OF4 - Požarevac

Mobility as a form of integration
Požarevac : 25/07/2008 to 27/07/2008

The aim of this OpenForum is to discuss and to identify the potential benefits of migration. How does migration affect the personal life of people? How does it influence their communities both at their place of origin (home community) and their place of being (host community) regarding social, economic and political developments andculture? The European approach to market integration tends to depoliticize labour mobility as just one out of four aspects of the Common Market, expressed in the freedoms of movement of capital, goods, services and people. The embeddedness in a larger socio-economic conflict is often ignored. Because migrants are faced with plural citizenships and loyalties, questions of political recognition and forms of European solidarity need to be put on the agenda. This OpenForum is part of the Art Interventions project „The return of the Gastarbajters“ implemented in the Eastern Serbian town of Požarevac. Adapted from German language, “Gastarbeiter” has been a well-known term for working migrants seen as a temporal supplement for the national workforce. As they tend to transform into permanent residents with special relations to their countries of origin, Art Interventions invites artists andanthropologists to explore how long-term processes of intra-European migration impinge on the local community. All people present – both participants to the complete Art Interventions project or attending only the two-day OpenForum workshop – were asked to answer the following five questions in advance which were be later discussed at the OpenForum:

  1. What can individuals „learn“ by moving around?
  2. What are the advantages of living as as "foreigner"?
  3. What are the benefits of Gastarbajters for both home and host communities?
  4. Do Gastarbajter communities present certain internationally comparablecharacteristics?
  5. How can we in Europe make better use of mobility?

Local residents in Požarevac answered these questions as well. The answers collected were used by the moderating team (Frank Burgdörfer, Gert Röhrborn, Noa Treister) to structure the debate.

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