Looking forward to finally leave the desert heat in the Netherlands, I am excited to join the IMISCOE conference this year.
As it is the first international conference of my research career, I think this experience is going to stick with me for a while. We arrived a day early to explore the city (as the city of Malmö happens to also be part of our research project) and already bumped into some familiar faces, catching up until somewhat late in the evening. Waking up early in the morning didn’t sound like the most desirable idea – but after a few cups of coffee all tiredness was forgotten and we kicked off the day at the PhD Assembly.
Together with the welcoming breakfast, the PhD Representative of the IMISCOE PhD Network, Giulia Mezzetti, started off the PhD Assembly with a presentation on the PhD network. She informed us about the history of the network, and the working groups within it: apart from the blog group, there is also a teaching group, a network group, and a workshop group.
Afterwards the first two workshops started. One of them was the “preparing an effective abstract for a conference” with Inka Stock (Universität Bielefeld) and Lorenzo Piccoli (University of Neuchatel) where PhDs were asked to bring abstracts they had previously prepared for conferences in order to have a look at them together with more senior researchers and see if there is room for improvement.
The other workshop was the “intergenerational feedback session”. In this session PhDs have the opportunity to receive personalized feedback on their research and their possible career path from senior researchers in small group discussions. Before the individual sessions started, Sayaka Osanami-Törngren, from Malmö university shared her personal experiences on doing a PhD and PhD-after life. She had three take-home messages on networking for us:
– Network up: Do not only get involved with other PhDs but also network with professors
– Network female: Make sure you also have a female network surrounding you
– Network outside: Even if you love your own sub-field, you never know what’s waiting for you in other research areas
And lastly the main advice she passed on is one that she got from her supervisor during her first PhD feedback session: “Don’t worry about a thing!”
After a short coffee break, the second round of sessions started. I went to the workshop concerned with “teaching controversial migration and integration issues”. During the workshop Johanna Neuhauser from the Institute for Migration Research and Intercultural Studies (IMIS, Osnabrück University) discussed challenges involved in teaching migration and integration-related issues in increasingly diverse classes. She shared her own experience and despite focussing on pedagogical practice, also scholars who were not teaching at that moment could have learnt from Johanna’s presentation.
We discussed topics such as creating an open and safe space in the classroom and had a look at the checklist for gender & diversity-conscious teaching by Melanie Ebenfeld (for the German speakers amongst us, you can have a look: Checkliste zur gender-und diverseitaetssbewussten Didaktik). After all it would have been great if there was more time to discuss the raised topics more in depth. By the time everyone opened up and felt comfortable to talk about sensitive topics and share personal experience, the workshop unfortunately had to be wrapped up and concluded.
The day finished with a more informal get-together at the Scottish Pub Drumbar. After running into the same faces again and again during the day, we finally got the chance to connect in a more casual setting. We chatted away about research interests and experiences together with some cold beverages which were highly needed in the unusual temperatures in Malmo (so much for escaping the heat in the Netherlands…).
Overall, I really enjoyed my time at IMISCOE. I met a bunch of great people with interesting research topics and I am looking forward to next year already.
Lisa-Marie Kraus is a PhD candidate in Sociology at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. Her research focuses on how (socially mobile) natives react to and make sense of becoming another ethnic minority in European cities.