Research team

EduBROn

The role of community-based educational spaces in tackling the ethnic gap in education: a mixed-method evaluation and impact study. 01/01/2021 - 31/12/2024

Abstract

Throughout the world many education systems struggle with continuous and large performance difficulties between native students and students with a migration background. Despite huge investments by policy makers and the implementation of a vast array of specific structure as well as more actor-centred measures, there seems to be little change. Often these 'underperforming' students have been passive bystanders in the discussion of potential solutions for the 'ethnic gap'. Yet, this ignores the many initiatives taken by ethnic minority communities to tackle educational inequalities. These are community-based educational spaces (CBES) such as home-work support groups, language classes and community-led supplementary and full-time schools. The few studies on these CBES generally focus on their political role and apply a predominantly ethnographic approach and thus the current state of the art mainly informs us about the political strategies of community representatives. Our project advances the state of the art and aims to fill existing knowledge gaps on the effectiveness and impact of CBES on student outcomes and on learning processes. More in particular we perform an evaluation and impact study acknowledging the voices and agency of CBES-stakeholders involved. To this end we apply a mixed-method approach combining quantitative analysis with qualitative field research. The insights will benefit stakeholders in CBES as well as in mainstream public education.

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Impact Evaluation Job Discovery Lab 01/12/2020 - 30/09/2022

Abstract

ESF impact evaluation of the job discovery lab aims to evaluate the following three objectives of the job discovery lab: - Objective 1: Participants gain self awareness: What do I consider important with regard to my future workplace? What team role fits my personality? - Objective 2: Participants discover a diversity of professions active within the Port of Antwerp. - Objective 3: Participants are supported in finding information about job vacancies, coaching, and training relevant to working at the Port of Antwerp.

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Project website

Emotions, Belonging and Collective Identity Formation in Education: Balancing Between Unity and Diversity in Flanders 01/11/2020 - 31/10/2021

Abstract

Debates on social cohesion, (sub)national identities, and citizenship are prominent in contemporary society. This research aims to understand the influence of education in the making of (collective) identities, by studying the role of emotions in the construction of feelings of belonging. Education has a key role in promoting a shared sense of belonging to strengthen social cohesion. Emerging interest in citizenship education is perceptible in research, policy and practice, and substantial literature explored the normative, 'fact-based' nature of citizenship education. Yet, previous research has shown that ethnic minority students in Europe construct different collective identities than ethnic majority students and that (sub)national identities are less attractive for minority youth. This implies that civic knowledge and attitudes are not able to emotionally bind minority students to an 'imagined national community'. Emotional investments of citizenship and belonging in education have gone relatively understudied. Hence, this study focuses on the emotional processes related to issues of belonging and citizenship in education, without ignoring power relations and the social and political context involved. With the use of a sequential mixed-methods design, this study aims to explore how (collective) identities are constructed by young people and how belonging and citizenship are understood, enacted, and experienced in schools in Flanders.

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Multiple identities and shared senses of belonging? A qualitative longitudinal analysis of children's identity formation in a super-diverse city. 01/10/2020 - 30/09/2022

Abstract

The central aim of this research is to examine how children with diverse backgrounds construct personal and collective identities in the super-diverse city of Antwerp. How do children describe their differential identities? How do they develop (or not) a sense of belonging in a society that to a large extent seems to reproduce inequalities between different groups? How do these senses of belonging affect their well-being and aspirations? To answer these questions, and to highlight the hardly heard experiences of children themselves, I aim to conduct a qualitative longitudinal analysis of children's identity formation during the age of eleven and thirteen. Employing a cultural-sociological approach - inspired by, among others, Bourdieu's work - I will track the heterogeneous group of children during their transition from primary to secondary education. Three rounds of in-depth interviews and class observations will be held over this period of more than two years. In addition, I will conduct interviews with parents and focus groups with teachers and peers, in order to gain insight into their stimulating or restricting role in the children's differential identity formation.

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Alternative pathways towards educational success? A qualitative-ethnographic approach to educational initiatives undertaken by socially vulnerable communities in Flanders 01/04/2019 - 31/03/2023

Abstract

This PhD project studies new trends in the educational field, namely the establishment of 'alternative' forms of education by 'socially vulnerable' individuals and groups. These initiatives are taken with the specific aim to tackle difficulties experienced by vulnerable youth in mainstream education, such as discrimination and ongoing educational inequality. However, while these initiatives have sparked polarized reactions in public debate, our academic knowledge on these specific spaces of schooling remains scarce. This is an important gap in our understanding of these educational and societal processes, which we aim to address with this PhD project. To this end, this project applies a thorough qualitative-ethnographic methodology in a limited number of cases. Through observation of everyday interactions as well as conducting in-depth interviews with a variety of actors, it seeks to gain a deeper understanding of the mechanisms at play. Such a methodological and explorative research approach is desirable in order to do justice to the complexities in these settings.

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Migrant Integration Cockpits and Dashboards (MICADO). 01/01/2019 - 30/06/2022

Abstract

In the European HORIZON 2020 project 'MICADO: Migrant Integration Cockpits and Dashboards' (Innovative Actions), experts of public administration, academics conducting research on migration and IT developers will design an IT solution which can facilitate and support the integration of newcomers in Antwerp, Bologna, Hamburg and Madrid. The goal is to design attractive digital services for three user groups: 1) government agencies for labor, health, education and housing, 2) involved civil society organizations, and 3) migrants and refugees, by integrating both existing and new data. CeMIS will focus primarily on the organization, the design and the local implementation of co-creation workshops, which will serve as a basis for the developed tool. The result of the MICADO project will be a validated and developed app, which local city services and migrants and refugees can use to facilitate the navigation and participation of the latter group through and in the Flemish authorities and society.

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Governance of learning in an era of globalization. 01/10/2018 - 30/09/2023

Abstract

This research project focuses on the impact of globalisation and diversification on various educational processes. This comprehensive topic is subdivided into different more specific research projects, e.g. studying the macro- and meso-level of educational policies, the notion of collective agency of 'groups', and the micro-level of teacher-student relations and the role of parents. This research project applies a mixed-method framework with special attention to methods allowing to give space to the experiences and meanings of individuals and groups.

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Research team(s)

Multiple identities and shared senses of belonging? A qualitative longitudinal analysis of children's identity formation in a super-diverse city. 01/10/2018 - 30/09/2020

Abstract

The central aim of this research is to examine how children with diverse backgrounds construct personal and collective identities in the super-diverse city of Antwerp. How do children describe their differential identities? How do they develop (or not) a sense of belonging in a society that to a large extent seems to reproduce inequalities between different groups? How do these senses of belonging affect their well-being and aspirations? To answer these questions, and to highlight the hardly heard experiences of children themselves, I aim to conduct a qualitative longitudinal analysis of children's identity formation during the age of eleven and thirteen. Employing a cultural-sociological approach - inspired by, among others, Bourdieu's work - I will track the heterogeneous group of children during their transition from primary to secondary education. Three rounds of in-depth interviews and class observations will be held over this period of more than two years. In addition, I will conduct interviews with parents and focus groups with teachers and peers, in order to gain insight into their stimulating or restricting role in the children's differential identity formation.

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Research team(s)

MO-TRAYL. 24/10/2017 - 24/02/2018

Abstract

A shortterm cooperation with the Mo-Trayl team of professor Valentina Mazzucato from Maastricht University. 'Mobility trajectories of young lives' (MO-TRAYL) is a five year research project (2017-2021) studying the relation between migration and the life opportunities of youngsters. A specific addition from the team at University of Antwerp is the focus on the identity experience of youngsters.

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Research team(s)

Reducing youth unemployment in cities with dual learning. 01/10/2017 - 31/12/2019

Abstract

In this project we aim to look at the challenges that come with big cities such as increased youth unemployment. One way to tackle youth unemployment is 'dual learning', an education system in which youngsters receive more than 50% of their education at work. This system has several advantages. First it prepares the youngster for the labour market, gives him/her real work experience and they receive a qualification by the end of their education. On the other hand it is also beneficial for the employer, as they can train future employees and give them the valuable skills needed for the job. This project will look at the specific challenges for applying dual learning in three cities, Brussels, Antwerp and Ghent. We further want to develop an international partnership to continuously share information and best practices with other cities and projects that work on dual learning and youth unemployment.

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Attain cultural integration through conflict resolution skill development (ACCORD). 31/12/2016 - 31/12/2019

Abstract

The ACCORD-project (Erasmus+ programme) must be seen against the background of recent demographic evolutions within the European society, as ethno-national and socio-cultural conflicts become more prominent in everyday life. As a result educational institutions have to adapt to this newly-formed environment and social reality. It is within this context that the ACCORD project wants to provide a structured and innovative platform to help teachers in taking an active stand against all forms of discrimination and to help them dealing with diversity and possible interethnic conflicts in the classroom. To meet these goals, the project wants to create a flexible, accessible and affordable online learning tool for all teachers across Europe. The ICT-tool will combine a serious-game approach with a massive online open course to provide a creative pathway for teachers to autonomously assess and improve their intercultural competences. The content of the tool will not solely focus on enhancing the conflict resolution, negotiation and mediation skills of teachers, but also on raising their competences related to cultural sensitivity and cultural self-awareness. This two-fold approach should lead to the fostering of mutual understanding and respect among people with different ethnic-cultural backgrounds within the context of educational practices.

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Research team(s)

Dual Learning on Pilot - An Evaluation. 01/12/2016 - 01/11/2019

Abstract

This research project focuses on the evaluation of pilot projects in consecutive empirical cycles. Using the theory based stakeholder evaluation approach, we test the programme theory behind the pilot projects and compare them to the practical experiences, insights and expectations of the various actors in the field. The research questions and the preliminary findings drawn from the administrative data are, together, determinant of the cases selection to conduct 5 cycles of qualitative research. Moreover, within the same time frame, we set up a quantitative longitudinal study involving youngsters in these pilot projects in order to collect both administrative and new survey-data.

Researcher(s)

  • Promotor: Clycq Noel
  • Co-promotor: Timmerman Christiane

Research team(s)

CURANT - Co-housing and case management for unaccompanied young adult refugees in Antwerp. 01/11/2016 - 31/10/2019

Abstract

Within the refugee population, unaccompanied minors constitute the most vulnerable group, for which European and international standards offer care and protection. However, when these minors reach the age of adulthood (+18), they are no longer able to benefit from subsidized shelter, enrollment in reception classes, customized trainings, and the support from a legal guardian. The CURANT consortium (OCMW Antwerpen, CeMIS (UA), Atlas Inburgering en Integratie Antwerpen, Solentra, Vormingplus, Jes vzw) radically wants to break with this reality, by means of two innovations to be 'tested' on a selection of minimum 75 and maximum 135 unaccompanied young adult refugees between 2016 and 2019: 1) Co-housing with volunteer buddies (not only for reasons of shelter, but as a means to sustainable 1-on-1 integration) 2) Circular integrated individual trajectories (focused on activation, education, independent living, language, leisure, social integration and psychological counseling), with intensive follow-up by means of individual case management. As the academic stakeholder, CeMIS is in charge of the evaluation study of this social intervention.The framework for evalution is 'theory-driven evaluation' (TDE, Cheng 2015). The researchers will assess the impact of co-housing schemes and the circular approach on the integration of the target group by using a multi-method research design, including in-depth interviews, observation and survey.

Researcher(s)

  • Promotor: Clycq Noel
  • Promotor: Timmerman Christiane

Research team(s)

Making and Unmaking Muslim Identities. Symbolic Boundary Work and Islam in Flanders. 01/10/2016 - 30/09/2020

Abstract

Cities around the world are diversifying in a rapid pace and a metropolitan city such as Antwerp is no exception to this trend. Against the background of the ongoing refugee crisis, international conflict in the Middle-East and jihadi-Salafist terrorism, many Flemish natives currently perceive the growing presence of Muslims as a fundamental threat to our society. The latter is imagined as a secular, or at least 'inherently' non-Islamic society. However, Muslims are often a marginal voice in these public debates and insights on how Muslim identities are (re-)negotiated in such a 'hostile' context are scarce. Some research has indicated that the hostility towards Muslims is growing, while, at the same time, the religious identity of many Muslims is becoming more important and tends to be represented as a crucial emblem of their identity. Many Muslims, however, rather denounce the essentializing processes placed upon them by many Flemish natives, which tend to perceive and categorize Muslims solely based upon this religious affiliation. It is this conundrum the current research proposal wants to tackle: how is ethno-religious identity of Muslims in Flanders made and unmade in the everyday interaction between individuals, as well as in the broader public debate? The proposed project aims to further analyse this apparent conundrum by putting forward the hypothesis that a growing religious self-identification among Muslims is related to the deteriorating public image of Islam and Muslim identity. To gain insights in these often unconscious and difficult to grasp processes of boundary and identity work, we designed a multiphase mixed methods design in three distinct sequences. Furthermore, we study these processes in nine different settings: four secondary schools, one tertiary education setting and four labour market settings to get fine-grained insight both on the individual as well as on the institutional level (socio-demographic composition of the specific context and open or conservative approach to diversity). The innovative methodological framework engages with these issues via three strategies: we start with a broad survey analysis to construct specific profiles of respondents that are used to deepen our understanding in two subsequent phases. First respondents with specific profiles are asked to participate in individual in-depth interviews facilitated by the Photo Q Methodology as to study boundary work from the perspective of the individual. In a final stage individuals are asked to participate in 'confrontational' focus group discussions to study boundary and identity work in a real life resembling interactional context as to study how boundaries are reworked when confronted with significant others.

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Research team(s)

Scientific Chair in European Values and Identities 01/01/2015 - 31/12/2015

Abstract

This project represents a research contract awarded by the University of Antwerp. The supervisor provides the Antwerp University research mentioned in the title of the project under the conditions stipulated by the university.

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