I am currently a Tenue Track Researcher (RTT) at the University of Bologna, wokinng in the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Postdoctoral Global Fellowship project “PANICOCENE. Reframing Climate Change-induced Mobilities”

I obtained a PhD in March 2020, My PhD research involved ethnographic research on social workers with asylum seekers and refugees. For my research, I was awarded an “outstanding distinction”. In 2018, I have been selected for a scholarship within the EUROSA program and I spent six months as a visitor researcher at the University of the Western Cape (South Africa). Towards the end of my PhD, I worked as a postdoctoral researcher ClimateOfChange¸ a project funded by the EU Commission DEAR Programme, examining the nexus between migration and the climate crisis. As part of this project, I conducted fieldwork in Dakar and Saint Louis, Senegal. Utilizing visual methods, such as the innovative instrument of “climate diaries”, as part of the project, while focusing on framing and narratives of climate change-induced migrants, I tried to proposed counternarratives

with subjects’ voices. Moreover, I worked in the the Horizon2020 project Welcoming Spaces, investigating the nexus between shrinking areas, migration and welcoming spaces. 

With a background in Sociology and International Relations, and as a former social worker, I am strong in programme development with a solid groundwork for rich empirically and ethically research. As a social worker for the Association Centro Astalli in Trento, my role concerned managing and monitoring integration projects for refugees and asylum seekers. Working with Italian local communities, often very small villages within the Alps, I contributed in creating safe-havens, managing and monitoring integration projects and providing the right channels and tools to facilitate the encounter between citizens and newcomers while not reproposing alarmist frames. I further worked with unaccompanied minors in South Africa with the Association Scalabrini Centre, where I witnessed the benefits of education and social engagement in matters of inclusivity, as well as of the institutionalization of good governance practices, in face of political challenges. This experience straightened my knowledge of African geopolitics and made me an adaptable, flexible, meticulous and creative person, which, in my view, represents added values, along with the proven experiences for the research position I am applying for. 

Academically, the focus of my research is upon the themes of mobilities and migration, borders, climate change, ethnography, framing and narratives, and I utilized visual methods to work in a participatory creative manner with my participants to create space for plural narratives to emerge. 

Elena Giacomelli, Department of Sociology and Business Law, University of Bologna