24-28 April 2023, Vrije Universiteit Brussel (on-site)

2023 IMISCOE PhD School

Critical Reflections on Migration Studies, Racism and Discrimination

Event organized by: Brussels Interdisciplinary Research Centre on Migration and Minorities (BIRMM, Vrije Universiteit Brussel), Centre for Ethnic and Migration Studies (CEDEM, Université de Liège), Centre for the Social Study of Migration and Refugees (CESSMIR, Ghent University), & The Network on Migration and Global Mobility (University of Antwerp)

Find out more about programme and the practicalities the event in this link.

To ensure that our events remain safe and inclusive we have created the IMISCOE Code of Conduct for online, hybrid and face-to-face events. In case I have questions or wish to discuss potential breaches of the Code of Conduct during the 2023 PhD School, I will contact the This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Deadline for application submissions: Closed-8th January 2023

Migration studies has, for long, largely ignored the study of racism. Recent calls for the decolonization of the university and Black Lives Matter 2020 led to the gradual entry of the study of race, racism and colonialism into the migration studies field. Whilst developed apart in the past, mainstream migration studies and race critical studies (from postcolonial, to decolonial, to critical race studies, Black studies and more) are slowly starting to dialogue. This IMISCOE PhD school aims at bringing together PhD researchers with experienced scholars, activists, practitioners, and artists to explore how the more mainstream social sciences on migration, racism and discrimination and race critical studies can learn from each other and (im)possibly integrate, and how we can contribute to more racial justice.   

In this IMISCOE PhD school, we will reflect upon how racism and race have been discussed by migration studies, and race critical studies (postcolonial and decolonial studies, critical race theories, Black Studies, ...) drawing on different epistemologies, conceptualizations and theorizations. We will explore the state of the art around the topic of migration, race and racism and discuss different theorizations and methodological approaches and challenges including measuring manifestations of racism and discrimination. We will consider different manifestations of racism – from the evident to the more elusive, from particular incidents to systemic forms – and their consequences, at both individual and societal levels. Particular attention will be given to creative methodological approaches and innovative theoretical frameworks, as well as to more pragmatic and normative approaches to tackle racism and discrimination.

The PhD school will offer a platform for a fruitful interdisciplinary exchange which will allow PhD researchers to develop creative approaches to the study of racism and migration and to develop new insights. 

The programme consists of keynote lectures, discussions, interactive panels with scholars, artists, activists and practitioners and intensive feedback sessions. Each participant will present their work and be assigned a keynote speaker or local expert for one-on-one feedback.

Tentative Programme 

Day 1: From experiences to concepts: racism and discrimination in migration studies

Introduction · Discussion on the value of experiential knowledge of racism for art and research with slam poets · Keynotes and discussion on the bridge between migration studies and the study of racism and discrimination  · Feedback sessions

Day 2: Postcolonial perspectives to migration and borders

Keynotes and discussion on movement and borders · Feedback sessions ·  Participatory workshop on the decolonization of our research practices

Day 3: Methodological challenges to study racism and discrimination

Keynotes and discussion on innovative and creative methods to study racism and discrimination · Feedback sessions · Visit to the MigratieMuseumMigration (Molenbeek, Brussels) · Decolonial walk (Brussels)

Day 4: Academic challenges when studying racism

Interactive panel on challenges (non-)racialized scholars face when studying racism & strategies to tackle these · Feedback sessions · Evening outreach event on building local anti-racism policies with local policy-makers, migrants and minorities organisations & scholars

Day 5: Resisting and combating racism

Keynote and discussion on anti-racist scholar activism · Feedback Sessions · Participatory workshop on anti-racist activism with an anti-racist organization

Confirmed speakers & organisations include

Anissa Boujdaini · Lisette Lombé · Anders Neergaard · Patrick Simon · Amal Miri · Parvati Raghuram · Guia Gilardoni · Nikolett Szelei  · Giacomo Orsini  · Pieter-Paul Verhaeghe ·  Umut Erel · Dounia Bourabain · Sarah Adeyinka · John Solomos · KifKif · Levl · MRAX


The participation fee is €360 for IMISCOE members & €460 for non-IMISCOE members. The participation fee includes lectures, course materials, food/drinks during the day, participation in a public outreach event, a museum visit and a decolonial guided tour in Brussels. Funding for a registration fee waiver, travel and accommodation costs up to €800 is foreseen for 5 and possibly more participants (depending on the successful acquisition of additional funding by the organizers). Those who would like to be considered for this grant should mention this in their application and confirm that they are unable to be funded by their home institution.

Please apply here by uploading 1 PDF file including:  a 300-500 words abstract that contains a description of your motivation for attending the PhDr school; of the topic, research question and methodology of the paper or project you would like to discuss in the summer school; also mention whether you would like to apply for the grant/fee waiver (not included in the word count); and add a CV. The selection of the candidates will be made on the basis of the quality of the abstract.

Final admission to the summer school will depend on the submission of a paper or research project description (6000-8000 words) by 27 March. Participants are expected to spend approximately 30 hours reading in preparation for the summer school.


Deadline for application: 8 January 2023

Notification of acceptance: 16 January 2023

Notification of grant: 23 January 2023

Deadline for the submission of the paper: 27 March 2023

PhD school: 24-28 April 2023

For inquiries: please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (Dr. Sibel Top)

Academic coordinators: Prof. Ilke Adam (BIRMM, VUB), Dr. Sibel Top (BIRMM, VUB), Dr Hannah Vermaut (BIRMM, VUB), Prof. Marco Martiniello (CEDEM, ULiège), Dr. Floor Verhaege (CESSMIR, UGent), Prof. Sorana Toma (CESSMIR, UGhent), Dr. Amal Miri (Network on Migration and Global Mobility, UAntwerp), Dr. Milena Belloni (Network on Migration and Global Mobility, UAntwerp).

This PhD school has been organised with the support of : IMISCOE, CESSMIR, CEDEM, the Network on Migration and Global Mobility, BIRMM, the doctoral school of the University of Antwerp, the International Relations Office of VUB, the doctoral school of human sciences of VUB, the doctoral school of the University of Ghent, and the Ecole doctorale Thématique en sciences sociales of FNRS.