General field of research
Laura Formenti, Università degli Studi di Milano-Bicocca
Young migrants hosted in a certain area appear as “unexpected subjects” in the eyes of others and themselves. They move from one place to another, use public transport, look for a place to stay and make acquaintances and friends. It is said that the experience of migration is a formative event both for the individual and for the systems involved in the phenomenon. But the existential disorientation felt with respect to space, relationships and access to information requires appropriate forms of support, while the migrant reception system is complex and fragmented and treated as an emergency.
This project promotes the transformative dimension of living in these new places and the experience of spaces both inside and outside the reception centers. This is a process based on informal learning, which takes place through daily events. The movements of young migrants through the first and second stage reception centers reveal realities and representations in relation to the practices, contexts and organisation of the reception. On a social level, these movements generate concrete situations that make migrants visible and involve citizens in the creation of potential spaces for dialogue and constructive forms of coexistence.
The project asks several questions: what kind of experiences can help young migrants to escape the cliché of vulnerability – or worse, danger – to generate hope, courage and resilience? What ways of living in certain spaces promote recognition and dialogue between migrants and locals? How can reflection and awareness be created to give a positive and transformative meaning to the experience of migration?
The words “welcome”, “integration path” and “meaning” are often used in awareness raising initiatives, but in a context of forced cohabitation, uncertainty and prolonged waiting, there are no places to stay or go. Reception centers are closed structures, saturated with numerous stories. The relationship between inside and outside is fundamental, even for the natives of the host areas who experience the presence of these individuals in different and contradictory ways, tending today more and more to fear and rejection.