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migrant heritage

How can the experiences of transnationally-mobile people be better integrated into the ways in which history and heritage are learned and understood?

In this line of inquiry, I'm interested in exploring heritage practices developed by groups whose experiences have been overlooked and marginalised. My work focuses especially on the not-so-easily-pinned-down heritages of transnationally mobile people. I focus on bringing together scholars, heritage practitioners, artists, and educators with the objective to creatively and collectively re-envision how mobile lives can be better integrated into the ways in which our histories are learned and incorporated  both in education and in everyday life.

Migrantour Utrecht

[EN] We are excited to launch the first Migrantour in the Netherlands on 6 August 2022. Our 2-hour guided walking tours promote a greater understanding of migration and cultural heritage – without superficially celebrating cultural diversity. The tours -- co-created and guided by Migrantour intercultural companions with first- or second-generation migration backgrounds -- take participants on a meaningful journey around Utrecht’s Lombok neighborhood. Together with our intercultural companions, participants explore what makes someone ‘Dutch’ or not, inclusion and exclusion, privilege, heritage,and belonging.  Get ready for sharing stories, dialogue, learning together, and new perspectives as we journey through layers of migration within and around us.

What is Migrantour? 

Migrantour is a responsible tourism initiative to tackle discrimination against people with migration backgrounds throughout Europe. Its guided walking tours serve as an educational tool for advancing global citizenship values and competencies among the tour participants and the intercultural companions (guides) themselves. 

Launched in Turin in 2010, the Migrantour initiative has grown to encompass a network of 20+ urban and rural locations throughout Europe. To date, network partners have trained 600+ people with 1st- and 2nd-generation migration backgrounds as intercultural companions (guides), developed 40+ guided walking tour routes, and reached 30.000+ walking tour participants.

Migrantour guided walking tours consciously avoid exotifying people with migration backgrounds as mere representatives of the cultures and places where they or their ancestors come from. Instead, they emphasize how people with migration backgrounds are - like everyone else - individuals invested in and shaped by the places in which they live, love, work, connect and relax.

[NL] We zijn super enthousiast dat de eerste Migrantour in Nederland op 6 augustus 2022 van start gaat! Onze 2-uur durende begeleide wandeltours creëren meer begrip voor migratie en cultureel erfgoed - zonder op een oppervlakkige manier culturele diversiteit te vieren. 

De tours nemen deelnemers mee op een betekenisvolle reis door de Utrechtse wijk Lombok, die mede is samengesteld en begeleid door interculturele Migrantour-begeleiders met een eerste of tweede migratieachtergrond. Samen met onze interculturele begeleiders onderzoeken de deelnemers van de tour wat iemand 'Nederlands' maakt of niet; insluiting en uitsluiting; privilege; erfgoed en erbij horen. Bereid je voor op het delen van verhalen, dialoog, samen leren, en op nieuwe perspectieven terwijl we door de lagen van migratie in en om ons heen reizen.

Wat is Migrantour? 

Migrantour is een initiatief voor verantwoord toerisme om discriminatie van mensen met een migratieachtergrond in heel Europa aan te pakken. De begeleide wandeltochten dienen als educatief instrument voor het bevorderen van mondiale burgerschapswaarden en -competenties bij de deelnemers van de tours en de interculturele begeleiders (gidsen) zelf. 

Het initiatief Migrantour, dat in 2010 in Turijn van start ging, is uitgegroeid tot een netwerk van meer dan 20 stedelijke en landelijke locaties in heel Europa. Tot nu toe hebben netwerkpartners meer dan 600 mensen met een eerste- en tweedegeneratiemigratieachtergrond opgeleid tot interculturele begeleiders (gidsen), meer dan 40 begeleide wandeltochten ontwikkeld en meer dan 30.000 deelnemers bereikt.

Migrantour begeleide wandelingen vermijden bewust om mensen met een migratieachtergrond te exotiseren als louter vertegenwoordigers van de culturen en plaatsen waar zij of hun voorouders vandaan komen. In plaats daarvan benadrukken ze hoe mensen met een migratieachtergrond - net als iedereen - individuen zijn die geïnvesteerd zijn in en gevormd worden door de plaatsen waar ze wonen, liefhebben, werken, contacten leggen en ontspannen.

For more information / Voor meer informatie:

Roots Guide

Mehus, I., Eldalil, R., Wurpel, D., Ormond, M. & Kashash, H. (2022). Roots Guide: Nederland - Verbind je met mensen en plaatsen. [Roots Guide: The Netherlands - Connect with people and places.] Haarlem: Pocket Stories. ISBN: 978-90-9035371-5

[EN] Discover the Netherlands like you never have before. Roots Guide invites you to step out of your daily routines and live in the here and now. Embark on an interactive and deeply personal journey with these four steps: Reflect, Connect, Explore, Share. During your journey you will be accompanied by inspiring guideswith diverse migration backgrounds. Specially designed questions will encourage reflection and dialogue. Let yourself be taken on an adventure with exciting activities, and share your new experiences with acquaintances and strangers. At the end of your Roots Guide journey you will not only see the Netherlands differently, but you may also want to be in the Netherlands differently. 

[NL} Ontdek Nederland zoals nooit tevoren. Roots Guide nodigt je uit om uit je dagelijkse routines te stappen en in het hier en nu te leven. Ga mee op een interactieve en diep persoonlijke reis met deze vier stappen: Reflect, Connect, Explore, Share. Tijdens je reis word je vergezeld door inspirende gidsen van verschillende migratieachtergronden. Speciaal ontworpen vragen zullen je aanzetten tot reflectie en dialoog. Laat je meenemen op avontuur met spannende activiteiten en deel je nieuwe ervaringen met bekenden en onbekenden. Aan het einde van je Roots Guide reis zal je Nederland niet alleen anders zien, maar wil je misschien ook anders in Nederland zijn.

For more information / Voor meer informatie: 

Publications & initiatives

  • Ormond, M. (2022) 'Landscape conversations', Medium, May. 

    • What is the one place in the world you'd want to share with your children?

  • Migrantour Sustainable Routes, Erasmus+ KA2 project, project team member through collaboration with De Voorkamer (2021-23)

  • Rural Migrantour, Erasmus+ KA2 project, project team member through collaboration with Pocket Stories (2021-23)

  • Ormond, M. & Vietti, F. (2021) 'Beyond multicultural "tolerance": guided tours and guidebooks as transformative tools for civic learning', Journal of Sustainable Tourism, 30(2-3), 533-559. 

    • In bringing people together that otherwise might have little more than passing contact with one another, tourism is appreciated for its potential to transform mindsets by fostering multi-perspectivity, a cornerstone of global citizenship education, among both ‘tourists’ and ‘locals’. Hence, while tourism plays a significant role in marginalising and exploiting immigrants’ bodies, labour and heritages, it also holds significant potential as a critical pedagogical tool for transcending the limits of multicultural tolerance discourse and combatting exploitation and xenophobia. In this article, we reflect on two Europe-based global citizenship-inspired initiatives bringing together migration and tourism in novel ways: Migrantour guided walking tours and the Roots Guide guidebook. They endeavour to rework guided tours and guidebooks, two of tourism’s most common pedagogical tools, into ‘good company’ that supports the Arendtian practice of ‘visiting’ as a key mode of civic learning. In so doing, we explore the representational and structural opportunities and challenges that these two initiatives encounter as they seek to co-create multi-dimensional narratives and routes in ways that recognise guides’ diverse experiences and perceptions of the places they call home, avoid stereotypical representations of ‘communities’ and hold space for the real-life frictions that accompany diversity.

  • Ormond, M. (2018) ‘Adoption, genealogical bewilderment and biological heritage bricolage’, in H. Muzaini and C. Minca (eds), After Heritage: Critical Geographies of Heritage-From-Below, London: Edward Elgar, pp. 148-168.​

    • Closed adoptions – where birth and adoption records are legally sealed to obscure adoptees’ biological parentage – were once the norm in many western Anglophone countries. Grassroots resistance to closed adoption relied upon the belief that deprivation of knowledge of their true biological origins could lead to psychological trauma among adoptees. In this chapter, I reflect on my own mother’s sense of deprivation as a resullt of closed adoption, her desire for a coherent origin story and her consequent process of cobbling together disparate fragments of legally-, religiously-, scientifically-, commercially- and familiarly-authorised and -authorising heritages from among diverse analogue, digital and biotechnical resources rendered intelligible, relevant and truthful by societal and (bio)technological transformations over time. In so doing, I call attention to complicated power relations in everyday personal heritage practices that challenge the simplistic pitting of ‘heritage from below’ (Robertson 2012) against ‘Authorised Heritage Discourse’ (AHD) (Smith 2006).

  • Ormond, M. (2018) ‘Heritage from below’, Hiraeth Podcast, July, Amsterdam.

    • In the Hiraeth podcast episode, I address the concept of 'heritage from below'. I do this by discussing my own complicated sense of personal heritage, linked to my two passport countries (the U.S. and Portugal) as well as the Netherlands (my current home) and other countries that have touched my life. My identity has been shaped by both my own travels around the world and my family history, which includes my mother’s search for her birth parents on two continents. ​

  • Ormond, M. (2018) 'Travel and hospitality as political acts', Medium, August.

    • What responsibility do we have to recognise and respect (seemingly) distant others? This is a personal story about the significance of both intra- and inter-national travel and migration in the ways I came to make sense of my relationship with the people and places of my youth in a small town in the United States.

  • Ormond, M. (2018) 'This place, that place and another', Medium, August.

    • What conditions must be satisfied for someone able to claim a national identity? This is a personal story exploring my shifting relationship with my second passport country, Portugal, after I left the country. Do I still have the right to claim Portuguese-ness? Did I ever?

  • Ong, C.E., Ormond, M., and Sulianti, D. (2017) 'Performing "Chinese-ness" in Singkawang: Diasporic moorings, festivals and tourism', Asia Pacific Viewpoint, 58(1), 41-56.

    • Through an examination of two festivals – Qing Ming and Cap Go Meh – in the town of Singkawang in Indonesian Borneo (Kalimantan), we show how Singkawang-bound Chinese Indonesian tourists and their Singkawang-based relatives produce a diasporic heritage network through ‘moorings’ generated by both transnational and internal migration. Instead of returning to a singular ‘homeland’ in distant China, these tourists return to Chinese-majority Singkawang as a result of their personal genealogical roots and of their broader cultural allegiance with a kind of Chinese-ness that Singkawang has come to represent within a post-Suharto Indonesia. Through these two festivals, we demonstrate how personal heritage practices like ‘roots tourism’ and visiting friends and relatives (VFR) are intimately bound up with identity and developmental politics at local, national and international scales. In so doing, we identify a range of ways in which migratory and tourism flows by Chinese Indonesian internal migrants shape relations to their ancestral hometowns and cultural ‘homelands’ in Indonesia within the context of membership to and participation in a broader transnational diaspora.

  • Expatriate Archive Centre, board member (2016-21)

  • Fonseca, M.L. and Ormond, M. (2008) ‘Defining “family” and bringing it together: the ins and outs of family reunification in Portugal’, in R. Grillo (ed.), The Family in Question: Immigrants and Ethnic Minorities in Multicultural Europe, Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, pp. 89-112.

    • Book abstract: The family lives of immigrants and ethnic minority populations have become central to arguments about the right and wrong ways of living in multicultural societies. While the characteristic cultural practices of such families have long been scrutinized by the media and policy makers, these groups themselves are beginning to reflect on how to manage their family relationships. Exploring case studies from Austria, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and Australia, The Family in Question explores how those in public policy often dangerously reflect the popular imagination, rather than recognizing the complex changes taking place within the global immigrant community.

  • Fonseca, M.L., Ormond, M., Malheiros, J.M., Patrício, M. and Martins, F. (2005) Reunificação familiar e imigração em Portugal [Family Reunification and Immigration in Portugal], Lisbon: ACIME.​

    • 'Reunificação familiar e imigração em Portugal' ('Family reunification and immigration in Portugal') provides a framework of the phenomenon of family reunification and the integration of immigrants in host societies, by examining the experiences of countries with a deeper tradition of immigration than Portugal, such as North-western European countries and the United States. It also comprises an overview of Portugal’s experience with immigration, based on information available from official statistical sources, an appendix with a comparative table that summarises selected European Union member-states’ national legislation on family reunification, as well as an analysis comparing the Portuguese legislation with the EU Directive relative to family reunification (Directive 2003/86/CE). Taking into account the general lack of data and the limitations of the data that does exist, a survey was performed on a sample of non-EU citizens living in Portugal representative of the largest immigration populations or of populations that, despite currently being small, have displayed significant growth potential. In order to evaluate the potential to receive immigrant families at the regional level, case studies were conducted in a variety of districts across the country based upon interviews and focus groups with immigrants, socio-cultural institutions, NGOs and other relevant local actors from both public and private sectors.

  • Ormond, M. (2002) ‘Mapping Minority Media: The National Context—Belgium’, Diasporic Minorities and their Media in the EU: A Mapping, Media@LSE, London School of Economics.

Supervised work in this area​

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