Our project invites people to think about and question the distinction made between migrants and expats. The term ‘expat’ is entangled with assumptions of privilege and class, whereas the label ‘migrant’ somehow connotes something lesser, even though both groups consist of people who moved away from their country of origin.
For this project, 20 foreign workers will be selected to be included in a virtual and physical photo exhibit. The exhibit will showcase how individuals who self-identify as migrants and/or expats may not look so different. Additionally, an expert panel will discuss the theme of migrant identity in Maastricht and beyond. During the panel, several topics will be addressed, such as: 1) whether the expat/migrant distinction is justified; 2) whether rooting out this distinction will have any meaningful impact on the acceptance of the migrant community as a whole; and 3) the role of academics and universities in this regard.
The aim of this project is to foster a dialogue on this important issue and to contribute to the inclusion and protection of the migrant community in Maastricht. The long-term impact of this project is the tearing down of obstacles that contribute to the perpetuation of this, potentially arbitrary, socioeconomic segregation. Finally, the photos can be continually used as a learning tool at Maastricht University.
The project is implemented by a diverse team representing five UM faculties in cooperation with Tetsuro Photography and the Expat Centre Maastricht Region. Many thanks to the UM Diversity and Includivity Office for giving us the grant to carry out this project!