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Event Newsletter #3

    WEMov’s First Annual Meeting  

    By Heidi Martins and Fiona Bakas 

    Women on The Move (WEMov)’s First Annual Meeting was held in the magnificent city of Budapest, Hungary, on September 6-10 2021, just before the beginning of Grant Period 2 (1 Nov 2021 to 31 Oct 2022). After many long-distance meetings, we were all very much looking forward to meeting in-person.  During WEMov’s First Annual Meeting, many fruitful meetings and exchanges took place in-person, and virtually for those who couldn’t make it this time. A hybrid version of the Annual Meeting was kindly set up by our Budapest colleagues.   

    The kick-off meeting with the Core group on Monday 6 September, marked the official beginning of our journey. On that evening, we had the chance to watch documentaries on migration and enjoy an art exhibition held at the Three Ravens Foundation, called “Won’t we be a colony?”. The art exhibition explored how inequalities, cultural differences, and ‘anomalies in the economic order’ are represented in the everyday experiences of people from Central, Eastern and Western Europe. Such wonderful convivial moments throughout the week couldn’t have been possible without the amazing organizational team, namely Clara Coquart, Gabor Egry, Livia Prosinger, Baptiste Richard, and Marie Ruiz.  

    The second day, Tuesday 7 September, started with the Management Committee (MC) meeting. MC members focused on defining and discussing specific WG objectives and the Action’s transversal missions such as the online repository, the landmark digital map, female migrants’ short stories, virtual exhibitions and interviews.

    In the afternoon, we met with the stakeholders in a beautiful setting, the Márai Sándor Cultural Center, thanks to Gabor Egry, who did a wonderful job at gathering fascinating local stakeholders. In the stakeholders’ meeting, we enjoyed the presentations of WEMov’s Chair Marie Ruiz, the Mayor of the Castle district I, Márta V. Naszályi, the press, and two local organisations: the Hungarian Women’s Lobby and She4she.

    After such a fruitful day, nothing could have been better than finishing the day as we did, with a WEMov participants’ networking dinner.

    Wednesday, 8 September was full of WG meetings. As in the previous days, the meetings’ hybrid format was facilitated by Lívia Prosinger, the on-site team’s coordinator, who is now part of the WEMov’ science communication team. Each of the WG meetings aimed at identifying internal needs and projects; to establish possible dates for the next Action meetings and workshops; to envision potential collaborations for the MOOC and co-teaching; and other organizational concerns.

    Between the morning and afternoon Annual Meeting sessions, WEMov members had the opportunity to attend presentations of the MOOC by Nina Drejerska, Irina Matei, Graham Finlay, Snjezana Vasijevic, Marie Ruiz, and the Women at Sea group (Pirita Frigren, Constantin Ardeleanu, Alexandra Yingst, and Julia Stryker); and of the Exhibition “Women on the Move: Unknown stories of women migrant workers across Europe”, by Elaine Moriarty, Janet Laidla, and Stellamarina Donato.

    Thursday 9 September was another productive and interesting day, with presentations and co-publishing workshops from all working groups. With the blended online and in-person participation of WEMov members from around Europe and the discussions of women and migration historically and in the present day, this was an enlightening experience. Excellent research was presented on these topics and lively discussions amongst participants ensued. We also had the opportunity to enjoy a guest talk from Boróka Parászka, who stressed that “Stories are powerful”.

    The WG1 presentations were led by Joana Pujadas-Mora on the theme of “New and old sources to study female migration”. David Cole talked about “Gender roles and living preferences among Gen Y and Gen Z in Central Europe”. This was followed by a presentation from Bogdan Mateescu, called “Rediscovering mobility in Wallachia: lists of travellers”. Then, Aigi Rahi-Tamm presented on: “Public and hidden stories in the biographies of Estonian deported and refugee women in the 1940s”.  

    WG2 presentations, were co-led by Veronika Čapská, Bénédicte Miyamoto and Piririta Frigren, the participants listened to presentations relating to the Women Landmarks Map, addressing asymmetries and establishing some good practices in terms of its timely completion and the pursuit of other WG2 objectives.  

    WG3 presentations were led by Nicoleta Roman and Beatrice Zucca and focused on Women, economic migration, and the law with presentations from Müge Telci Özbek about “Labor Intermediation and Commodification of Rural Girls and Young Women as Domestic Workers in Istanbul at the Turn of the 20th Century: Law, Institutions, and Everyday Practices”. Then, Snježana Vasiljević presented about Covid-19 and Women Migrant Workers in the EU which was followed by a presentation from Roxana Banu who spoke about “Claimants, Reformers, Socio-Legal Workers. The Influence of Female European Migrants to the Americas in the Development of Private International Law,1930-1960”.    

    WG4 presentations were led by Sónia Ferreira & Miguel Oliveros Mediavilla and focused on Networking and oral history in the context of gender and migration: “epistemological debates and methodological challenges in the digital age”. Niya Spasova presented her PhD research on “Two generations of labor mobility in Bulgaria –from the big city to another continent” which was followed by a presentation by Fabrice Langrognet called “Pleading their way back: migrant women seeking help to return from a Paris suburb,1880-1918”. Carla Cerqueira and Joana Topa then presented on “Gender, intersectionality and migrations: illuminating blind spots in research”.   

    Discussions that aimed to facilitate co-publishing among members were held at the end of each WG presentation session. For the participants who were able to attend in-person, a variety of national delicacies were available for them to try. This treat was Petko Hristov’s idea whereby each of the participants brought some local specialties from their countries to share during the meeting breaks. This gastronomic-mediated connection encouraged us to learn more about each other and our countries, and encouraged friendly discussions amongst COST network members.  

    The WEMov annual meeting’s last day, Friday 10 September, was dedicated to the ECIs, with interactive sessions on how to write successful grants for Horizon Europe, Marie Curie and ERC funding, as well as sessions with research and presentations tips! ECIs also presented their research on WEMov related topics such as gender and cruise ships, migration and historical reconstruction and women’s mobility in early modern Venice. On Friday we also said goodbye to Clara who has been very efficiently grant holder manager in charge of the financial part of the Action and who has now been replaced by Elliana. To end the Annual meeting, the members who were left in Budapest, went to have dinner together in the Palace area of Budapest and to have a drink in one of the traditional ‘ruin bars’.  

    We are now looking forward to the second WEMov annual meeting. Cyprus here we come!