The Journey to Be Longing: An ethnographic research on recreating identities among (forced) migrants in Amsterdam
Tjien Fooh, J.R.S.
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Dominant discourses of migration in the media, tend to reinforce the strongly imagined norm of national and stable communities disrupted by migrants, even when there are many examples of migrants enriching those communities economically and culturally. This ethnography is centered around a creative community in Amsterdam; Makers Unite. Makers Unite is a creative enterprise with a social mission to facilitate access to social and work activities for migrants in the Netherlands. Through methodologies of co-creation, creative empowerment and production of sustainable objects, they aim to start a dialogue, with a view to developing trust and confidence between people with different backgrounds. The past three months, I volunteered with Makers Unite; conducted participant observation in their atelier, various online workshops, and in-depth interviews with 11 creatives linked to the Makers Unite Community. The group of creatives encompasses both people with refugee backgrounds and lifestyle migrants. . Belonging in this context is perceived as a journey, a process that constantly evolves. It consists out of a physical dimension, a place and an emotional dimension, a feeling, something intangible. Building on an intersectional approach and arts-based research methods, this thesis uncovers how these creatives navigate their lives, identity, social networks and a sense of belonging in Amsterdam.