MO-TRAYL researcher a finalist for NWO Synergy Award '22

MO-TRAYL researcher Laura Ogden was one of four finalists for the NWO's (Dutch Research Council) Synergy Award '22, which aims to provide an opportunity for PhD students to explore and present the potential impact of their research on society. 

Laura presented the shortlisted project, 'From Generations to Trajectories: Rethinking the Way We Categorise Migrant Youth', on behalf of the MO-TRAYL team, at the Synergy '22 event at Fokker Terminal in The Hague on 16 June 2022. You can watch Laura's pitch here.

The two-part project proposed to collect and share mobility trajectories, in order to rethink the categories we use for youth with a migrant background. Migrant-generation categories are common and outdated. First-generation refers to people who migrate themselves, while second-generation designates the children of migrants. We use migrant-generation categories to collect demographic statistics, discuss social issues, and research integration and education outcomes. But categories aren’t neutral, and their meanings and usefulness change over time. For example, the Netherlands' Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) recently dropped ‘western’ and ‘non-western’ categories from surveys, because they recognized that these categories are stigmatizing, arbitrary, and increasingly irrelevant. Rethinking migrant-generation categories is similarly long overdue. What are these categories hiding, and what are feasible alternatives?

The proposed project aimed to build impact by raising awareness of mobility trajectories as an alternative to migrant-generation categories. We want policymakers to see the scale of diversity of migrant youth’s mobility trajectories and understand they offer a useful alternative to migrant-generation categories. We want educators to have practical tools to engage their students in considering the role of mobility in their lives and social categories generally. And we want to prompt the general public to re-think their own (migration) background in new ways.

Photo credit: Sarah Anschütz

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