#Erasmusdays: Named Study Report Presented at meeting of Lower Saxon catholic institutions
On October 7th, the LandesKatholikenAusschuss in Niedersachsen and the Katholische Erwachsenenbildung im Lande Niedersachsen e. V. met in Hannover to discuss ‚Dignity & Justice – Labour Migration between Mobility and Modern Slavery’.
After a welcome note by the LKA’s president, Claus-Dieter Paschek, prelate Peter Kossen, gave a keynote speech on his experiences with confronting the abuses of migrant workers.
Following, Claus-Dieter Paschek outlined the role of catholic laypersons in the effort to better the situation of working migrants.
After Mr Paschek’s remarks, Dominik Hammer, member of the NAMED research-team and co-author of the NAMED study report, gave a presentation of the study’s central findings and their broader implications.
Subsequently, a broader discussion involving the panel as well as the events visitors was opened about ways to help working migrants and push for a more just system of working migration.
The organizing institutions were honoured to welcome prelate Peter Kossen at their event. Prelate Kossen, who is well-known for his advocacy on behalf of working migrants, was awarded the Order of Merit of North Rhine-Westphalia earlier this year. As part of his advocacy work, Peter Kossen is a founding member of the Aktion Würde & Gerechtigkeit
The LKA, an organization representing Lower Saxony’s catholic laypersons and the KEB have a long-standing commitment to ameliorating the situation of working migrants. The LandesKatholikenAusschuss in Niedersachsen published a declaration calling for an end of the exploitation of contracts for work and labor already in 2016. The Katholische Erwachsenenbildung im Lande Niedersachsen e. V. is, among other activities, coordinating the NAMED project.
Below, you can find our documentation of the event on the NAMED-Youtube-channel. The videos are in German. Please be aware, that by clicking on the links below, you will be redirected to Youtube, whose servers might be outside the EU and outside of the protection afforded by the EU-GDPR .
Prelate Peter Kossen holding the Keynote speech to the event: https://youtu.be/EZcZ8hkFVxQ
Dominik Hammer (NAMED) presenting central findings and implications of the NAMED study report: https://youtu.be/HlCHPSe2_Dg
Digital Conference Naming SOlutions
On July 2nd, NAMED hosted an online conference, “Naming Solutions”, where we presented and discussed central findings of our study with participants from the European Parliament, NGOs, adult education institutions and academia.
In the first speech of the day, MEP Lórant Vincze gave a brief overview over the history of working migration in Romania, highlighting how political and economic factors have shaped the migration of Romanians after the fall of the iron curtain. Mr Vincze also described the current challenges, which working migration brought for Romania. He expressed his hope that the coronavirus pandemic might act as a wake-up call for European institutions to better protect seasonal workers abroad.
MEP Erik Marquardt, naming the cases of Covid-19 outbreaks in slaughterhouses as an example, problematized the situation of working migrants in the EU, and urged for strengthening the efforts towards inclusion. The question of education working migrants, as Marquardt stressed, is not only a question of qualifying the workforce or responding to individual needs, but it is a question of building a better society for everyone.
Dr. Kamila Kamińska-Sztark, educational scientist at the University of Wrocław and president of the Association for Critical Education in Wrocław, spoke about the experience of migrant learners during the pandemic. Pointing to the example of education for migrant children in Wrocław during the lockdown, Dr. Kamińska-Sztark illustrated the broader implication of education for social inclusion.
After a first round of questions, Dominik Hammer presented central results of the NAMED study report. Following, a discussion about the study and it’s findings, but also about practical solutions and policy proposals to help working migrants ensued.
The Naming Solutions digital conference was well attended and gave us a great platform to present and discuss our study. The NAMED team would like to thank the guest speakers and all the conference participants for their contributions and their questions. Despite the challenges of the digital format, the discussants presented diverse perspectives, entered into an interesting discussion and made this event a great success.
A report about the event on the webpage of MEP Lórant Vincze can be found here.
Named: Good Practice
The Nationale Agentur beim Bundesinstitut für Berufsbildung has published an online-article on the NAMED project as an example of good practice in ongoing Erasmus+ projects. You can find the article here.
Online Joint staff short term learning activity
From June 15th until June 17th, NAMED held its second Joint Staff Short Term Learning Activity. As the current Coronavirus-pandemic did not allow for a personal meeting, we moved the Learning Activity online. During our three day workshop, we learned more about constructing curricula, courses and teaching methods aimed at educating migrants and online tools for teaching and learning. Besides presentations, our workshops also included training excercises which helped us remember and reflect on what we learned. We thank our guest speakers Maria Butyka, Andrea Kovács Hitter and Jelena Stasinic for their insightful talks and are now well prepared to tackle the second stage of our project, the creation of a cross-sectional curriculum for working migrants.
Our Study is Online
As part of our project, we have conducted a sociologial study into the education demands of working migrants. This study is now published on our website. You can find it here. You can find the executive summary here. You can also find the executive summary in German, Hungarian, Polish and Romanian.
Research Notes: Preparing for an interview
The data we rely on in our study consists mainly of narrative interviews we have led with working migrants in the EU. While careful treatment of the data is important in every research project, additional precautions need to be taken, if researchers are involved in generating the data (in our case through the co-construction of data in the interviews). Way before the individual interviews started, we began preparing for them. Here are some aspects we paid special attention to during our preparations:
- Ensuring informed consent. This includes making sure, that the interview partner understands, how their data will be stored and processed and why, and what their rights are with regards to the interview material. It also means informing the interview partner about who will have access to their data and how it will be anonymized. This is not only a legal requirement in order to comply with the EU-GDPR, it is also a commandment of research ethics. In addition, informing interview partners properly contributes to an open, positive interview atmosphere. Informed consent thus lays the groundwork for a rich interview, in which interview partners freely share their stories.
- Finding the right time. Interviewing working migrants means interviewing people who work a lot, including (often unpaid) overtime. This means, that interviews might take place in the evening or on weekends. When interviewing outside the researchers’ hometown, this implies seeking a hotel and preparing the travel.
- Taking time. The duration of an interview, especially in an open, narrative format, depends on what the interview partner tells, and how. Researchers should avoid conveying any impression of rush or hurry and plan for a long interview when scheduling the appointment. It is also advisable to plan for arriving early and making ample time for finding the interview location.
- Finding the right space. Generally, the interview should be led in a space with good acoustics and little to no interference. What is most important, however, is that the interview takes place in a space where the interview partner feels comfortable. This might entail reserving a separate room in a café or visiting the interview partner at home. In some cases, it might mean leading the interview via phone or video call. In such cases, it needs to be ensured, that the services used are GDPR-compliant.
- Preparing the equipment. This includes making sure, that the recorder works before every interview and always carrying spare batteries. Having to switch batteries or activating a spare recording device during the interview could interrupt the flow of the narration. In addition, switching devices could mean recording the interview with lower sound quality. Also, researchers should always carry a working pen and a notebook, both for notes during the interview, and for the first memos, which ideally should be written immediately after the interview.
Research Notes: Why we use narrative interviews in our study
Biographic-narrative interviews are often used to generate data for the analysis of a persons’ life-trajectories. One foundational assumption of the method is, that a persons’ biography represents a synthesis of social and individual factors shaping their life story. Analyzing biographies thus allows us to be sensitive to inner drives of a persons’ behavior, the influence of the persons social environment, as well as on the impact of larger social, economic and political trends. The usefulness of biographic methods to analyze the situation of working migrants is not new. As a matter of fact, one of the milestones of modern migration research is at the same time a milestone of biographic research in the social sciences. The study “The Polish peasant in Europe and America”, which encompassed five volumes and was first published in 1918 by William Isaac Thomas and Florian Znaniecki, features one book concerning itself with the “Life Record of an Immigrant”. In this book, Thomas and Znaniecki analyze letters and other personal life records to gain a deeper insight into the social structures and personal experiences involved in shaping migration from Poland to the United States of America. Concerning their choice of data, the authors remark:
“In analyzing the experiences and attitudes of an individual we always reach data and elementary facts which are not exclusively limited to this individual’s personality but can be treated as mere instances of more or less general classes of data or facts, and can thus be used for the determination of laws of social becoming” (p. 6).
A view lines further, they pronounce:
“We are safe in saying, that personal-life records, as complete as possible, constitute the perfect type of sociological material, and that if social science has to use other materials at all it is only because of the practical difficulty of obtaining at the moment a sufficient number of such records to cover the totality of sociological problems, and of the enormous amount of work demanded for an adequate analysis of all the personal materials necessary to characterize the life of a social group” (p.6-7).
One does not have to share the authors hierarchization of biographical data as being the prime sociological data to see the allure of a biographic approach for creating rich sociological data.
Another advantage of using biographic narrative interviews as a method of data generation is, that the respondent (in our study we use the term “interview partner”, highlighting the co-construction of the interview), has more control over the interview process. By letting people tell their story uninterrupted and drawing from the narration to guide enquiries, an “interrogation atmosphere” can be avoided and mistrust can be overcome. This is especially relevant when talking to interview partners from a group that often faces hostility and harassment, such as working migrants.
The biographic-narrative interviews we have lead have confirmed, that our choice of interview method was right, providing us with rich data and repeatedly with a positive feedback from our interview partners.
Multiplier Event in Brussels coming up
In May 2020, our first Multiplier Event will take place in Brussels. EU-parliamentarians, experts in the field of migration and education will discuss the findings of the story.
Project Logotype published
We proudly present the project logotype! A lot of thanks to our partner FEPS who made this logotype possible!
Project Meeting in Hannover
In May 2019, we met in Hannover to discuss the progress.
The KEB Deutschland has published about our project in their annual report 2018. We are honoured!
Project Meeting in Wroclaw
Our constitutional project meeting took place in Wroclaw in September 2018. Getting to know each other was a major point at the agenda. Also, we agreed on the project's shedule.