The seminars are organized  with the main objective of allowing researchers (GRITIM-UPF members, PhD candidates and guest researchers from other universities) to expose their own research, regardless of whether it is at an initial stage, with first results, or accomplished. The GRITIM-UPF Seminar series is open to its members and subscribers, as well as to other researchers and master and undergraduate students.

Research Workshops and Seminars in Migration Studies 2019-2020​

This academic year the GRITIM-UPF Seminars Series will be focused on Research Methods and Methodologies in Immigration Studies.



  • UPF/15:00 to 18:00: Sala Polivalent Rodoreda, Edifici Mercè Rodoreda, UPF Ciutadella Campus, Carrer Ramon Trias Fargas 25-27, Barcelona. (Except for Roser de la Torre Villalobos´s lecture which is 11:00-13:00 in room 40.254).
  • IBEI/13:30 to 15:30: Room TBA, UPF Ciutadella Campus, Carrer Ramon Trias Fargas 25-27, Barcelona.
  • IEMed /18:30-20:30: Carrer Girona, 20, Barcelona.


Note: Those interested to attend are requested before to check the web GRITIM-UPF or contact us at [email protected], since there can be unexpected modifications.

See the poster (Download all the information)


Lectures 2019-2020

1. Roser de la Torre Villalobos (“la Caixa” Banking Foundation, Barcelona, Spain)
Date: Thursday October 10th, 2019
Place: UPF
Title: The Intercultural Community Intervention Project (ICI) promoted by “la Caixa” Foundation.
Abstract: The Intercultural Community Intervention Project (ICI) encourages social interaction in areas with great cultural diversity to create a more cohesive society. Our aim is to produce a model of social intervention that can be applied to different locations where we operate and that helps to promote intercultural cohesion in society, improving the living conditions of the whole population. To achieve this, we promote a new way of working in society based on the resources available in each area and involving the whole community in its development. We work in collaboration with the public administration and with social organizations in the different areas to ensure this project becomes a model that can be rolled out to other neighborhoods and towns. Through interdisciplinary teams related to social organizations, preventative and promotional work is carried out of an integrating nature, with the goal of transforming and promoting open processes that involve both citizens and institutions. We focus our actions on education, health and citizen relations. Actions in these three areas emphasize work with children, young people and families. Click here to know more about the project.
Bio: Roser de la Torre Villalobos graduated in Psychology from the University of Barcelona, including two study abroad experiences at the University of Pennsylvania (USA) and the University of Aarhus (Denmark). She earned a MA in International Relations from the University of Kent and a Postgraduate Degree in Autism from the University of Barcelona.
Over the past years, she worked in the international development field in the European Commission (Brussels), in ACCIO (Washington DC) and in the European Institute of the Mediterranean (Barcelona). In 2016, she joined “la Caixa” Foundation where she has been working in the Social Area since then and she is currently working on the Intercultural Community Intervention Project (ICI Project).
2. Oriol Amoros i March (Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs and Families - Government of Catalonia, Barcelona, Spain)
Date: Thursday December 5th, 2019
Place: UPF
Title: Migration Policies in Catalonia: History, Present and Future Horizons.
Abstract: The main purpose of this lecture is to introduce the students with the migration dynamics in Catalonia from a historical point of view, to overview the current state of the arts and look at the future. This will be done following the link between migration trends and policies, as well as the fact that most of the core policies have always received the support of civil society and political arena, following a bottom up approach. At the end he will explain what the Catalan government is developing following the intercultural paradigm. Catalonia will become the first region in Europe endorsing this intercultural public philosophy.
Bio: Technical agricultural engineer from the Polytechnic University of Catalonia and an Agricultural Engineer from the University of Lleida. Postgraduate in Agricultural Economics and European Union (UdL) and in Management Function in public administrations by ESADE. Member of the Parliament of Catalonia from 2003 to 2006 and from 2010 to 2016, where he has served as a member, spokesman and secretary in various commissions such as Immigration, Territorial Policy, Environment, Health, Business and Employment, Interior, Road Safety, Time Reform, Security and Public Order and the fight against unemployment. From 2006 to 2010 he was secretary for Immigration of the Government of Catalonia, during which the National Immigration Pact, the Law on the reception of immigrants and returned to Catalonia is promoted, the Citizenship and Immigration Board is created. He also participated in the negotiation of the transfer of work permit authorizations to the Government of Catalonia. On January 26, 2016, he was appointed as Secretary of Equality, Migrations and Citizenship, where, among other tasks, the Committee for the Reception of Refugees is being promoted.
Recommended reading:  
  • Departament de Treball, Afers Socials i Famílies (2019). Immigració i refugi. [online] Available at:  


3. Peggy Levitt (Wellesley College, Massachusetts, USA)
Date: Thursday January 9th, 2020
Place: UPF
Title: Migrating People, Migrating Culture: Migrating People, Migrating Culture: How Museums and Manuscripts Redefine the Nation.
Abstract: This lecture explores how “national literature” and “national art” is used to create, reinvent, and reposition the nation and its position in the world.  Using the cases of Lebanon, Argentina, and South Korea, I explore how these different kinds of nations produce different kinds of national literatures, who gets included as a national cultural producer, what kinds of work national culture is expected to do, and what this tells us about the nation's current understanding of who its members are.   
Bio: Peggy Levitt is Chair of the sociology department and the Luella LaMer Slaner Professor in Latin American Studies at Wellesley College and co-Director of Harvard University’s Politics and Social Change Workshop. She is also the co-founder of the Global (De)Centre.  Her most recent book, Artifacts and Allegiances: How Museums Put the Nation and the World on Display, was published by the University of California Press in July 2015.
Peggy has received Honorary Doctoral Degrees from the University of Helsinki (2017) and from Maastricht University (2014). She is currently a Robert Schuman Fellow at the European University Institute (2017-2019) and a Distinguished Visitor at the Baptist University of Hong Kong (2019). Her books include Religion on the Edge (Oxford University Press, 2012), God Needs No Passport (New Press 2007), The Transnational Studies Reader (Routledge 2007), The Changing Face of Home (Russell Sage 2002), and The Transnational Villagers (UC Press, 2001).  
Recommended Readings:
  • Levitt, P. and M. Crul (2018). “Deconstructing and Reconstructing: Embracing Alternative Ways of Producing, Classifying and Disseminating Knowledge.” Etnološka Tribina 48 (41): 3-101.
  • Levitt, P. and R. de la Torre. 2018. “Remapping and Rescaling the Religious World from Below: The Case of Santo Toribio and Santa Ana de Guadalupe in Mexico.”  Current Sociology 66 (3): 337-55.
  • Levitt, P. 2015. Artifacts and Allegiances: How Museums Put the Nation and the World on Display. University of California Press.
4. Michael Collyer (University of Sussex, Brighton, England)
Date: Thursday January 30th, 2020
Place: IEMed
Title: Hostile Environments in the Mediterranean.
Abstract: Far from a creation of Theresa May in 2013, the hostile environment captures what has become the dominant approach to migration control around the world. It is difficult or expensive to physically prevent unwanted migrants from moving and once they have arrived, it may be too late. So migration controls seek to convey a message that it is not worth their while coming. At the same time, it sends a related message to anxious publics that no expense is being spared to protect them. This is true for migration into wealthy parts of the world, but it is equally the case for migration into cities and for movement of refugees away from certain camps. This paper considers this situation in relation to local and regional contexts in Morocco and Libya, arguing that much of what is usually interpreted as direct control is more usefully understood in terms of deterrence. The concentrated focus on border architecture around the Spanish enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla is as easily explained by messaging as the effectiveness of direct controls. This is also the case for more humanitarian forms of deterrence. What has been called ‘warehousing’ is explored in the case of refugees from a range of countries attempting to cross from Libya into Egypt in 2011. These migrants were stopped in between the Libyan and Egyptian border posts in a camp that become home to more than 2,000 people. In both cases, the physical barriers were as significant as the messages they were designed to send. 
Bio: Michael Collyer is Professor of Geography and Director of Research and Knowledge Exchange in the School of Global Studies at the University of Sussex. He is a political geographer with an interest in the relationship between people on the move and state institutions. His most recent book is Migration, in Routledge’s Advanced Introductions series (with Michael Samers, 2017). This presentation is from an upcoming book Hostile Environments (Zed, forthcoming 2020). 
Recommended Readings:
  • Burridge, A., Gill, N., Kocher, A. and Martin, L. 2017. “Polymorphic Borders.” Territory, Politics, Governance 5 (3): 239-51.
  • Collyer, M. 2019. “From Preventive to Repressive: The Changing Use of Development and Humanitarianism to Control Migration.” In Handbook on Critical Geographies of Migration, edited by K. Mitchell, R. Jones and J. Fluri. Elgar. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar Publishing, chapter 13.
5. Debate on immigration and education: How to distinguish problems from challenges
Chair/Moderator: Mina Prokic (GRITIM-UPF, Barcelona, Spain)
Participants: Miquel Àngel Essomba i Gelabert (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Spain) and Zenia Hellgren (GRITIM-UPF, Barcelona, Spain)
Date: Thursday February 27th, 2020
Place: UPF
Framework: With growing diversity, schools are becoming socializing spaces of contact between immigrants and natives, old and new minorities and they have the ability to promote or counter new forms of cohesion and coexistence. Schools need to foster and support not only the integration of students of different ethnic and social origins but also include the different family practices and examine their influence in the student´s school integration and achievement. There is an agreement among experts that the education of immigrant students, especially in cases of school segregation and “white flight” from areas where they concentrate, can be complex. The main reasons are that they may not be familiar with the native language, they can have a different academic level and they usually belong to the poorest sectors of society which makes them more prone to school failure. Added to this, diverging education values between immigrant families and schools can create conflicts in the school environment related to different cultural and religious practices, dissimilarity about how children should be raised, different assumptions about curriculum issues and play related activities. This can pose challenges to the nationalistic paradigm of the current education systems in Europe and to the educational policies that need to be implemented. Theoretical debates about the integration of immigrant students, their academic achievement and involvement of their families in schools, have revolved around different models of integration in the education system. On one hand, there is an assimilation model, based on a monocultural view of schools, and on the other hand, there is an inclusive model, that promotes pluralism and intercultural dialogue.
Considering these positions about the integration of immigrants in the education systems, the debate will offer a panoramic look at the school education practices and policies and give answers to the following questions: 
  • What actions are needed by schools to provide a smooth integration of immigrants in the host education system?
  • How can school failure be prevented for immigrant students?
  • What is the role of education and educators in the context of growing diversity?
  • What challenges do schools in Catalonia face?
6. Debate on the Research-Policy Nexus and the interaction between politicians and researchers in Mediterranean Migration Issues
Chair/Moderator: Luisa Faustini Torres (GRITIM-UPF, Barcelona, Spain)
Participants: Guia Gilardoni (ReSOMA, Milan, Italy) and Ivan Martin (GRITIM-UPF, Barcelona, Spain)
Date: TBA
Place: IEMed
Framework: There seems to be a widespread concern among researchers and policymakers alike that Mediterranean migration needs more evidenced-based policies as well as a joint work of collaboration. This has become even more evident with the advent of the so-called migration crisis in 2015, which challenged migration governance in the region and produced an unprecedented humanitarian crisis. Such context have also reactivated the  outspread feeling that politicians, in both sides of the Mediterranean, have been implementing policies that fail to fulfill their stated goals, being highly ineffective and even producing undesirable side-effects. As a result, within the Euro-Mediterranean area, the debate about research-policy nexus seems to be gaining each day more prominence, especially concerning the discussion of what is or should be the role of expert knowledge in policymaking and the extent to which research can shape the policy process and influence the political debate. So far, the most resonated discourse has been that research should aim policy success, being an essential tool to make policies more effective. However, it has been argued that lack of communication and contact between researchers and policy-makers is one of the main obstacles preventing researchers to be policy relevant.   For this reason, it is common to hear arguments and initiatives in pro of improving the mechanisms of communication and level of trust, enhancing knowledge exchange and impact.
Undoubtedly, the literature indicates that this nexus is far from being straightforward and that it should be subject to further questioning. In this sense, it should be a matter of debate not only how research might impact policies, but also how the policies and politics in the Euro-Mediterranean region might be affecting knowledge production and transmission. Finally, the ethical implications of the research-policy nexus should be also central for this debate, especially when it comes to an area as controversial as migration issues in the Mediterranean, which suffers from an increasingly politicization ad polarization on the one hand, and a pressure for applying an evidenced-based approach on the other. 
Further questions for debate: 
  • To which extend should the relation between researchers and policy-makers lead to the politicization of research? Could it constrain or influence in any sense academic freedom? 
  • What is the role of science in transforming the social world and with which consequences? Can scientific production only provide solutions for social problems or also create them?
  • Should we take for granted that the policy impact of research is necessarily and always good? Even taking into consideration that expert knowledge can either inform policy or legitimize political interventions?
  • How to conciliate these two spheres with such different dynamics, priorities and goals? How to make research useful for policy without damaging its capacity of producing critic and independent knowledge? 
7. IEMed Roundtable
Date: TBA
Place: TBA
Title: TBA
Abstract: TBA
8. Thomas Lacroix (University of Poitiers, France)
Date: Monday April 20th, 2020
Place: IBEI
Title: City Networks and Migration Governance.
Abstract: City networks involved in migration issues have mushroomed around the world over the last decade. Some gather a few cities from a local or a national area, others deploy at continental or even a global scales. Some have a militant agenda challenging migration policies, others are initiated by national and international organisations. Despite this diversity, international organisations attempt to co-opt city networks to build up a migration governance system that would rely on non state actors. This paper will address this issue by first mapping the diversity of migration related city networks around the world. It will then examine the efforts of IOM and other international organisations to include these actors into the broader architecture of international migration governance.
Bio: Thomas Lacroix is CNRS research fellow in geography. He works on the relationships between immigrant transnationalism and the state. His work initially focused on Indian and North African transnationalism, with a specific intrerest in their effects on development and integration. His research now focuses on city networks and the building of a local governance of international migrations. Thomas Lacroix is former Migrinter deputy director. He is currently associate editor of Migration Studies and research associate at COMPAS, CERI and Migrinter. He is fellow at the Institut Convergence Migrations. He published in 2016 "Hometown Transnationalism. Long Distance Villageness among Indian Punjabis and North African Berbers" (Palgrave), and "Migrants : l'impasse européenne" (Armand Colin) and "International Migration and Local Governance" (with A Desille, Palgrave) in 2018.
Recommended Readings:
  • Del Biaggioa, C., T. Rossettob and E. Boriac. 2019. “Mapping Local Resistance to Anti-Immigration National Law: A Carto-Essay.” Journal of Research and Didactics in Geography 1 (8): 89-98.
  • Lacroix, Th. And A. Desille. 2018. “Introduction.” In International Migrations and Local Governance: A Global Perspective, edited by Th. Lacroix and A. Desille. London: Palgrave Macmillan, chapter 1.​
9. Abdelrahman Tamimi (Palestinian Hydrology Group for Water and Environmental Resources Development, Ramallah, Palestine)
Date: Thursday May 7th, 2020
Place: IEMed
Title: The Impact of Refugees on the Urban Planning of the Local Communities.
Abstract: Urban planning is known as long term planning for cities to cope with the expansion of cities and population growth, however, urban planning in major Palestinian cities is facing an obstacle since some of them are suffering from the absence of a political solution to the displacement of the Palestinian refugees and to the refugee camps.
The lecture´s objective is to highlight the measurement of indicators regarding the impact of migration on local urban planning such as infrastructure, land use, architecture of the cities, long term planning, land ownership etc.  The lecture will use the time series methodology to explain the relationship between each planning indicator and the growth of migration community. The real examples will be presented from different Palestinian Cities such as Nablus, Ramallah and their respective refugee camps. The lecture will highlight the conclusion and evaluation of multidimensional impact of refugees on the future of growing cities under uncertain socioeconomic and political conditions in Palestine.  
Bio: Since graduation, Dr. Tamimi has worked in the field of NGOs in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.  During the last 25 years, activities focused on water resources and integrated rural development comunity development. Before the establishment of the Palestinian Authority he had been a member of the group of Palestinian counterparts to the EU and the World Bank.  He contributed in the initiation of priorities in planning for strategic projects.  He also worked as consultant for institutions working in developing water and environmental projects in the Occupied Territories (UNDP.GTZ, EU, AFD,World Bank. etc.), He acted as Board Member of several local and regional NGOs and was Member of the Steering Committee for Palestinian NGOs Network (PNGO).
Dr. Tamimi is Part Time Lecturer at Alquds University in the feild of Sustainable Development and at Arab American University in the field  of Strategic Planning and Fundraising.
He is Co-author of the report prepared for the EU entitled “Meditereanean challenges 2030” and has several publications of his own related to institutional building, empowerment,  stakeholders dialogue and transboundary water conflicts.
Recommended Readings:
  • Biermann, F. and I. Boas. 2010. “Preparing for a Warmer World: Towards a Global Governance System to Protect Climate Refugees.” Global Environmental Politics 10 (1): 60-88.
  • Bocco, R. 2009. “UNRWA and the Palestinian Refugees: A History within History.” Refugee Survey Quarterly 28 (2-3): 229-52.
  • Farishta, A. 2014. “The Impact of Syrian Refugees on Jordan’s Water Resources and Water Management Planning.” A Thesis Presented to the Faculty of Architecture and Planning and Preservation, Columbia University.
  • Fabos, A. and G. Kibread. 2007. “Urban Refugees: Introduction.” Canada´s Journal on Refugees 24 (1): 3-10.
10. Estela Pareja (Catalan Refugee Aid Commission, Barcelona, Spain)
Date: Thursday May 21st, 2020
Place: UPF
Title: Racism and Classism: The basis of Fortress Europe : The Need to Address Forced Displacement from a Human Rights Perspective.
Abstract: In recent decades Europe and its Member States have been building a complex system to strengthen, close and control their external border and externalize migration control to third countries. This has been accelerating in recent years due to the global context of economic crisis and the fight against terrorism. Discourses of fear and protectionism have been gaining ground. The rise of the extreme right in Europe is an example of this. However, borders are closed for some but kept open for others. Meanwhile, millions of people suffer the consequences of a global economic system that excludes them and forcibly displaces them from their homes.
In the session we will analyze the different policies that have been built to make Fortress Europe a reality. We will see how these policies are actually based on racist and classist conceptions and not on security and economic sustainability of the welfare state. Moreover, we are going to discuss and argue about the need to address migratory flows from a human rights perspective.
Bio: Director of the Catalan Comission for Refugees (CCAR). Specialist in International Protection and the rights of refugees, she started as a project manager for the CCAR in 2008 and became the organization’s director in 2011. Also, she is a founding member of the Asil.Cat network, which was created in 2014 to improve the reception conditions of asylum seekers in Catalonia.
Other areas of her expertise and professional experience are Human Rights and Humanitarian Law, Cooperation for Development from the perspective of institutional strengthening, as well as Election processes. She wrote, coordinated and collaborated in several publications on Humans Rights focused on forced migrations and the right to asylum.