You are now in the main content area

Scholars of Excellence Workshop – Talking about migration: Words, data, images

October 01, 2024
9:30 AM EDT - 4:00 PM EDT
Hybrid (In person at CERC Migration office / online via Zoom)
Scholars of Excellence Workshop branded banner

The Scholars of Excellence Workshop series includes in-depth sessions where international scholars are invited to contribute to complex topics of interest to the academic community. 

Our October 1 workshop is co-convened by CERC Scholar of Excellence Daniel Hiebert, Professor Emeritus University of British Columbia, Steven Vertovec, Director, Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity and Anna Triandafyllidou, Chair, CERC Migration.

Public discourse on migration can best be described as polarized and even toxic in a number of countries. Italy, the Netherlands, the U.K., and of course the U.S. come quickly to mind. Even in Canada, where public attitudes about immigration have been highly supportive over a long period of time, we have recently seen concerns raised about the scale of temporary migration programs (international students) and permanent immigration.

In this workshop, we will explore two aspects related to public opinion on migration. First, how do people acquire and process information about migration, and how does this shape their understanding and views about it? Our world is saturated with information as well as misinformation. How do people choose which mis/information to trust and absorb? Why do some people form strong opinions about migration while others consider it a minor issue in their lives? To what extent is this an individual vs. collective process?

Second, what are the most effective ways of presenting information about migration to the public? Are there strategies to ‘cut through the noise’ and capture peoples’ attention? What kinds of messages resonate? This part of the workshop will explore the potential to affect public understanding of migration through the presentation of factual information, particularly as visualized data that may enable viewers to reach a deeper understanding of how migration is affecting society by ‘seeing’ and interacting with information/data. The workshop is designed to inform efforts to mobilize research toward greater public understanding and should appeal to scholars, policy officials and media representatives.

Stein Monteiro, Conference Board of CanadaWorkshop Agenda
9–9:30 AM EST Welcome coffee
9:30–10 AM EST Opening remarks: Anna Triandafyllidou, CERC Migration, Dan Hiebert, Steven Vertovec
10 AM –12:45 PM EST

MORNING PANEL: How do we understand and process information on migration?

Chair: Anna Triandafyllidou

Co-chair: Irina Isaakyan, Toronto Metropolitan University

 (PDF file) How should we interpret public opinion data about immigration? | Andrew Parkin, Environics Institute

 (PDF file) How do people form their judgements on migration-related issues | Jonas Kunst, University of Oslo

 (PDF file) Fair protection: Public perceptions of fairness in asylum decision-making | Lenka Drazanova, European University Institute

 (PDF file) Visual narratives of human smuggling: Analysing social media imagery in migration services | Alice Massari, University of Copenhagen and CERC Migration; Luigi Achilli, European University Institute

Discussant: Line Patry, IRCC

12:45–1:45 PM EST Lunch break
1:45 PM –4:30 PM EST

AFTERNOON PANEL: How can we effectively communicate migration data knowledge to a broader audience of stakeholders?

Chair: Stein Monteiro, Conference Board of Canada 

Co-chair: Sarah Hoyos Hoyos, CERC Migration

Steven Vertovec and Dan Hiebert introducing the Superdiversity data visualization project.

Roundtable participants:

  • Natalia Banulescu-Bogdan, Migration Policy Institute
  • Kerry Lynn Maze, Global Migration Data Centre, IOM
  • John Lauermann, Pratt Institute 
  • Ali Mazalek, Synaesthetic Media Lab, Toronto Metropolitan University
  • Neil Ruiz, Pew Research Centre
4:15–4:30 PM EST Reflections and concluding remarks

Biographies of roundtable participants

Natalia Banulescu-Bogdan is Deputy Director of MPI’s International Program, where she oversees the Institute’s comparative work on social cohesion, migration and development, global governance, and climate. She has authored numerous publications on social integration and identity, public opinion and narratives, and international cooperation on migration, with a particular focus on Europe and Latin America. She is also a Nonresident Fellow with MPI Europe. Ms. Banulescu-Bogdan has represented MPI at international events and processes such as the Global Forum on Migration and Development, the International Migration Review Forum, the Group of Friends of the Quito Process, working groups of the Los Angeles Declaration on Migration and Protection, and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s working group on migration communication (NETCOM). She regularly advises governments and international organizations on the design and implementation of migration policies and programs, including on topics such as combating xenophobia, targeting development investments, and designing effective communications strategies around migration.

John Lauermann is an associate professor at Pratt Institute in New York City, where he teaches GIS and data visualization in the School of Information (external link) . He also directs the Spatial Analysis & Visualization Initiative (external link) , a research center focused on spatial data and visual storytelling. He is an urban geographer whose research uses GIS to analyze how gentrification impacts the built environment of US cities. That work has been published in two books and 25+ articles, in journals such as Annals of the American Association of Geographers and Journal of the American Planning Association. His current work, funded by the National Science Foundation, is building a US national gentrification database and dashboard, to enable researchers, activists, and policy stakeholders to design custom gentrification indices and map/visualize the results

Alexandra (Ali) Mazalek is Professor and Canada Research Chair, Digital Media and Innovation at Toronto Metropolitan University. Ali works at the forefront of trends in computing and interaction design that support a tighter integration of the physical and digital worlds. She designs and develops tangible and embodied interaction systems that enable people to be more creative across both science and art disciplines. Her research interests include the design and application of emerging physical sensing and digital media technologies to areas such as narrative expression, abstract thinking and scientific modeling, as well as the study and use of embodied cognition as a framework for tangible and embodied interaction design. She has published her research in a range of academic journals, delivered guest lectures in both academia and industry, and exhibited her media art works and interfaces at numerous galleries and festivals. Ali founded and directs the Synaesthetic Media Lab (Synlab) at Toronto Met and Georgia Tech, a research playground where physical materials, analog sensors, and digital media happily co-exist and come together in novel ways to support creativity and expression. Research is supported by industry and government organizations, including Intel, Steelcase, Turner, Google, National Science Foundation and Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.

Kerry-Lynn Maze is the Sr. Knowledge Management Coordinator at the IOM Global Data Institute. She leads the Data Platforms team, which includes the management of the Migration Data Portal and the UN Migration Network’s Migration Network Hub. Prior, she served the role of Sr. Migration Crisis Analyst within IOM’s Department of Operations and Emergencies, and Researcher for the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research. In between these roles, she freelanced for various UN entities, Regional Organizations, Member States, and multi-stakeholder partnerships in the areas of research, analysis, inter-agency coordination and knowledge management. She holds a Master of Arts (International Relations) degree from McGill University, Montreal, and a certificate in Shakespearean Theater from the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts, London. Kerry-Lynn shares Canadian and British nationalities, calling the small Atlantic province of Prince Edward Island home, regardless of where she lives. 

Neil G. Ruiz is Pew Research Center’s Head of New Research Initiatives. In this role, he is responsible for inspiring and advancing new opportunities for organizational growth and evolution. Neil is the principal investigator of the Center’s comprehensive study of Asian Americans, which received the 2023 Inclusive Voices Award from the American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR). He has a background in applying demographic, qualitative, and survey research methods in the U.S. (external link)  and around the world (external link) . Prior to joining the Center, Neil worked as a migration and economic development expert at the Brookings Institution, the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank. He was also the executive director of the Center for Law, Economics and Finance at George Washington University. He is a political economist with a Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, a master’s degree from Oxford University, and a bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Berkeley.