Integration and identity

Citiesofmigration.ca

Take a look at citiesofmigration.ca (You can also see it in french and German)

One of the reasons I like the site  is that it combines structured knowledge on migration presented in categories and tags.

I also like their use of the phrase good ideas  and the way that they have sought to have 100 of these in this field. Their good ideas index (see below for copy of this) shows that they have a real understanding of domain.

They have broken the subject into five sub domains (work, learn, live, connect, plan) and then in each of these they have half a dozen sub categories (or sub domains)  against which the number of articles is listed and you can click and look.  Or you can go in to the data by searching.  They also have a good explanation of what good practice is in the field which equates to our idea of capitalisation.

A good example describes the Generation project in Boba (Amadora) which was set up by Jorge Miranda.  When you go to the case study page there is a good account of what they have done including some results (under the title successes!).  On the right are some additional resources including the contact, the web page and then a second box on further reading (which might be titled further resources) which includes a short film, a case study on the project by the ministry (in English and located on the EUKN website).  This example begins to show us how we could work across platforms with EUKN and others but act as a central organising site that pulls the knowledge together according to the clouds.  At the bottom you can see the tags which apply to this case and by clicking visit other cases in the same tag family.  There is something strange about going to a Canadian site and finding a well organised, clear and clean description of an EU funded project!

In the E-library area you get short summaries of useful documents and links.  This is a major effort of capitalisation as you are taking knowledge from one source and adding value to it by giving it a description which allows the user to see the key documents in this sub domain.   They also have longer and more discursive articles – for example a piece by Tariq Ramadan the new Chair of Identity and Citizenship in Rotterdam.    Integration is a concept from the past. “Contribution” is the concept of the future.” – Dr. Tariq Ramadan

The learning exchange area  focuses mostly on events which are either webinars (web based lectures using a tool like webex) or face to face meetings.  About 90% are online events with a mostly North American and German focus.

I like this site because it allows the reader to make judgements about the complexity of issues and the extent of success.  It does no over simplify the message or claim to provide all of the answers. You leave the area feeling that you have had a good taste of what is possible. The site is fairly new as it is still marked Beta on the header so I am sure it will mature further.  In particular I would have thought that they could have had short introductions to the domains of their five areas in the same way as we are preparing for our clouds.  However, I like the way that they never dominate the page with too much text which we are likely to do in our intros.

Why is the company called Freiss?

Freiss is short for Freissinieres, a tiny community of about 160 residents based in the Hautes alpes at 1200m. The company is named after this  tiny community in the alps where the Vaudois had settled  in the 13th century after leaving Lyon.

This community were dedicated to living a humble life and were accused of heresy by the catholic church.  Their reforms had included eschewing the wealth of the church and living frugally, and translating the bible into the local language. Women were empowered and the community was highly literate because their bible was accessible. They were persecuted and murdered by the armies of the church especially in the neighbouring valley of Vallouise. In freissinieres many escaped south after wintering in Dormillouse – a high village with no road access, and found a new future in the Luberon. The valley’s people continued to be non conformist, a little rebellious and today many are protestant or atheist.

Today Freissinieres is still rebellious in a small way. Its 160 citizens elect their local municipality. The valley is an oasis of calm in which social capital is freely and readily available.  Unusually the village has been welcoming of outsiders, although this can bring its own difficulties with too many houses lying empty.

For many people whether residents or visitors Freissinieres offers some clues about what a more relationship based and sustainable society might look like. But there is still much to do. The community is now heavily dependant on the economy outside the valley, not enough has been done to increase economic resilience and support  local jobs. Too many cars drive through without spending any money and the environmental capital is not sufficiently valorised though the air is pure and the environment relatively unspoilt. You can see more at   http://www.freissinieres.fr/