Two first years of substantial achievements
In the first year, EPIC launched an online survey collecting information on migration and integration practices in the EU. In the end, nearly 700 residents from 11 European cities shared their reflections. The results of the survey, interviews, focus groups and desk research were published in the Unsettling integration: EPIC research report in late 2020. Once the best practices and needs of each territory were identified, the project creates pairs among partners formed by one LAs and NGOs with expertise in a specific sector on migrants’ integration and one LAs and NGOs that needs support to acquire skills in that specific area. The idea is that, through these ‘matched cities’, the strengths of each could be used to fill the gaps of the others and vice versa.
EPIC’s partners also started to become familiar with communication tools to deconstruct stereotypes and prejudices about migration as well as strategies and methodologies to design alternative narrative campaigns. In this framework, the project organised a series of webinars and participatory workshops with the partners.
The first webinar, entitled ‘Hate Speech: understanding the phenomenon from different perspectives‘, defined hate speech in Europe, its scope, and the solutions to address it. To further explore this topic, EPIC partners participated in an online International Training on Media, animated by the experts Ron Salaj, Dariusz Grzemny and Ruxandra Pandea, during which they discussed the different concrete ways in which hate speech can be countered. As a logical follow-up to these first reflections, the project organized a second webinar entitled “Migration narratives: how to design a communication campaign to promote a more nuanced public opinion on migration”. On this occasion, different examples of good practices were presented to learn from the experiences of other initiatives. This second meeting gave the partners additional keys to designing their communication campaigns. Each step of the construction process of these local campaigns was punctuated by regular meetings gathering all the partners. In parallel, on the occasion of global celebrations such as the international days of women, migrants, refugees, or cultural diversity, the project produced different videos, key message cards, and disseminated good practices of the partners that were published on social media.
At the end of 2021, EPIC partners met in Croatia for its international networking path. This allowed the project to discover local initiatives promoting the economic and social inclusion of newcomers but also to foster interaction between partners in order to encourage the emergence of new ideas and reflections for the continuation of the project, whether during workshops or more informal moments.
For the third year, the EPIC project has a busy schedule ahead towards piloting new integrating local services thanks to all the knowledge gained so far.
Partners will continue to meet in participatory workshops to co-design the 8 local campaigns. In Spring we will finally see the launch of the campaigns presenting alternative narratives tailored to deconstruct the biased perceptions that citizens have of about migration in each territory
On January 24 Marta Siciarek from the Municipality of Gdansk will lead a meeting with partners to support the development process of pilots’ projects that will be implemented by each “matched cities”. This pilot will be an opportunity to put into practice all the knowledge gained through capacity building in order to put in place new services that effectively respond to local needs identified during the research phase.
The project coordinator, Dolinda Cavallo, tells you in a nutshell what EPIC is about!: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kaGmEo4dRls