A chat with

Ahmet İçduygu

About the 2024 IMISCOE Spring Conference in Istanbul and online
22 March 2024

We sat with Ahmet İçduygu to discuss about the forthcoming Spring Conference in Istanbul and online

Could you tell us a few words about the institutions and colleagues involved in the organization of the 2024 IMISCOE Spring Conference?

We are pleased to host the 2024 IMISCOE Spring Conference at the Migration Research Center at Koç University, known as MiReKoç. Apart from receiving financial support from the IMISCOE Network and Koç University, the organization of the conference has also benefited from the contribution of the EC-funded Mignex project. This event is a culmination of months of hard work and dedication from my colleagues at the Center, who have been eagerly organizing and preparing for this conference. We are also grateful to the members of IMISCOE Executive Board and our colleagues at the IMISCOE Network Office in Liege, for their support in various stages of the conference planning. As MiReKoc celebrates this year its 20th anniversary, this conference will also serve as a site of celebration to mark this significant milestone.

The conference topic is "Mobilities and Immobilities in an Era of Polycrisis". What can you tell us about this theme?

This conference delves, indeed, into the concept of “polycrisis” and its impact on migration and mobility. This involves exploring how various crises (of political, economic, health, or environmental nature) intersect and influence migration patterns. By bringing together colleagues who explore these interconnected crises, we hope to gain deeper insights into their effects on migration and mobility. The conference also seeks to bring together scholars from diverse disciplines and world regions, each employing unique methodological approaches to contribute to the scholarly exchange on these pressing issues. The objective is therefore to promote a research agenda that places migration and mobility in the context of contemporary societal changes, while acknowledging the multiple crises currently unfolding. Through fostering discussions and knowledge-sharing among academics, the conference also aims to create a platform for collaborative and innovative scholarly endeavors.

What about the conference program?

This year, we received an impressive number of high-quality proposals, which also speaks to the relevance of this conference topic for the broader field of migration studies. The conference will span over two and a half days of fruitful exchanges, including 64 selected presentations that will be organized across 16 parallel sessions. We are also very happy to count with the participation of two distinguished keynote speakers, Jorgen Carling and Anna Triandafyllidou. Moreover, the conference will include two plenary sessions during which nine scholars will share relevant insights about the conference topic.

We also want to get to know you as a migration scholar and your involvement in IMISCOE.

As a scholar specialised in migration studies for the past thirty years, my research lies at the crossroads of three disciplines: political science, sociology, and demography. I have been actively engaged with IMISCOE since its inception as an EU-funded project in 2004, during its first round as a Network of Excellence. As an individual, I am a longstanding member within the IMISCOE community. Moreover, institutionally, the research center that I am affiliated with as its founding Director, MiReKoc, holds the distinction of being one of the founding centers that played a pivotal role in the establishment of the reconfigured IMISCOE as a network of research centers. Consequently, my involvement in various IMISCOE initiatives spans two decades. Presently, I hold the esteemed position of a selected member within the IMISCOE Executive Board.

Coming back to the Spring Conference that you are organizing this year, what do you hope that colleagues will mostly appreciate during the event?

The stimulating exchanges regarding the impact of multiple, compound and overlapping crises on generating complex, nuanced and multi-directional actions within the mobility spectrum, such as emigration; return; forced displacement; or immobility. We believe that this conference in Istanbul will present a unique opportunity for attendees to share ideas and foster meaningful connections within the academic community in migration studies. As the conference theme benefits from the terminology “polycrisis” to define the scale, multitude, speed and overlapping natures of the crisis situations globally, this IMISCOE event will provide a venue for scholars and researchers to explore the intersection between polycrises and (im)mobilities, particularly focusing on four main crisis axes, independently and simultaneously, including politics, economics, health, and climate.

Do you have any tips for conference participants to enjoy their stay in Istanbul? Anything unmissable?

Conference participants visiting Istanbul will have a unique opportunity to immerse themselves in the rich history, diverse culture and geography of this city that straddles the continents of Europe and Asia. Given its rich history, strategic geography, and vibrant culture, Istanbul presents a wealth of opportunities for scholars interested in migration studies to gain insights into both historical and current migratory patterns, as well as the experiences and trajectories of migrants across different time periods. Moreover, to make the most of their time in Istanbul, participants can explore iconic landmarks such as the Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, and Topkapi Palace, which offer a glimpse into the city’s fascinating past as a crossroads east and west, and north and south. Additionally, participants can take a trip along the Bosphorus Strait, marveling at the stunning views of the city’s skyline and the picturesque waterfront mansions.

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