Doctoral Network

ENLIGHT PhD-Summer School on “EU border regime(s) and the shrinking spaces of solidarity”

Göttingen (Germany), 19th – 22th September 2023

The Centre for Global Migration Studies (CeMig), University of Göttingen, the Centre for the Social Study of Migration and Refugees (CESSMIR), University of Ghent and the “Human Mobility and Migration Lab”, University of Groningen are pleased to announce a PhD summer school held as part of the European ENLIGHT university network.

The summer school “EU border regime(s) and the shrinking spaces of solidarity” aims at providing a forum for PhD students to discuss up-to-date multidisciplinary and critical understandings of contemporary trends in the governance of migration. In particular, the school will focus on key areas of Europe’s governance of migration – e.g., the Belarussian-Polish/Lithuanian border, the Sicilian Channel between Italy and North-Africa, or the Greek islands and the Balkan route – to untangle and question the violent and discriminatory nature of current border regime(s). Concurrently, by focusing on these borderlands, we also concentrate on responses of citizens and people on the move to these institutional abuses, to explore forms of solidarity across different spaces and times – and how they are criminalized at the border. As such, the school will also involve non-academic experts from the civil society and other organizations operating in these territories.


The doctoral school will develop along three main themes:

  1. Increasing contestation or suspension of the rule of law at the border: Here, we will discuss issues relative, for instance, to the systemic use of push backs, or the introduction and enforcement of non-legal tools to repress unwanted migration – e.g., the Code of Conduct imposed in 2017 on NGOs operating in the Sicilian Channel, or the systemic use of push backs at the border.

  2. Border violence(s): For this theme we want to untangle the multiple forms of violence which are inflicted on migrants and asylum seekers. Besides experiencing it in its physical form, when crossing a border migrants and asylum seekers face today a variety of other direct and indirect forms of psychological, verbal but also sexual or infrastructural violence.

  3. Practices of resistance: Facing systemic human right violations, citizens and people on the moves, have organized into a variety of initiatives to (try to) counter those institutional abuses. These include targeted humanitarian interventions, alternative forms of knowledge production, strategic litigation as well as artistic practices. We will explore which of these initiatives have been criminalized and why, and how they can create ‘epistemic friction’ to current European border regimes.


The summer school will be opened by a keynote lecture followed by a three-day programme on the three thematic blocks. Guided by the premise that the summer school will create the time and the space for in-depth dialogue in relation to the PhD students’ own case studies and research experiences, the PhD students are expected to participate in the planning process and organization of the program. In May and June 2023 two online on-boarding sessions are planned to jointly collect ideas and suggestions for appropriate formats (workshops, discussion rounds, world cafés etc.) and key questions for the discussion of the PhD students’ own interests. The dates for the onboarding sessions will be communicated with the funding decision. 

Who can apply?

Only PhD students from the nine ENLIGHT universities (University of the Basque Country, University of Bordeaux, Comenius University Bratislava, University of Galway, Ghent University, University of Göttingen, University of Groningen, University of Tartu, Uppsala University) can apply. In addition, doctoral students from University of Bern, Switzerland, may apply as University of Bern is to become an associate partner in the ENLIGHT-network. The summer school is aimed at PhD students from various disciplines (Cultural and Social Anthropology, Sociology, Political Sciences, Social Work, Social Pedagogy, Cultural Studies, Legal Sciences, Geography etc.) conducting empirical research from a broadly ethnographic perspective on the above themes.

How to apply?

Please apply by 13rd April 2023 to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

The application should contain the following information:

  • CV (max. 2 pages) incl. personal data (full name, e-mail address, the name of the ENLIGHT university, subject and year of study)
  • Motivational statement (max. 1 page) incl. wishes, ideas, suggestions for the program
  • Description of the research project incl. links to the summer school’s theme (max. 1 page)

Funding will cover travel costs between the PhD students’ university location and Göttingen as well as accommodation and hospitality (lunch/ selected dinners) during the summer school.

We aim to inform the applicants by the beginning of May 2023 about the funding decision.


Dr. Jelka Günther
University of Göttingen
Centre for Global Migration Studies (CeMig)
Heinrich-Düker-Weg 14, D-37073 Göttingen
Phone: +49 551 39 25358
E-Mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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