Europe in a changing world - OPPORTUNITIES


marcocaracciolo.jpgBased on a collaboration between universities and (non-governmental) organizations in twelve European and African countries, OPPORTUNITIES aims to create a “level telling field” for stories of migration in Europe. Coordinated by Professor Roy Sommer (University of Wuppertal, Germany) and the Belgian NGO BEWEGING, the project stages a critical intervention in order to facilitate story-based encounters between migrants, local communities, and policy-makers.

Project description

The humanitarian tragedy of 2015-16 fueled anti-European sentiment, allowing populists to successfully reframe the refugee crisis as a crisis of Europe itself. OPPORTUNITIES shows how we can move beyond this current impasse by creating a forward-looking and productive debate grounded in new principles for a fair dialogue on immigration and successful integration. These new principles form what we call a level telling field: Adopting the economic metaphor of the “level playing field” (i.e., “fair play” in the single market), we propose, apply, evaluate, and advocate “fair storytelling” in the migration debate. Based on the principle of multi-perspectivity, an ethics of listening, and a politics of recognition, this new debate strategically unites African countries of origin and transit with European countries of arrival and destination. Our collaboration establishes level telling fields on local levels, initiating encounters and conversations among migrants, citizens, and stakeholders. These “cross-talk” experiments, creating and re-enacting experiential narratives of migration and integration in local communities, build on, and are supported by, novel theoretical concepts as well as qualitative and quantitative research on national and transnational migration discourses in the media. We seek in this way to demonstrate, in both theory and practice, how a reactive mode of crisis management can be transformed into a shared new narrative of integration, using the potential of stories to foster cross-cultural understanding. OPPORTUNITIES uses an innovative dissemination strategy which includes policy recommendations promoting level telling field rules and a touring stage production by a leading European theatre company to re-open a fair dialogue on migration. In the short term, this will allow for a new consensus to emerge in local conversations; in the long run, it will have a significant and lasting impact on how we envision opinion-making in the European public sphere.


These are the objectives of OPPORTUNITIES:

  • Investigating the significance of storytelling in framing the European discourse on migration in the news media and political discourse.
  • Developing new stories of and on migration, particularly surrounding the 2015 migrant crisis in Europe.
  • Translating academic insights about narrative and migration into concrete societal interventions and outreach opportunities.

Role of Ghent University

Ghent University will lead the work package that focuses on the narratological (qualitative) analysis of migration discourse in print and online media in Italy, Germany, Austria, Hungary, Ghana, and Senegal.



Prof. Marco Caracciolo
Department of Literary Studies
Phone number: +32 9 264 36 91