The SIRIUS International Academic Conference took place in Glasgow from Wednesday 28th to Friday 30th August at the campus of Glasgow Caledonian University. Researchers from across Europe and beyond presented and discussed the very latest research findings dealing with legal, political, social, economic, and biographical aspects at the intersection of migration and the labour market.
Along with sessions that brought together researchers from different disciplines and contexts, the conference hosted four excellent key note speeches: Professor Christina Boswell from the University of Edinburgh kicked off the conference with a thought-provoking presentation about the role of states and the production of ‘ignorance’ when confronted with key social issues that come with the settling of unauthorised migrants; Professor Barbara Oomen, from the University of Utrecht, drew upon her research project ‘Cities of Refuge’ to showcase examples of new forms of de facto urban citizenship promoted by European cities in their innovative pathways towards the integration of newcomers; Dr. Ima Jackson, from Glasgow Caledonian University, illustrated the piloting of the first skills assessment programme for refugees supported by the Scottish Government along with her own experience as a black woman navigating the health profession and academia in the UK; finally, Dr. Amparo Gonzalez-Ferrer, from the Spanish National Research Council, discussed the weaknesses and loopholes in European policies ostensibly designed to facilitate infra-EU circular migration by presenting longitudinal work-permit related data from her EU Horizon 2020 project TEMPER.
Moreover, the conference offered attendees a special advance screening of its new documentary entitled ‘WORKERS’, which provides first-hand accounts from migrants and refugees who speak about their experiences and perceptions about settling in a new country as well as the perceptions of non-migrant workers on the newly arrived workers. The documentary also offers the perspective of employers who talk about some of the challenges of labour market integration. The documentary maker, Mr Alberto Bougleux, was in attendance and had the privilege to present his work and discuss with conference participants how visual arts contribute to a better understanding of migration and employment in Europe.
At the final panel of the conference, the session chairs comprised of members of the SIRIUS team reflected on the themes which emerged from the conference. Finally, the organisers, led by Project Coordinator Professor Simone Baglioni expressed their thanks to each of the presenters and participants who attended the conference for making the event such a success.