Field Seminar in the MATILDE Region Oberallgäu

MATILDE partners started their action researches for case studies in the field in the scope of Working Package 5 of the project. As part of the local case study in rural Bavaria, Germany, Tobias Weidinger and Stefan Kordel introduced the MATILDE region Oberallgäu to a group of around 20 geography students at The University Of Erlangen-Nuremberg (FAU) in the course of a three-day field seminar. Stefan Kordel and Tobias Weidinger are reporting.

MATILDE region Oberallgäu is a rural district in the south-western part of Bavaria with about 155.000 inhabitants and a steadily growing population not least due to immigration processes (for more information see report D2.1)

First, the local governance of migration and integration and specific activities in the rural district of Oberallgäu was addressed. After becoming familiar with the local manifestations of immigration in the small town of Sonthofen, the group met a migrant entrepreneur, who opened a grocery store. He pointed out that the support of the family represents an important pillar, while the demand of certain products is mainly driven by the presence of migrants on site. Besides, the commissioner for integration, Miriam Duran, presented the activities in Oberallgäu, including language and cultural mediations or qualification measures for acquiring agency in the realm of housing. The success of integration activities mostly stems from a huge network, a certain tradition of integration work and the incorporation of migrants themselves into these activities. The integration council represents an established forum for participation of immigrants and simultaneously offers opportunities for encounter.

Second, the interdependencies of immigration and employment was discussed jointly with Anne Güller-Frey from local partner Tür an Tür (TAT) and Dr. Brigitte Eisele, chamber of crafts Schwaben. Having identified the numerous challenges in rural and mountain areas resulting from a lack of workforce, especially in hospitality industry, healthcare, crafts, and agriculture, the role of immigration was addressed during a round table discussion. Both experts presented measures targeting and recruitment, on-boarding and qualification and provided valuable insights into good practices.

During the field trip, the students were sensitized for implications of the arrival of a variety of groups of TCN newcomers, while the German case study working group could prepare the implementation of the forthcoming core phase of Working Package 5.

As MATILDE, our ambition is to rethink and re-represent the active role of immigrants and their descendants in rural and mountain regions of Europe. Join MATILDE Photo Contest and tell us how #HeartofEurope is more prosperous, more colorful and more diverse with immigration!

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