural argument” has been so successfully hijacked by the right and the nationalists, could therefore probably be that the interculturalists have far too long worked – even if engaging in what Busch calls a “sophisticated” debate – with a de-historisized, de-socialized, de-materialized, de-economized, de-politicized and overly value-oriented and psychologized concept of culture (and communication, for that matter). In other words, if one wants to understand (parts of) social reality in terms of culture and communication (and “inter” dynamics and processes), one has to look at it as what Busch calls, following Michel Foucault a “Dispositiv” (“dispositif” or “apparatus” in Foucault’s terminology). Likewise, it is necessary to overcome the “Unbearable Lightness of Communication Research”, as The International Communication Gazette tellingly titles its forthcoming 2016 Special Issue.

This critical look at the field is of course not meant to belittle the many initiatives of academic interculturalists in Germany, of which “Helfern helfen” of the intercultural campus of the Interkultureller Hochschulverband is but one. Or the numerous other initiatives undertaken by people who have studied intercultural communication and want to put their knowledge to good use; not to forget all those who practice sustainable – and sustained — intercultural communication in their daily dealings with the Stranger, the Migrant, the Refugee, the Other. It is simply a call for more “social” intercultural communication studies – more social in more than one sense.