Refugee settlement, place-making and digital technologies in the cities of Rotterdam and Amsterdam.
Refugees face myriad problems adjusting to new societies. Digital media help them not only stay in touch with a wider community, but also access relevant information and services in their new places. Despite the profound relevance of digital media in the lives of refugees, we still do not know much about how they are actually engaging with these technologies, their perceptions, emotions, motivations and skills in using ICTs, and how their potentially creative and tactical use of media may contribute to either emancipation or further alienation.
The ‘Translocal Lives’ research project aims to identify the various ways in which refugee migrants creatively and/or effectively use technologies, and how this affects the social participation of refugee migrant groups within their host society. It will also explore how digital media technologies are shaping the actions of local authorities, international and local NGOs, private actors and grassroots actors for the development of refugee settlement programs in their host community.
In order to do so, this study integrates a multi-stakeholder perspective into the analysis of interactions between digital media and integration initiatives for/with and by refugees. Throughout the different project activities, it will be possible to further examine the complexities and contradictions of technology adoption by refugees to recreate a sense of place, while at the same time providing a more nuanced perspective on the potentials of digital responses to refugee settlement in the cities of Amsterdam and Rotterdam.
With this first pilot project, the research team hopes to identify the conditions that can propel more meaningful, inclusive and ethical technological developments and uses through co-creative approaches, methodologies and practices for enhancing refugee agency and inclusion through and in the digital.
This pilot study is funded by Stichting Erasmus Trustfonds and is currently being developed in connection with the Vital Cities and Citizens Erasmus Initiative.