VBJK Center for Innovation in the Early Years

What a great opportunity to do an internship in a successful organization like vbjk Center for Innovation in the Early Years! Besides working on early childhood, this organization has several projects on education and migration issues, topics that are central in my PhD thesis. Project management training and being involved in one project are my two aims as an intern at VBJK.

Action research on how to work with children and their parents from ethnic minority background is one of the main themes of VBJK, which is a research center certified by the Federal Government. It started in 1986 with action research projects.


An action research project on accessibility of early childhood education and care is implemented by VBJK in Brussels (2004- today) in order to improve accessibility of child care centers for newcomers (refugees and newly arriving immigrants) who were taking languages courses, integration courses or and other training. Besides this project funded by the Brussels Regional government, VBJK also coordinates 2 intervision trajectories, commissioned by Kind en Gezin,  for the pedagogical co-ordinators of umbrella organisations in daycare, with the focus on diversity and inclusion.

VBJK collaborated on a report, published by Eurofound, on accessibility and quality of services. The report describes good practices gathered in the form of case studies that have been evaluated and that describe additional resources for the inclusion in mainstream ECEC services of children with disabilities or learning difficulties, those in a vulnerable social situation and those who belong to disadvantaged groups. You can read the report here.



KeKi Children’s Rights Knowledge Center, Ghent, Belgium

During my first days of my international mobility as a PhD candidate in Ghent, Belgium, I had the possibility to visit The Children’s Rights Knowledge Centre (KeKi). This non-profit organization, financed by the Flemish government, aims to gather, make available, disseminate and stimulate knowledge about children’s rights.

keki-panouPhoto by C. Carmen Draghici

With the help of a young and enthusiastic team (see photo), Kathy Vlieghe, the coordinator of KeKi developed a vision based on 4 principles: scientific research based activities, interdisciplinary approach and critical-emancipatory of children’s rights and balance between involvement and distance.

keki-echipaPhoto by C. Carmen Draghici


This organization aims to embrace a broad vision on children’s rights, which, among other things, takes into account the children’s voice.

For more info see http://www.keki.be/en. They have a large data base available on-line, don’t hesitate to check it!

Bourdieu and the habitus (simple explanation)

Poverty-aware Social Work: A Paradigm for Social Work Practice with People in Poverty, Michal Krumer-Nevo, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (Israel)

Participating to a conference at the  Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences of Ghent University in Belgium can be enriching. It’s the case of the conference with Professor Michal Krumer-Nevo, from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (Israel), who is a faculty member at the Spitzer Department of Social Work, and the director of the Israeli Center for Qualitative Research of People and Societies. Her work involves employing and developing critical qualitative research methods, initiating an academic and field program for social workers in poverty aware practice (PAP). In the conference of today, she presented the paradigm of PAP poverty aware practice.

conference-michal-ugentPhoto by Carmen Draghici

One of the interesting things that Prof. Michal Krumer-Nevo  presented was the ethical aspect that should be taken in account in the social work context. For her, social workers should stand by people in poverty in their everyday resistance of poverty. Moreover, social workers behave as partners of poor people and act with empathy toward people in poverty in their everyday interaction.

For more details about this research, take a look on the article and the abstract below:

Krumer-Nevo, M., Weiss-Gal, I., Monnickendam, M. (2009). « Poverty-aware Social Work Practice: A Conceptual Framework for Social Work Education », Journal of Social Work Education, vol 45, no 2, p 225-243.

Despite the profound commitment of social work toward people living in poverty, the social work profession has failed to develop practice based on awareness of poverty. This article shows the ways in which poverty became a marginal issue in social work practice, reviews the literature on teaching poverty in international context, and then explicates the expected educational results and the main course and fieldwork contents. The proposed framework for poverty-aware social work education includes knowledge acquisition, structuring of professional values, skills development, and experiencing. A consideration of the ways in which this content may be integrated into the existing social work curriculum concludes this article.


HOW TO BUILD AN ACADEMIC CAREER?Insights from the transatlantic IMISCOE PhD Summer School 2016, Princeton University

This year I had the great opportunity to attend the first transatlantic IMISCOE PhD Summer school, organised by IMISCOE and Princeton University, which took place between 7th -13th of August 2016. One of the sessions was held as a discussion with Professor Marco Martiniello (see link), and Professor Maurice Crul (see link) on the topic of the academic career. The discussion started with the advises provided from their own experience of academic path, and this blog post is meant to share some of them.

imiscoePhoto by C. Carmen Draghici: PhD summer school, Princeton University, Wallace building

So, what are the steps to take, or the rules to follow for as successful career? There is no miracle solution or perfect way to achieve an academic career! But here are the main ideas that you should take into account when building an academic career that the two professors shared with the PhD students during summer school:

  1. Originality : think of your own project « What do I want to be seen by others as an expert? »
  2. Networking : keep in touch with academic circles, where you can hear about job opportunities
  3. Have something to say in the public domain (e.g : migration is a societal aspect)
  4. Be hard-working
  5. Take advantage of opportunities when they arise
  6. Be socially and politically committed (try to change something in this world)

Ans some other tips:

  • Accept job positions even if they don’t fit at 100% with your research topic and interests (you need to pay your rent!)
  • Not always do what people tell you to do, follow your own ideas and projects
  • Develop your own line of research
  • Trust your supervisor, but not at 100% (it’s your thesis!)
  • Be aware of your responsibility – work also for the people where you live
  • Make personal choices : big or small university, permanent or temporary position, different locations etc
  • Take into account side projects
  • Quitting is not an option!
  • Don’t be satisfied, always look for new challenges, new projects! Be enthusiast!
  • PhD is a resource  also outside academia (e.g.: ONG)

Now that you have secrets revealed, good luck in finding the ideal job in the academia!

Quelle expérience de l’enfance dans le camp des réfugiés à Calais?

En tant que doctorante en deuxième année, et ayant comme sujet de thèse l’interculturalité et les familles migrantes, j’ai participé au stage de terrain USPC sur la migration à Calais. Une des questions principales que j’ai observé est autour de l’expérience des enfants dans les camps des réfugiés.

Ce qui m’a touché le plus dans ce terrain de recherche a été le niveau de vie des enfants qui étaient privés d’une alimentation saine, de vêtements propres, d’une vraie maison, d’une éducation scolaire normale et d’autres éléments importants pour leur développement, comme par exemple des jeux et des jouets, des livres et de la musique etc. Ces sentiments envers les enfants sont renforcés par une certaine conception occidentale de l’enfance que j’ai, qui considère les enfants comme des êtres innocents, ayant une vulnérabilité particulière, et qui nécessitent la protection des adultes. Pourtant, ce qui m’a frappé encore plus est la capacité des enfants de rentrer dans une bulle qui paraît hors de la réalité tragique dans laquelle ils se retrouvent, et prendre leur place d’enfant, comme tous les autres enfants du monde. Dès mon premier accès dans le camp, j’ai pu observer des enfants, ayant un âge entre 5 et 10 ans, qui jouaient des jeux de ballons. Des cris d’enfant, des exclamations de joie, ou tout simplement des rigolades spécifiques à cet âge me paraissait uniques dans ce contexte de souffrance.

baloane copii calais

J’ai ainsi constaté des caractéristiques spécifiques à une culture enfantine qui est « une culture identifiable à des enfants, à une époque et un lieu donné, et en même temps une culture reflétant l’enfance, la condition universelle d’être un jeune être humain, un enfant. » (Carpentier 2011). Cette dimension universelle de l’enfance est traduite par d’autres exemples empiriques observés dans le camp. Par exemple, dans le camp de Grande-Synthe, en me rapprochant d’un groupe de réfugiés, une petite fille de 2 ans et 9 mois, me regarde et je lui souris. Ensuite, elle prend ma main et me conduit vers une source d’eau. Là, en utilisant une communication non-verbale, elle me demande de mettre de l’eau dans un arrosoir, et je le fait. Ce jeu continue, et la fille me dirige vers des pots de fleurs qu’un des hommes du groupe avait plantées. La fille arrose les plantes. J’essaie de parler avec elle en anglais. Je ne suis pas sure si elle comprend, mais elle répète des mots que je prononce. Mon expérience antérieure auprès des jeunes enfants a encouragé le contact avec cette petite fille. Le jeu est un langage que les enfants comprennent et qu’ils utilisent dans leurs interactions.

scoala      IMG_20160628_170508

Privilégier une certaine normalité de l’enfance est aussi le but de « l’Ecole laïque des dunes », qui met en place des cours d’école pour les enfants du camp de Calais. Pour Nathalie, une enseignante bénévole, qui prend de son temps libre pour donner des cours toutes les semaines, « l’objectif de cette classe est de faire renouer les enfants avec une scolarité, qui a été fracturée par leur déplacement, par leur histoire ». Dans ce contexte, d’autres éléments spécifiques à la culture enfantine peuvent être observés, comme l’enthousiasme, la joie, la volonté d’apprendre. Cette école offre aux enfants du camp la possibilité d’apprendre, comme tous les autres enfants, même si dans des conditions beaucoup plus précaires. Les enfants vivent entre les expulsions et l’attente d’aller en Angleterre, mais cette école permet d’offrir un cadre, un contexte plus sécurisant, avec des personnes avec lesquelles ils peuvent avoir des relations de confiance. Les bénévoles qui s’impliquent au quotidien connaissent les enfants par leurs prénom, et même leurs famille, car elles vont les chercher chaque jour avant les cours, dans les caravanes du camp. Ainsi, elles connaissent leurs joies, mais aussi leurs souffrances. Par exemple, Nathalie explique que beaucoup de dessins des enfants illustrent deux maisons et le trajet entre les deux. D’autres dessins, avec de la pluie qui tombent, peuvent faire référence aux derniers grenades lacrymogènes lancées par les autorités de l’état français, que les enfants aussi ont dû subir, note Nathalie. Le français et l’anglais sont utilisés comme langues d’enseignement dans cette école.


Références biblographiques

CARPENTIER, C.H., (2011), « Les universaux de la culture enfantine » in Cultures enfantines : universalité et diversité, Arleo, A., Delalande, J. (dir.), Rennes : PUR.


Planning the fieldwork in Calais. Women&Children’s Center

The time to go to Calais for the doctoral internship is coming soon, so I am trying to get ready for it. If at the beginning I was kind of stressed and anxious about the security issues in « the jungle » ( the name for the slums at Calais ), I am getting more and more reassurance by finding out the details of our fieldwork. The organisers (two professors of INALCO, Paris) decided to get us involved in the activities of the associations that are already working with the refugees in the camps. There are 80% Anglophone associations, and the one I will be a volunteer for is Women and Children’s Center .Lead by Liz Clegg, they run daily activities, provide essential care, supplies and services necessary to support children, women and babies. I will have the possibility to meet there women and children – especially young unaccompanied child refugees, often coming from Afghanistan, certain Syrian families, and young women from Ethiopia, Eritrea, Iran, Iraq. According to Prof Alexandra Galitzine, one of the leaders of our research team, the Women & Children’s Center (W&CC) is run by people who are very familiar with the camp, and it is a safe place. There is a convivial atmosphere, although the camp traumas can also be noticed. 

There are two main activities that I will be able to attend and participate to. Firstly, the Beauty Day, held on Saturdays, is reserved only for women and girls (no man admitted). It is a special time for the women in the camp who want to take care of themselves: nail painting is one of the main activities during this time. Since I have some experience as a hairdresser, and I really like nail painting, I think I could make good use of my skills in the camp, while being a participant observer as a researcher.

351510__1458584001895Source: W&CC

Secondly, the center has a double decker bus inside « the jungle ». According to the center’s volunteering document, the top deck of the bus fonctions as an educational playspace for children under the age of 10. Here they organise classes and games and other educational activities. These will be a good opportunity for me to benefit from my long experience with young children in intercultural contexts and from my volunteer work with Roma children in the Parisian slums at the street library workshop.

I am looking forward to volunteer at W&CC in Calais!


Prague 2016The 13th IMISCOE Annual Conference will take place in Prague, 30 June – 2 July 2016. The conference covers the theme ‘Migration and Development’ and will be organized by the Geographic Migration Centre (GEOMIGRACE) at Charles University in Prague.

This year’s conference received more than 400 proposals. After a rigorous review, the Conference Committee (chaired by Dušan Drbohlav of GEOMIGRACE) has accepted about 200 proposals for 84 sessions, including research panels, policy workshops, book workshops and a number of working sessions for IMISCOE’s research clusters and standing committees.

My paper was accepted for the panel  ‘Formal and informal learning practices of migrant and refugee families and youth’, organised by IMISCOE Research Initiative “Migrant families, children and youth: intergenerational and everyday perspectives”. I am very happy to present my work on « Migrant Families and Informal Learning through Everyday Experiences in Formal Contexts of French educational settings for young children ». Below you can read the abstract of this presentation.

Abstract: School is generally regarded as a formal educational institution. However, alongside formal learning, students attend an informal learning, which can take different forms, depending on situation and people they meet in this context. For migrant children, school is one of the main place where they can learn the language, as well as social and cultural codes. Along with children who attend French preschool (ecole maternelle in this study), transnational families experience informal learning during their everyday experiences in the receiving society. Drawing from a qualitative study, the objective of this research is to analyse interculturality, which integrates both insertion in the environment of the host country and appropriation of home culture and language of migrant children. How children experience and melt different cultural repertoires (Rogoff et al., 2006) in their daily life? Children learn through situations in everyday life that have no educational means a priori: conversations, walks, television and other entertainment (Brougère, 2002). What are these situations children meet in preschool and how do they provide (or not) informal learning? What are some cultural aspects that are transmitted through intergenerational relations in migrant families?

The children who are on the border between two cultures and their point of view are central to our research. The issue of interculturality that we want to analyze takes into account the child’s relationships with parents, stakeholders and peers in the context of cultural diversity of the French preschool. A central aspect of our research is represented by the linguistic diversity.


Brougère, G. (2002), « Jeu et loisir comme espaces d’apprentissages informels ». In Éducation et Sociétés, 10, 5-20.

ROGOFF, B., MOORE L., NAJAFI B., DEXTER A., CORREA-CHAVEZ M., SOLIS J., (2006): « Children’s Development of Cultural Repertoires through Participation in
Everyday Routines and Practices ». In J. Grusec and P. Hastings, Handbook of Socialization. NY, Guilford.


Stage de terrain doctoral sur les réfugiés à Calais, France


Migrants CalaisL’USPC (Université Sorbonne Paris Cité) organise un stage de terrain doctoral sur les réfugiés dans la ville française de Calais, le 24-28 Juin 2016. J’ai été choisi pour participer à ce stage et je suis impatiente d’y aller. C’est une expérience passionnante à la fois en raison du lieu et du  thème de ce stage. Mon équipe, sous la responsabilité du professeur Marie-Caroline Saglio Yatzimirsky (INALCO, Cessma) se concentrera sur les aspects anthropologiques et linguistiques des camps de réfugiés à Calais, et d’une autre ville proche – Grande-Synthe. Afin de préparer ce stage, les organisateurs proposent une conférence: ETATS MIGRATOIRES & ESPACES CAMPS, le 31 mai, à l’INALCO. Pour plus d’informations, s’il vous plaît cliquez ici

PhD fieldwork internship on refugees in Calais, France

Migrants Calais

The USPC (Université Sorbonne Paris Cité) organises a PhD internship in the fieldwork of refugees in the French city Calais from 24-28 June 2016. I was selected to participate to this internship and I am looking forward to attend it. It is an exciting experience because of the place and the topic of this internship. My team, under the supervision of Professor Marie-Caroline Saglio Yatzimirsky (INALCO, Cessma) will focus on the anthropological and linguistic aspects of the camps of refugees in Calais and another near city – Grande-Synthe. In order to prepare this internship, the organizers propose a conference : ETATS MIGRATOIRES & ESPACES CAMPS, on the 31st of May, at INALCO. For more info, please click here http://www.sorbonne-paris-cite.fr/sites/default/files/je_etats_migratoires_et_espaces_camps_definitif_0.pdf

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