EU-MIA was a research-based co-operative learning and training initiative that directly involved public officials and local stakeholders responsible for the development and implementation of local level integration policies in European cities.
Whereas activism on migrant integration in European cities has produced a wealth of practical experience and knowledge, work around consolidating and sharing good practice has been less common. Over the last few years, different policy-oriented networking initiatives targeting local integration authorities have been launched. However, the overall capacity to trigger concrete processes of policy improvement or induce sustainable policy transfer appears still insufficient. Led by the International Training Centre of the ILO (ITC-ILO), in partnership with COMPAS and the Forum of International and European Research on Immigration (FIERI), the project used existing knowledge and networks in order to establish dynamic and operational connections between researchers, practitioners and training institutions.
The first stage of the project resulted in a conceptual and methodological Discussion Paper developed in cooperation with FIERI. The second stage concerned fieldwork in different European cities (Hamburg, Southwark (London), Vejle (Denmark), Vienna, Visby (Sweden)). Here, COMPAS researchers were responsible for documenting selected integration projects through interviews and video-documentation. The research culminated in a 5-day training course for public officials and other local stakeholders, held in Turin in February 2014. Here experiences were shared in order to raise standards and successes of integration practices across Europe.
The EU-MIA project was structured in three phases:
- Background research, to create a repertoire of promising practices in the field of integration at city and neighbourhood level.
- Fieldwork missions in the cities where the selected integration projects were located. In each city, 10-12 in-depth interviews with local stakeholders. The missions also involved filming of interviews and relevant aspects of the urban landscape. The footage was subsequently used for the production of short videos, each of 10-12 minutes duration.
- Development of a cooperative learning kit based on the research component of this project. This formed the main resource for Migrant Integration Academy which took place in Turin in February 2014.
EUMIA brought together local government authorities, NGOs and other stakeholders involved in the integration process. One of the objectives of the Academy was to look forward and encourage participants to collaborate in the design of future projects. The follow-up event in Brussels in May 2014 suggested that some of these initiatives had been carried forward.