Maastricht Migration Seminar: Welcoming spaces in peripherised regions: Shrinkage + demographic changes = better futures?

  • DATE / TIME:
    2022•11•16    15:00 - 16:00

    Prof. Dr. Maggi Leung, University of Amsterdam

    In this seminar, the objectives, conceptual foundation and preliminary finding of the Welcoming Spaces (WS) programme, funded by the Horizon 2020 scheme of the European Commission, will be presented. The WS idea arose in 2019, at a time when European states were spending huge amount of resources on anti-migration policies and practices (e.g. Frontex, migration deals, detention centres, deportations and reception centres) while numerous declining, remote areas have been “left behind” in need of investments. WS aims to identify new ways to merge these two policy challenges: how to offer space to migrants and refugees while improving the well-being of EU citizens in “shrinking” regions. This coincides with European Commission’s new “long-term vision for the EU’s rural areas” which was launched in the summer of 2021, proposing a new “Rural Pact”. Rather than considering newcomers only as needy receivers of care, we consider newcomers and “locals” as two sides of the same coin. Instead of two separate groups with one giving and one taking, we see them as one community (while not assuming homogeneity or harmony) actively engaged in daily place-making and emplacement. Drawing on preliminary findings of our research conducted in Italy, Spain, Germany, the Netherlands and Poland, this seminar will illustrate the diversity of welcoming spaces we have encountered. It offers an analysis of the importance of contexts (history, geography and socio-political positionality), governance structure and actor-network constellations in the rise and fall of welcoming spaces. The presentation will showcase some of the co-creative work the research team has been doing with communities of practice, and introduce a few new questions that we have begun to ask (among others, the impact of the war in Ukraine on welcoming spaces in our case countries).

    About the speaker

    Maggi Leung is Professor in International Development Studies at the Department of Geography, Planning and International Development Studies of the University of Amsterdam. Her research focuses on the uneven geographies of migration, mobilities and development, internationalization of education and labor regimes, knowledge and skill (im)mobilities, Chinese transnationalism, investments and engagements for/by/with newcomers in “shrinking” regions in Europe as well activism against racialised injustice. She has published on these topics in a range of geography and social science journals. She is one of the editors of Geoforum and has served as a guest editor for special issues on topics regarding migration and skills, Chinese transnationalism and welcoming spaces in Europe. Her current research programmes include Welcoming Spaces ( and VISION: Envisioning Convivial Europe (

    Please join the Migration Seminar by accessing the following Zoom link:

    Please note that this seminar will be recorded. You can find the previous Migration Seminars at UNU-MERIT’s Youtube Channel.

    Venue: Zoom

    Date: 16 November 2022

    Time: 15:00 – 16:00  CET