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The last Seed Grant Call produced a variety of compelling proposals dealing with interesting issues on human mobility in different disciplines and fields. While it was difficult to select the true winners from the great variety of innovative and exploratory ideas, IMES with full pleasure presents Ioana Vrăbiescu, and Judith Zijlstra together with Javad M. Parsa as the new Seed Grant winners for 2014-15. Learn more about their insightful projects below.

I. Ioana Vrăbiescu, on her project ‘Roma migrant children in Spain: Between the politics of benevolence and the normalization of violence’. 

This research project engages with the current debate on Roma migrant children and the political practices of child protection that affect immigrant Roma families. Taking Spain as a case-study, this project will tackle the separation of Roma children from their parents and the implementation of “voluntary return” programs for marginalized Roma families from Romania. The focus, more specifically, lies within the allegedly humane logic and benevolent practices of state institutions and civil-society organizations that in fact reflect structural oppression and exclusionary practices against Roma as a group.

Ioana’s efforts to extend the literature on Roma in new directions, by examining the theoretical implications of new governance initiatives in Spain are especially applauded by the IMES directors.

II. Judith Zijlstra and Javad M. Parsa, with their project ‘Photo Documentary of "irregular" transit migrants in Turkey’.

This project aims to produce a photo documentary that will make visible the lives and trajectories of transit migrants in Turkey. The focus will be on how migrants from countries such as Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan attempt to cross over to Europe. While such border crossings are often labelled and combated as ‘irregular migration’, Judith and Javad will question such categorizations by investigating the migrant’s individual stories. In this way they aim to show that, in reality, the dividing lines between ‘regular’ and ‘irregular’ and ‘asylum seeker’ and ‘economic migrant’ are often contested and unclear. In addition, Judith and Javad aim to capture how migrants use Turkey as a transit location or ‘stepping stone’ between East and West, and narrate how migrants experience their life ‘in transit’ and how they view their onward migration to a more preferred destination in the West. The photo documentary is targeted at audiences in both Turkey as well as in European countries, and provides valuable input for debates on migration in these contexts.

Judith and Javad’s efforts in exploring the issue of transit migration in Turkey through both an innovative and exploratory research design has especially been considered valuable by the IMES directors.

IMES congratulates the winners and wishes them the best of luck in their research endeavors, and looks forward to the arising results.