Imagining and experiencing the 'refugee crisis' (IMEX)
IMEX workshop

Imagining and experiencing through normality and crisis

In January 2019, the IMEX project organized an international workshop with presentations by project participants and invited guests from across Europe. The workshop fostered interesting discussions and new insights.

Picture of seminar
Susanne Bygnes

Main content

"Imagining and experiencing through normality and crisis: new perspectives in the wake of the 2015 refugee situation" was the full title of this seminar.

The workshop started January 30th, with presentations on Syrians in Europe. This section had presentations by Lea Muller Funk, Katharina Lange, Susanne Bygnes, Amany Selim, Effrosyni Charitopoulou and Lucas Oesch. New insights on the experiences of the Syrian community in Bergen (Bygnes), Oslo, Berlin (Selim, Lange) and Tripoli (Muller Funk) were shared and researchers with area expertise contributed with in-depth knowledge about everyday life in Syria before the war (Lange, Oesch).

Amany Selim presenting

Amany Selim presenting on political engagement among Syrians in Europe.

Susanne Bygnes


Thursday January 31st the workshop continued with presentations on perceptions of asylum seekers, national and local dynamics and European management of migration, by Lise Bjånesøy, Susanne Bygnes, Ingalill Herstad, Hege Høivik Bye, Elisabeth Ivarsflaten and Guri Tyldum. Studies from readically different contexts during the same period documented exclusionary reactions in local comunities, but case studies from both Greek (Charitopoulou) and Norwegian (Bye, Bygnes, Ivarsflaten) local communtities indicated that physical proximity to asylum seekers promted more inclusive attitudes among local populations. Differences between reactions at the national and local level across contexts were also discussed in connection with the emerging IMEX book project (Bye, Bygnes, Ivarsflaten). The workshop ended with a discussion on "New perspectives in the wake of the refugee crisis".

Participants in discussion

Seminar participants continuing the discussion during the break.

Susanne Bygnes


Full program: 

Imagining and experiencing through normality and crisis: new perspectives in the wake of the 2015 refugee situation


Day 1: Wednesday 30 January @ DIGSSCORE Rosenbergsgaten 35, 3rd floor

Welcome and presentations, PI IMEX Susanne Bygnes

9:15-10:00 Project: Syrian Imaginations of Europe:

Paper: Stay, return or move on: Involuntary immobility and future imaginations of Syrian forced migrants in Beirut and Tripoli. Lea Muller Funk, Marie Curie Fellow, Amsterdam University 

10:00-10:45 Project presentation: Normality and Crisis: Memories of Everyday Life in Syria as a Chance for a New Start in Germany  Katharina Lange, Principal Investigator, ZMO Berlin

15 minutes break

11:00-11:45 IMEX, WP 1: Syrians in Norway 

Paper: Stigma and privilege in the wake of the 2015 ‘refugee crisis’: The symbolic value of work, leisure and gender relations. Susanne Bygnes, Principal Investigator, University of Bergen 

11:45-12:30 Project: IMEX, WP 1: Patterns of Transnational Political Engagement among Syrians in Europe

Amany Selim, PhD-fellow IMEX, University of Bergen  

Lunch 12:30-13:30

13:30-14:15 Project: The European refugee crisis in Greece: understanding host communities

Paper: The role of situational dynamics in determining attitudes towards asylum seekers. Effrosyni Charitopoulou, PhD-fellow, Oxford University

14:15-15:00 Project IMEX WP 2: qualitative local community data

Paper: Norwegian local communities’ dynamics of involvement with ‘the refugee issue’. Susanne Bygnes and Ingalill Herstad, University of Bergen

30 minutes break

15:30-16:15 Project presentation: The governance of reception facilities for refugees in Luxembourg: local and global perspectives. Lucas Oesch, Principal Investigator, University of Luxemburg

Wrap up


Day 2: Thursday 31 Jaunary @ Faculty of Social Sciences Fosswinckelsgate 6, 9th floor

9:15-10:00 Paper: Effects of the refugee crisis on perceptions of asylum seekers in recipient population Lise Bjånesøy, PhD-fellow, University of Bergen

10:00-10:45 IMEX WP 2, book project: The Refugee Crisis and Its Aftermath: understanding local-national dynamics

Paper: Comparing local and national level perceptions of change and polarization after the refugee crisis. Hege Høivik Bye, Susanne Bygnes and Elisabeth Ivarsflaten, University of Bergen

11:15-12:00 Project presentation: European Management of Migration and Refugees - consequences for mobility and political stability in transit countries. Guri Tyldum, Principal Investigator, Fafo, Oslo

12-13: Lunchbreak 13-14

Discussion: New perspectives in the wake of the refugee crisis