Starting the Connecting Europe project

On March 8th, originally known as International Working Women’s Day (and still known as International Women’s Day) I started my new job as Postodc researcher at Utrecht University. Pretty fitting! For the coming 4 years I’ll be working on the ERC funded project, ‘Digital Crossings in Europe: Gender, Diaspora and Belonging,’ (aka the Connecting Europe project).

The project focuses on women who have migrated from outside Europe to three European capitals: Rome, Amsterdam, and London. I’ll be working under Prof. Sandra Ponzanesi, who works at the Gender Graduate Programme of the Department of Media and Culture Studies, is Head of Humanities at Utrecht University College, and is the principal investigator on the Connecting Europe project. I’m also working with three PhD researchers whose job it is to do research among women in these three cities, with a special interest in their respondents’ digital media practices and productions of diasporic belonging. The project will be mixing digital methods with more traditional ethnographic fieldwork approaches.

My own research will focus on the sending countries. I’ll be doing field research among the families and intimate social networks that the migrant women have left behind. I’ll be traveling to Turkey, Romania, and Somalia for the fieldwork. I’ll also be using digital and visual media production in creative ways as part of the ethnographic research process – like asking people to talk about digital photos they’ve taken in, and filming parts of the research process. The idea is to incorporate all this material into the written academic analysis, but also to produce a multimedia exhibition at the end of the project!

Needless to say: I’m excited. I just started this week, but our team is already in the process of developing our research methodologies and making the practical contacts to our field sites. So I’m looking for any and all helpful ideas, connections, and people to talk to. Feel free to drop me a line.