From 18th to 20th June 2019 the Department of Political Science of the University of Bari “Aldo Moro” hosted “The Migration Conference 2019”.
The Migration Conference (TMC) is the largest academic event focusing on migration issues at international level. TMC is a point of reference for all the major experts in the sector, as well as for all those who are interested in a constructive and informed debate on human mobility and its impacts on countries of departure, transit and arrival and on the whole world.
The Conference is a discussion forum where academics, politicians, professionals, young researchers and students working in the field and coming from all over the world are encouraged to exchange their knowledge and experiences in a free and friendly environment.
During the conference we had the opportunity to present the results of two of our research works with Unaccompanied and Separated Children (UASC) to a wide international audience and to listen to interesting opinions, suggestions and perspectives of many colleagues.
Francesca Viola presented the results of her work entitled “Voluntary and Legal Guardianship for Unaccompanied and Separated Children in Italy” based on interviews and discussion groups with UACS in the city of Palermo. The research study, carried out with the approval of the Children’s Ombudsperson of the Municipality of Palermo, tries to understand the point of view of the children on the new system of voluntary protection introduced by the Zampa Law in April 2017. From the narratives of the children, it strongly emerged that the accompaniment of an adult with whom they build a relationship of trust outside the reception system helps them to socialise with the inhabitants of the city, to participate in the various activities proposed, to continue their studies or to start more satisfying and regularized apprenticeship and work paths, and in general to feel better and to pursue their own dreams and aspirations.
Additionally, during one of the sessions dedicated to the theme “Technology and Migration”, Francesca and Maria Rosaria presented the four-handed article “Unaccompanied and Separated Children (UASC) and Digital Media: an exploratory research in Southern Italy” published in the Polish journal “Culture and Education” by the University of Warsaw. This is a qualitative research carried out in Puglia interviewing UACS in discussion groups to understand what their relationship with digital media is. Generally speaking, migrants are only and exclusively associated with topics such as “reception” and “integration”. This study is instead primarily a study on adolescents, before then a research on migrants. As such, UASC are subject to risks and opportunities when they surf the Internet, just like their European peers.
The choice of this research topic, which uses methodological tools produced by the Global Kids Online initiative, derives from the desire to include in the analysis this particular group of adolescents – migrant adolescents – and, why not, to better understand which are the latest generation apps for communicating overseas.