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Leiden, City of Refugees? Reflecting on 'the other' through artistic and scientific research


Deze informatie is alleen in het Engels beschikbaar.

UPDATE 10 January 2022: The title of the class has been changed from Leiden Revisited: Social Control and Social Cohesion in Insecure Times to Leiden, City of Refugees? Reflecting on 'the other' through artistic and scientific research.

Disclaimer: due to the coronavirus pandemic, this course description might be subject to changes. For the latest updates regarding corona virus, please check this link.

Topics: Othering, bordering, migration, integration, citizenship, (super)diversity, social cohesion, social inclusion and exclusion, implicit bias, social distantiation, social control, stigmatisation, stereotyping, empathy, etc.
Disciplines: Sociology, Criminology, Migration Studies, Border Studies, Law & Society, Anthropology, Arts, History.
Skills: Empathy, self-awareness and self-reflection, storytelling (both orally and in writing), radical listening, socially engaged art, a broad variety of qualitative research skills, project management, social change writing

Admission requirements

This course is an (extracurricular) Master Honours Class aimed at talented Master’s students. Admission will be based on academic background and motivation. A GPA of 7 is recommended.

In their letter of motivation, students (a) reflect on the notion of ‘othering’ and social exclusion and, in so doing, indicate why these topics are of interest to them. They (b) also reflect on their own creativity – or what ‘being creative’ means to them.


The focus of the Honours Class is a topic that is not easily talked about – or that many people feel uncomfortable addressing: the notion of ‘othering’, the stereotyping of groups within society that is often also accompanied by inclusionary and exclusionary practices. Or, to put it differently, thinking along the binary of “us” versus “them”.

By taking the City of Leiden – also known as the city of refugees and the city of science, alluding to the central role of refugees and the university population in the development of the city - as a case study, students will go out and explore the perceptions that different groups in Leiden have about who is seen to ‘belong’ to Leiden and who is not, who are excluded and who are included in the notion of the city and, in so doing, who are seen as ‘the other’ and why. Special attention will be paid to the role of class, race and education and the influence of Covid19 and globalization. Othering and social exclusion are problematic for a variety of reasons, and therefore the City of Leiden wants to know (a) to what extent these processes are indeed visible in Leiden , (b) if so, how they affect social cohesion in the city and (c) how these processes can be countered.

Transforming society through art is a central premise in this Master Honours Class. By combining scientific research with artistic research, this Honours Class will challenge students to think and act out of the box and is aimed to take them out of their comfort zone with the intention to spark both personal and societal change. Art is used both as a method to engage in discussion with people about the central issues and topics but also as a means to communicate the outcomes of the research with a large audience of civil society actors, citizens and local policy officials of the City of Leiden.

Course objectives

Upon successful completion of this course, you will be able to:

  • apply principles of critical thinking to complex societal challenges;

  • apply theories from various disciplines on the topics of othering, bordering, in- and exclusion, stigmatization, social cohesion etc.;

  • develop tools to empathically connect with people and use these tools in practice;

  • identify your own (implicit) biases and privileges and reflect on them;

  • prepare and conduct qualitative research using the methods of interviewing and observation;

  • apply techniques from art-based thinking to scientific research problems and research outcomes;

  • present your work for both academic and non–academic audiences;

  • work within a group of students with diverse backgrounds;

  • reflect on your personal progress and role within your group.

Programme and timetable
The lectures of this class will take place on Tuesdays and the workshops on Thursdays (17.30 - 20.00).

Lecture 1: Tuesday, March 15 (17.30-20.00)
Leiden, City of Refugees?

Workshop 1: Thursday, March 17 (17.30-20.00)

Lecture 2: Tuesday, March 22 (17.30-20.00)
Creating the ‘crimmigrant other’ through discourse and practice

Workshop 2: Thursday, March 24 (17.30-20.00)

Lecture 3: Tuesday, March 29 (17.30-20.00)
Superdiversity in the City

Workshop 3: Thursday, March 31 (17.30-20.00) KOG, room B031

Lecture 4: Tuesday, April 5 (17.30-20.00)
Implicit Bias and Structural Inequity

Workshop 4: Thursday, April 7 (17.30-20.00)

Lecture 5 Tuesday, April 12 (17.30-20.00)
Street interviewing & Positionality

Workshop 5: Thursday, April 14 (17.30-20.00)
Deep listening and mindful communication

Lecture 6: Tuesday, April 19 (17.30-20.00)
Participant Observation & Fieldnote taking

Workshop 6: Thursday, April 21 (17.30-20.00) KOG, room B013
Capturing images in words and visuals

Lecture 7: Tuesday, April 26 (17.30-20.00)
Bordering & Othering

Workshop 7: Thursday, April 28 (17.30-20.00)

Lecture 8: Tuesday, May 10 (17.30-20.00)
The Art of Crafting Resilient Communities

Workshop 8: Thursday, May 12 (17.30-20.00) KOG, room B013

Lecture 9: Tuesday, May 17 (17.30-20.00)
Artistic Activism

Workshop 9: Thursday, May 19 (17.30-20.00)

Lecture 10: Tuesday, May 24 (17.30-20.00)
Academic Activism

Workshop 10: Thursday, May 26 (17.30-20.00)

Lecture 11: Tuesday, May 31 (17.30-20.00)
Evaluation and final preparations for the exhibition

Closing Exhibition: Saturday, June 4 (11.00 - 17.00)

The program will look as follows:

Students will have meetings (online/ offline/ meetings ‘in the field’) and we will have a couple of excursions in the period from mid-March (week 11) till mid-June (week 24). In that period we will meet twice a week, of which one meeting typically is a lecture and the other one a workshop.

The program is built up in three stages:

Stage I: Theoretical Foundation
In this stage we will lay the foundation of this course: both on a theoretical and a personal level. The key scholarly themes of this course will be introduced and discussed during interactive discussion sessions. During these sessions we will use ‘object based learning’ which means that, where possible, we combine the reading of various scholarly works with viewing/ experiencing art in order to trigger discussions about these topics and come to a deeper (personal) understanding of them.

Stage II: Into the field we go!
In this stage students will be getting ready to go into the field. The preparation for the field research consists of several elements: on the one hand, we will familiarize ourselves with the methods of participant observation and street interviews; on the other hand we will actively reflect on our own role as researchers in practicing these methods. We will learn to apply research ethics in the field research, to be aware of our own biases and positionality, and to listen attentively to our interviewees.

Stage III: Translating science into art
In this stage students will be translating their field research data into an artistic representation. This will be the final artistic outing, which will be publicly presented during the closing event of the course. In order to prepare students for the final artistic outing, we will explore several different artistic methods. Students are welcome to make use of those for their final products, but they are also encouraged to pursue other kinds of methods. Besides this, students will have the opportunity to discuss their ideas with artists, and to learn about art and social transformation from the experiences of our guest lecturers.


Kamerlingh Onnes building room B032
Students and staff will be also meeting outside in public spaces to collect data (in groups of two) and to work on socially engaged art.

Reading list

  • Allman, Dan. "The sociology of social inclusion." Sage Open 3.1 (2013): 2158244012471957.

  • Sharp, J., Pollock, V., & Paddison, R. (2005). Just art for a just city: Public art and social inclusion in urban regeneration. Urban Studies, 42(5-6), 1001-1023.

  • Maria Cristina Paganoni (2012) City Branding and Social Inclusion in the Glocal City, Mobilities, 7:1, 13-31, DOI: 10.1080/17450101.2012.631809

  • Houtum & van Naerssen’s (2002) ‘Bordering, Ordering and Othering’ article. Available: Tijdschrift voor economische en sociale geografie: Vol 112, No 1 (

  • Van Houtum, H. (2021). Beyond ‘borderism’: Overcoming discriminative b/ordering and Othering. Tijdschrift voor economische en sociale geografie, 112(1), 34-43.

  • Entzinger , Han (2019). A Tale of Two Cities: Rotterdam, Amsterdam and Their Immigrants. In: P. Scholten, M. Crul & P. van de Laar (eds.), Coming to Terms with Superdiversity. The Case of Rotterdam. IMISCOE, Springer Open,

  • Vertovec, S. (2018). Towards post-multiculturalism? changing communities, conditions and contexts of diversity. International Social Science Journal, 68(227-228), 167–178.

  • Young J. (2003). Merton with Energy, Katz with Structure: The Sociology of Vindictiveness and the Criminology of Transgression. Theoretical Criminology. 7(3), 389-414. doi:10.1177/13624806030073007

  • Vertovec, S. (2007) Super-diversity and its implications, Ethnic and Racial Studies, 30:6, 1024-1054, DOI: 10.1080/01419870701599465

  • Jacobs, J. M. (1993). The City Unbound: Qualitative Approaches to the City. Urban Studies, 30(4–5), 827–848.

  • Jacobson, D., & Mustafa, N. (2019). Social identity map: A reflexivity tool for practicing explicit positionality in critical qualitative research. International Journal of Qualitative Methods, 18, 1609406919870075.

  • Warren, C. A., & Hackney, J. K. (2000). Gender issues in ethnography: Social life, social sciences (1-3). SAGE Publications, Incorporated.

Course load and teaching method

This course is worth 10 ECTS, which means the total course load equals 280 hours.

  • Lectures: 11 mandatory lectures of 2.5 hours;

  • 11 Weekly online non-mandatory chat sessions of 2 hours;

  • Seminars: 11 (partially mandatory, partially voluntary) workshop moments 2.5 hours;

  • Excursion: 2 mandatory excursions of 8 hours;

  • A final festival during which the artistic outing is shown: 6 hours;

  • Literature reading & assignments for workshops: 9 hours p/week (for duration of 11 weeks and this includes the fieldwork weeks in which data should be collected so there will be weeks when students will use 10 hours whereas in other it might be less, this is an average);

  • Fieldwork and individual working hours on final artistic piece: 80 hours (spread out over the course of 12 weeks.

Assessment methods

The assessment methods will look as follows:

Participation, which means: handing in your weekly assignments and actively participating in class – 15 %
Popular Scientific Blog – 10%
Learning journal and reflection - 15%
Data collection – 30 %
Final artistic outing - 30%

Brightspace and uSis

Brightspace will be used in this course. Upon admission students will be enrolled in Brightspace by the teaching administration.

Please note: students are not required to register through uSis for the Master Honours Classes. Your registration will be done centrally.


Submitting an application for this course is possible from Monday 31 January up to and including Sunday 13 February 2022 23:59 through the link on the Honours Academy student website.

Note: students don’t have to register for the Master Honours Classes in uSis. The registration is done centrally before the start of the class.


Prof. dr. mr. Maartje van der Woude (Van Vollenhoven Institute for Law, Governance & Society – Leiden Law School)