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Cultural Anthropology graduate nominated for 'most impactful student project' by Leiden Science City

Cultural Anthropology graduate Tommie Lambregts conducted fieldwork in the Slaaghwijk neighbourhood in Leiden as part of a Policy in Practice research internship commissioned by the municipality. Leiden Science City nominated his research as one of four 'most impactful student projects'. Award ceremony on 9 December 2019.

Negotiating everyday exclusion and diversity in Leiden

What can it be like growing up as a non-Western youth in Leiden? With this research question in mind, I entered the super-diverse neighbourhood known as Slaaghwijk in the north of Leiden. As an independent student researcher, I conducted three months of ethnographic fieldwork as part of a research internship, facilitated by the Leiden municipality and the Institute of Cultural Anthropology and Development Sociology at Leiden University. By playing football with adolescent boys in Leiden-Noord, I gained their trust and learned about their everyday lives. What I learned was that while struggling to find a place in the Netherlands, they also feel the need to establish themselves in relation to their countries of origin. As a group, adolescent migrants experienced a sense of shared ‘otherness’ among their peers in the Slaaghwijk. In the end, it isn’t that important where your parents are from, what matters is how you engage with the neighbourhood.

To survive as a youth in the Slaaghwijk you need to be tough, loyal and creative: in many ways it is much more about negotiating everyday relationships, than choosing between ‘right’ and ‘wrong’. Yet, the potential for youth to be led astray is clear, and many in the Slaaghwijk emphasised the importance of positive role models from within the neighbourhood. The dominant opinion was that without someone to look up to, the negative impact of exclusion could not be overcome in the Slaaghwijk. For the municipality, the main challenge will be to retain what makes the Slaaghwijk a vibrant, unique and diverse place, while stimulating better prospects for its residents for an inclusive future.

Award Ceremony on 9 December 2019

The winning student project will be announced at the Leiden Science City Symposium on 9 Decemeber 2019 at the Townhall of Leiden. The symposium starts at 17.30. All are welcome, but please register here

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