Monday, 22 November 2010

November 2010

Usually in Sweden (or at least here at CUReS in Örebro), academic terms start up slowly and evolve into dynamic periods. Suddenly, you find yourself in mid-term stress when you discover that a lot has to be done before the end of the term. It's at times like these that it can be good to examine the numerous different assignments and the way they relate to each other.

November 2010 is no exception to this rule. Last Thursday and Friday, we've been to Bredsjö for so-called internal seminars. Gathered together with a group of about 20 regional and urban researchers, we discussed our work in three thematic groups: "place and identity", "regional and urban development" and "sustainability and climate change". This resulted in discussions of our to organsie our work here and how to repesent the centre in external communication.

Closely related to this is the general research plan for CUReS, which we discussed at the end of the series of seminars. In between we discussed each other's papers. I commented on Andreas paper and Håkan commented on my paper. Valuable contributions were made in the field of place, space, identity and place marketing. Of course, these sessions were accompanied by an abundance of good food and drinks.

For me personally, this means that I now can continue my work on a course paper for the long-gone course of Geographical perspectives on cultural heritage. This paper was due in the autumn of 2009, when I was on paternity leave. So now I have confronted myslef with a new deadline; I want it toi be finished before the start of the Christmas holidays.

My to-do list in short:
- get rid of the text based on Anholt and Moilanen & Rainisto - these are too much of a consultancy character, rather than an academic character.
- add a more thorough study of Ashworth & Voogd (1990) as well as the other classical texts of place marketing.
- add a discussion on texts about cultural heritage provided in the course literature.

This course paper should then function as a point of departure for my second and third article, about palce marketing and decision making in the context of dutch migration to Sweden in the early 21st century (aka Orange Waves). It is still undecided where and how to draw the line between these to interrelated topics. One thing that should be done however, is to use a more problematising approach to the subjects. For instance, it could be made more political by asking why the swedish municipalities attracting ducth migrnats don't want to make more use of the existing group of asylum seekers and refugees from de Middle East and African countries already residing there. Moreover, I can also ask the Dutch migrants what they are moving away from; do they perhaps see the Dutch society as too multicultural? Do they prefer being (European, white, Christian) immigrants in Sweden over living with (non-European, non-white, non-Christian) immigrants in the Netherlands?

Besides this, we have gatherd in a two-day Nordic Urban Workshop here in Örebro in October 2010. We were about fifteen PhD students from a number of different countries and univeristies in Sweden discussing urban research in general. This resulted in teh start of a network that will hopefully be able to grow and maintain itself at the fore-front of Nordic Urban research.

Meanwhile, I have also been teaching again, at the same course as last spring, when my father so sadly passed away. I feels strangely awkward to take up the same topics and study the same subjects as I was doing then. I am currently reflecting on what to discuss during the two remaining lectures, to be given in early December. These are the lectures that I was simply not able to give last Spring. It looks like I will summarise a PhD course that I took earlier on this year, called "Mobility in time and space". This summary should be about 45 minutes and it will give an overview of the interdisciplinary theme of mobility studies. Another part of the lecture should discuss migration in general and its different types (partly based on the course literure by Khalid Koser). It should also focus on different types of migration in different periods of time.

That would be a good bridge to the final lecture, about international migration to the Swedish countryside. For this lecture, I could rely on my own studies. General overviews of Migration to Sweden during the recent decades should be followed by a specific presentation of Dutch migrants in Sweden. Possibly, I will add a short intercultural seminar on population geography, in order to contribute to "internationalisation at the home ground".

Last but not least, I'm co-organising a meeting with a Swedish Population Geograper's network, to be held here in Örebro on 2 February 2011. This is quite an informal meeting that takes place every year in the early spring (or in Sweden this would be mid-winter). It looks like we have been able to arrange an interesting programme!

More news next-time!