Migrant Children and Communities in a Transforming Europe (MiCREATE)

The vision of MiCREATE is to provide a child-centred approach to exploring and surmounting integration challenges.

The overall objective of the project is to stimulate the inclusion of diverse groups of migrant children by adopting a child-centred approach to their integration at the educational and policy level. Stemming from the need to revisit the integration policies, the research project aims at comprehensive examination of contemporary integration processes of migrant children in order to empower them. The project starts from the fact that European countries and their education systems encounter manifold challenges due to growing ethnic, cultural, linguistic diversity and thereby aims at: 1) Identifying existing measures for the integration of migrant children at the regional and local level through secondary data analysis; 2) Analysis of the social impacts of these integration programmes through case studies in ten countries applying qualitative and quantitative child-centred research; 3) Development of integration measures and identification of social investment particularly in educational policies and school systems that aim to empower children. The project is problem-driven and exploratory at the same time. Its exploratory part mainly concerns a child-centred approach to understanding integration challenges, migrants’ needs and their well-being. However, the findings of the open ended exploratory research will be used in an explicitly problem-driven way – with an aim to stimulate migrant inclusion, to empower migrant children and build their skills already within the (participatory) research. This will be done through the activities of the Integration Lab and Policy Lab, where children’s voices, fieldwork and desk research findings will be translated into practices and measures for educational professionals and practitioners as well as into a child-centred migrant integration policy framework to stimulate social inclusion and successful management of cultural diversity. 

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 822664.

What is the need?

Migration to Europe is not a new phenomenon, however, the structure of arriving migrants has changed considerably in recent years due to the existing conflict zones in the Middle East and elsewhere. As Eurostat reports the number of asylum applications in EU-28 rose to 431 thousand in 2013, 627 thousand in 2014 and close to 1.3 million both in 2015 and 2016, while the number of asylum seekers younger than 18 years has rose from 43.530 in 2008 to 398,255 in 2016. These figures indicate that European countries are faced with an unprecedented situation, especially in view that the current immigration to Europe can no longer be governed by economically oriented migration policies but has to comply with humanitarian oriented legal framework. The need to rethink integration policies and strategies taking start from different humanistic and social science viewpoints therefore comes timely and foremost as a necessity to investigate the current situation and propose adequate solutions. The present situation calls for advancement of educational resources and for development of new expertise in educational institutions, especially taking into consideration the changing dynamics of recent migration trends.

What are we doing?

MiCREATE is an ambitious multi-level and multi method study concerned with identifying the problem, examining the context, considering the theoretical constructs, mapping the challenges, developing solutions, implementing change, and evaluating and seeking feedback to maintain change. Our point of the departure therefore is that many children are actively and positively engaged in creating their lives and future for themselves – and the proposed project aims to provide a space for children to stimulate social integration of diverse groups of migrant children in European countries. By adopting and advancing a child-centred approach to migrant integration on educational and policy level, we will create “a space” where migrant children of all ages are able to communicate and share their experiences after arriving into receiving societies.

What will be the outcomes?

MiCREATE aims to bring out specific outcomes both in related to mapping migrant children integration experiences and overcoming some of the challenges, namely, 1) improvement of monitoring and data collection; 2) advancement of effective practices for integrating migrant children in schools; 3) introduction of innovative practices such as digital storytelling and integration lab activities; 4) enhancement of synergies and cooperation amongst the relevant stakeholders; 5) development of the research agenda on education. The outputs of the project will be delivered to many stake-holders across EU member states, therefore we expect the project will have an impact beyond the countries involved.

What are the timescales?

This project runs for 3 years from January 2019.

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