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Around the framework of the Strasbourg summit, a multi-actor international encounter that anticipates the Conference on the Future of Europe (CoFoE), EPIC partners gathered in the French city for the 7th Steering Committee (SC) of the project on May 5th.
As the project has entered the last year of implementation, exchanges among partners and a joint strategic planning are key to guarantee the realisation of the final outcomes of this European network of integrating cities.
United in their support of the millions of people fleeing Ukraine, citizens-led and other local initiatives, especially from neighbouring countries, have led the way in emergency solidarity actions. However, this approach often lacks coordinated and sustainable strategies that ensure the reception of refugees from a human perspective. Also, it delegates citizens an enormous responsibility that primarily belongs to the public sector. What will happen when the goodwill of local communities is not enough to tackle the many complex issues a humanitarian crisis like this causes? Who will be held responsible at the end of the day?
To address these questions, participants in the 3rd EPIC webinar, held on April 13, discussed how human-based narratives and strategies should be placed at the centre of integration strategies.
On 9-10 November 2021, the first International Networking path took place aiming to promote exchanges and fostering the emergence of joint policies and initiatives. On this occasion, EPIC partners from SSF, AEIDL, ALDA, the Metropolitan area of Gdansk, JRS Croatia, the Municipality of Sizak and UCL met in Croatia, while other partners followed the whole process on social media and video-conferencing. The event was an opportunity for EPIC partners to meet with stakeholders in Croatia to further exchange newly-acquired knowledge and experience.
To learn from past and current campaigners for designing, implementing and monitoring alternative or counter-narrative campaigns aimed at overcoming stereotypes and prejudices against migrants, the EPIC project hosted the second in a series of webinars on migration stories on Tuesday 22 October. On this occasion, we have seen that designing a communication campaign to promote a more nuanced public opinion on migration can choose to address the root causes of prejudice by helping to combat fake news while raising awareness and informing the public about false information and providing fact-checking tools.
In May 2021 all EPIC partners participated in an intense 4-day online training on alternative and counter-narratives methodologies and tools. The experts Jon Salaj, Dariusz Grzemny and Ruxandra Pandea guided them to understand hate speech, its different definitions, causes and consequences, as well as how to counterbalance hate speech messages by building counter or alternative narratives based on a human right approach.
Research on migration and integration in Europe especially today is framed in a context pervaded by racism that cannot be ignored. This report uncovers issues surrounding the notion of integration, and related policies, based on the perception of the people who live it. In collaboration with 15 EPIC partners, a team of researchers based at the Development Planning Unit (UCL) collected and analysed people’s accounts of practices. 700 urban inhabitants helped us better understand the multiple registers given to the word integration, ultimately challenging it and moving beyond the state as a privileged unit of analysis
In November 2020 the EPIC partners met for a 3-day consortium meeting. The working groups analysed the research results obtained so far and specific priority areas for the project based on those findings. The meeting ended with the analysis of the main findings and review of the overall working plan for the project
On 17th, 18th and 19th May, EPIC organised 3 focus groups with the representatives from local authorities and NGOS of the project.
The aim of the focus groups was to discuss existing practices of migrant integration collectively with partners in each case city, and to share challenges faced, lessons learned and what the needs are for their territory.
At the end of May, EPIC launched an online survey with the aim of gathering information on migration and integration practices across the EU. Open to host and migrant communities and practitioners, the survey invited participants to inform on strategies put in place for and by migrants to navigate the city during and after COVID-19. The results will help the project learn more about practices of inclusion and responses to displacement across different European cities.
On 28 April 2020, EPIC organised the first of a series of webinars on migration narratives on the topic of ‘Hate Speech: understanding the phenomenon from different perspectives’. In times of crisis, ‘the fear of the other’ becomes a common part of public debate. Bearing this in mind, the webinar aimed to set the scene for what hate speech is currently in Europe, how it is defined, how widespread it is, and what solutions are there to tackle it.
EPIC received a warm welcome from the municipality of Santorso with a public event announcing the start of the project. Project partners and work package leaders had the chance to present their objectives and work that will be undertaken within EPIC for the next three years.
The EPIC project leader ALDA hosted in Vicenza (Italy) a two-and-a-half-day meeting to kick off the project. Organisation delegates from the 16-partners consortium held several plenary sessions and workshops to establish the best working methods and revise the whole project work plan and strategy.