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PhD ReROOT: Arrival Infrastructures as Sites of Integration for Recent Newcomers

Opening PhD fellowship at Ghent University within the Horizon2020 ReROOT-project
Faculty of Engineering and Architecture, Department of Architecture and Urban Planning


Research Project

HORIZON 2020 – ReROOT: Arrival Infrastructures as Sites of Integration for Recent Newcomers

Europe has been built and continues to be rebuilt at the convergence of innumerable migration trajectories. In the long run, the traces of migration processes are often effaced and sedimented into ‘native’ society. But many communities, civil society actors, public authorities, small businesses, religious institutions, leisure organisations, etc. have records and living memories of these migration processes, or indeed, are actively engaged in forging the integration of relatively newly arrived migrants. These actors, we submit, produce and co-constitute living ‘arrival infrastructures’ throughout urban, suburban and rural communities in nine different pilot sites in Turkey, Greece, Hungary, France, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, and the UK.

Beyond the assumption that scaffolding and channeling of arrival and settlement processes comes through formal channels, agencies and programmes, ReROOT brings into view a wider constellation of actors, most notably previous generations of migrants who, together with ‘natives’ are co-creators of shops as information hubs, religious sites (churches or mosques), local labour offices, language classes, hairdressers, leisure clubs etc. ReROOT investigates the interactions, the transfers of knowledge and resources between first-comers and late-comers, the sedimented practices, organisations and provisions (whether private or public), as well as the transformations of all these through the recent, post-2015 arrival processes.

ReROOT is dedicated to analyse, diagnose and learn lessons from past and recent transformations of arrival and integration processes, with the explicit goal of fostering sustainable, evidence-based integration practices, policies and public imaginaries. ReROOT is dedicated to unpack – with the help of migrants and a wide range of stakeholders – the nexus of migratory mobility and societal transformation in order to further inclusive and redistributive integration processes. Most importantly, ReROOT situates its impact in the transfer of knowledge, methods and analytical tools and reflexive methods to civil society and public service stakeholders. To that end, ReROOT develops and tests mapping toolkits and platform prototypes for policy makers and civil society  – for them to continue the work ReROOT can only begin to do.

At Ghent University, Prof. dr. Luce Beeckmans is Project Partner and Work Package leader of Work Package 5 ‘Designing Mapping Toolkits and Platform Prototypes’ of this Horizon2020 ReRoot-project.

To implement the ReROOT-project and to achieve the goals and deliverables of the project, one PhD research position (August 1 2021-July 31 2024) will be opened held at the Department of Architecture and Urban Planning (UGent).

The PhD-student will develop mapping toolkits and platform prototypes for policy makers and civil society based on the empirical fieldwork in 9 European sites. Apart from developing these products that are aimed to foster the transfer of knowledge, methods and analytical tools to civil society and public service stakeholders, this PhD-trajectory will also develop a more theoretical framework that reflects on the epistemological and methodological innovation of the ReROOT-project in terms of ‘mapping and data visualisation’ and ‘participatory action research and platform-building’. Expertise and training in these two latter fields are recommended when applying for this PhD-position. This PhD fellowship will involve travelling to the 9 fieldwork sites dispersed over Europe and participation in ReROOT-meetings to be held in different localities in Europe.

Throughout the PhD-trajectory, the candidate will benefit from engagements promoter Prof. dr. Luce Beeckmans and an international guidance committee.

Research Context
The current vacancy is hosted within the Department of Architecture and Urban Planning (UGent). The Department of Architecture and Urban Planning at Ghent University aims to train young researchers and to carry out academic research, focusing on the design component of the architectural discipline, in the branches of knowledge of architecture, building technology and urban planning. At the Department of Architecture and Urban Planning, research in urbanism, urban design and landscape is based on contemporary questions. They touch upon cultural, historical, theoretical and policy aspects and focus on problem definition, analysis and design. This research project connects with new research at the intersection of the study of migration and urbanism recently developed at the urbanism group of the department. The research project will moreover be supported by two interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary consortiums at Ghent University, namely the Urban Academy (‘De Stadsacademie’), which is a co-creative space in which various stakeholders reflect together on urgent ecological and societal questions, among which ‘Living in Diversity’ (‘Wonen in Diversiteit’) and CESSMIR (Centre for the Social Study of Migration and Refugees), which is an interdisciplinary and inter-Faculty centre focusing on the social impact of migration and fleeing.


– The candidate holds a diploma in the field of architecture, engineering-architecture, urban studies, urban planning, urban governance, social sciences or equivalent;
– The candidate obtained a Masters degree in one of the above (or related) domains, and at least distinguished her/himself from other fellow students with excellent academic results;
– The candidate preferably has interdisciplinary experience and sensitivity for the topic of ‘arrival infrastructures’ and with practices of ‘mapping and data visualisation’ and ‘participatory action research and platform-building’;
– The candidate meets the requirements to begin the doctoral training and engages her/himself to complete a PhD;
– The candidate is interested in scientific research and will publish and co-publish in relevant
international scholarly journals to effectively disseminate research results;
– The candidate is a good communicator and enjoys working in a team;
– The candidate is willing to learn languages that might prove useful for the research and is capable and prepared to conduct intensive field and archival research in relevant contexts of investigation.

We offer a full-time PhD fellowships for 48 months with starting date on August 1st 2021.

Applications are due on April 1th 2021 and comprise:
• a letter of motivation (max. 1 A4);
• an updated CV;

Shortlisted candidates will be invited for an interview in April 2021 and a final list will be released shortly after. Candidates are expected to start on August 1st 2021, or on the earliest alternative date agreed on together. For any further information please contact  luce.beeckmans@ugent.be.

Gender & Diversity
Ghent University conducts an equal opportunities policy and encourages everyone to apply.

Applications of persons from underrepresented groups are especially welcomed.