Enhancing capacities for a pluralistic Alpine Space

PlurAlps Mid-Term Conference - Pluralism in Alpine regions

The international PlurAlps mid-term conference on 16th & 17th May 2018 in Turin focused on migration as an opportunity for social and economic innovation in the Alpine space. Representatives from regions, municipalities and cities, public administration, civil society organisations, practitioners, and experts from national to local level came together to discuss, foster interaction and dialogue. The conference offered a market place with inspiring practices, future labs on burning topics, and facilitated plenary discussions. Furthermore the Alpine Pluralism Award 2018 was presented.

Keynote Speech: New Highlanders – Foreign Immigration in the Alps

By Andrea Membretti, Università di Pavia e EURAC Research

Severely  affected  during  the  20th  century  by  depopulation  and  neglect,  the  Alps  also suffered an erosion of their cultural heritage. Since the beginning of the 21th century, however,  population  has  begun  to  grow  in  many  areas,  mai nly  due  to  immigration flows.  Moving  from  some  quantitative  and  qualitative  data  on  the  presence  of foreigners  in  the  Italian  Alps,  the  keynote  will  address  the  following  questions:  what effects are Alpine repopulation, and notably the impact of foreign in habitants, exerting on local cultures? Should repopulation be seen as an opportunity for social innovation and cultural creativity or rather as a threat to “indigenous” cultures? Is demographic discontinuity  precluding  cultural  continuity?  Will  foreign  immigration,  especially  if directed  to  demographically  depleted  areas,  favour  over  time  the  emergence  of  new forms of identity and “tradition”, as a result of the re- invention of the territory?

Keynote Speech: Migration as driver for social innovation

by Rebekka Ehret, Lucerne University of Applied Sciences

Migrants generally are willing to try out new things, in part it is a function of limited opportunities available to them in the country of origin and in part it is a desire to improve their lives and those of their families. Paradoxically, the host society rarely makes them feel welcome and state regulations often create barriers for them. As a result, on a project level we need participatory methods that allow the potential to unfold. The “emic-etic” explanatory model will be portrayed as one possible fruitful approach.


Lab 1: Policy Advice - Migrant integration in the Alpine area: identifying transnational policy issues and objectives
PlurAlps Conference

The Lab aims to feed the Pluralps White Paper by gathering experts, policy-makers, social workers and practitioners together in order to identify and discuss policy issues and objectives in the field of migrant integration that should be addressed transnationally to reach positive results.

Lab2: Capacity building on refugee integration: how to prevent and reverse the fears of the local communities

Based on the best practices selected via the PlurAlps award, the participants in this workshop work together to discuss how to deal with the social challenges risen by the arrival of refugees and to propose possible responses in terms of public communication and local engagement of the local communities.

Lab 3: Equipped for the future PlurAlps Conference

What is the quality of life of immigrants and non-natives? Which services and measures in the municipality foster a quick integration for all types of immigration – from internal to forced migration? Interdisciplinary social planning attempts to answer these questions. A Social Planning Instrument (SPI) has been developed to enable such planning. Participants are given the opportunity to get to know the SPI and to share their experiences from their own community.

Lab 4: Future projects PlurAlps Conference

Based on the shared experiences of the first day, the participants in this workshop work together to identify new ideas for projects. The focus is set on projects that take advantage of the opportunities of migration for social and economic innovation. Through a participatory method, the participants share their ideas and jointly develop concepts for local, inter-regional or transnational cooperation projects.


Field Trip