Our Post-Industrial cities have become more diverse. There are many different types of people, ethnicities and nationalities, living in our cities, yet this diversity is not represented in political participation and decision making in local government and across public, private sector and community life.
This open workshop held in person during the UNIC CityLabs Festival in Oulu invited delegates from across the 10 UNIC cities and Universities, that either work with or have personal experience of this phenomenon to explore this challenge and consider opportunities to connect across our European cities for learning, exhcnage and collaborative action.
It was hosted by Cork CityLab partners who are working on this Challenge in their City; Community Partners Dr. Naomi Masheti and Fionnuala O'Connell from Cork Migrant Centre, Research Assistant Hugo Santi and project support Ciara O'Halloran, UCC. Cork partners were joined by Veli-pekka Pelkonen from Oulu's Multicultural Centre Villa Victor who shared their experience of supporting migrants in Oulu.
Cork CityLabs have taken a community-led approach to exploring this topic locally in their City and to identify barriers and opportunities to participation. Many CityLab activities and engaged researchers across UNIC have equally been working on societal challenges in related and similar spaces. This session was a key opportunity for colleagues to connect, exchange and consider opportunities to connect across the UNIC cities, working together with CSOs to co-create best practice engaged, participatory and partnership initiatives and actions.
The workshop identified a key opportunity and appetite to connect across the UNIC cities on this topic, particularly to support connections with and between community-led, grassroots supports and services and research and academia.
As next steps, Cork CityLabs committed to hosting an online gathering to connect with CSO's from across the UNIC cities in Autumn 2022.
As an immediate first action they committed to provide an open online tool to support initiatial information sharing to:
- help map and identify community groups and organisations active in this space across the UNIC cities,
- share learning and experience though examples of what work's well - where cities can highlight models, practices and activities that are helping to adress the barriers to migrant participation.
These are now available as an Open Case post here.