Creating a „safe space“ for young forced migrants - combining participatory research and participatory design to develop a technology service facilitating the resettlement process

Project funding:

The partners at the University of Münster are part of the Geoinformatics: Enabling Open Cities - — GEO-C — - project ( funded by the H2020 Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions.

Project description:

In recent years, Germany (and especially the region of Northrhine-Westfalia) has seen an immense increase in migrants, often forced migrants at school age. Among many issues, these adolescents  often struggle to get find their ways around in an alien city and a foreign culture. While many social projects focus on helping these young forced migrants get familiar with language, culture and customs, research projects however often do research ON the YFM rather than WITH them. However, it is crucial to include this particular population group’s needs and perspectives in order to come up with solutions and actions that really help them change their situation.
For that reason, we combine participatory research (PR) and participatory design (PD) to empower young forced migrants to change their practice and to make their voices be heard. Over the course of 6 weeks, we conduct workshops to jointly develop a technological service that responds to the YFMs needs to communicate spatial information in their new living environment.
Creating a „safe space“ is of utmost importance to both methodological approaches. However, there is little evidence on how to ensure a safe space when working with underage forced migrants. The focus of our study is therefore to (1) iteratively develop a technology product that impacts the YFMs life and (2) evaluate didactic methods that support a safe space in a PR/PD-project with forced migrants of school age.

Project partners: 

Ana Bustamante Duarte, Institute of Geoinformatics, University of Münster
Nina Brendel, Institute of Environmental Science and Geography, University of Potsdam
Auriol Degbelo, Institute of Geoinformatics, University of Münster
Christian Kray, Institute of Geoinformatics, University of Münster


Prof. Dr. Nina Brendel

Related Publication:

Duarte, A. M. B., Brendel, N., Degbelo, A., & Kray, C. (2018). Participatory Design and Participatory Research: An HCI Case Study with Young Forced Migrants. ACM Transactions on Computer-Human Interaction (TOCHI), 25(1), 3.