On the 19th and 20th January in Bologna, Italy, the Final Symposium of the “PERCEPTIONS – Understanding the Impact of Narratives and Perceptions of Europe on Migration and Providing Practices, Tools and Guides for Practitioners” project took place. The partners met to discuss the results achieved during this last three and a half years of fieldwork research and development.
The aim of the project was to examine how Europe and the European Union are seen by people who have migrated there or intend to do so. The research conducted investigated what perceptions and images of Europe exist among migrants, refugees and asylum seekers, how they are formed, whether they correspond to reality and what role they play in influencing migration decisions. The project also examined how the flow of information could be distorted and created toolkits of creative and innovative measures to counteract on distorted information, considering social, societal and structural aspects.
The objective of the project was to investigate the different perceptions of Europe, as well as the problems that are caused when expectation and reality do not match.
The final event of the project was open to the general public and brought together policymakers, academics, law enforcement agents, migrants, asylum seekers, NGOs, international organizations, and civil society organizations to discuss the project findings and the future research and practice opportunities.
During the first day of conference the participants had the chance to share their perspectives and experience the materials and resources developed throughout the course of the project. After an enlightening Roundtable on Perceptions’ knowledge and results, the general public had the opportunity to attend a R.E.D Carpet Exhibition, which included a live drawing and poetry reading session, and which concluded the day.
The second and last day of conference, on the other hand, focused on Perceptions’ future, highlighting how the project results open the way for new practices and research opportunities to explore in the future.
The event concluded with greetings from the team members of the University of Bologna, host of the event, and the screening of the film ‘Dystopia’. The participants had also the chance to take part in the ‘Bologna Migrantour’ which took place in the afternoon, after the end of the conference.