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Shirley van der Maarel and team ‘Samen Verder’ granted Speckmann Awards 2020

Bachelor’s students Dana Huisman, Marleen Kop, Sam Wichers Schreur and Adriënne de Zoeten were granted the Speckmann Award for their Fieldwork NL report ‘Samen Verder: een project gefocust op vrouwen, taal en integratie'. Alumna Shirley van der Maarel received the Master's Speckmann award for her innovative thesis called ‘Terra Incognita’. The jury consists of Bart Barendregt and Metje Postma, the ceremony took place online on 17 June 2020.

Third award for Van der Maarel

It might not have been a surprise that Shirley van der Maarel was granted the Speckmann award for best Master thesis. Earlier, van der Maarel was awarded a Fruin-Helb scholarship for the best grant application for an internship abroad by the LUF and she also won the FSW faculty thesis prize.  Her thesis was assessed with a 10. The jury states that this is only possible if a thesis not only meets the highest academic standards in all areas but if it is also innovative (in form and execution) and adds something to both theoretical discourse and applied methodology and also has added value as a project for society. 

Terra incognita

In the triptych Terra Incognita Shirley, together with the protagonists in her work, focuses through documentary film, a website with 'guide' in three languages and a high-quality academic text on three or perhaps four types of audiences that she strives to involve in the experiences of (mainly African) migrants who have ended up in the depopulated Italian valley: Valle di Comino.

The jury emphasizes that It is this incredibly multifaceted and rich approach that underscores the excellence of this project and expresses what we now understand by 'multimodal ethnography'. In the research process itself, Shirley, together with several members of the group of migrants, explored what it means to be displaced and how each of them is looking for a way to feel at home again in the world and the valley. Not only the diversity of the used research methods and the sensitive attitude Shirley has pursued in her collaboration with the migrants deserves extensive praise, but also her argumentation in her texts and the highly original execution and 'cross-referencing' between texts, website, photography and documentary. Terra Incognita offers one of the few examples in our field of what a successful Multimodal ethnography could look like.

Shirley van der Maarel during her fieldwork
Amadou and Lamine are reading the guide

Samen Verder

The Samen Verder team produced a report on a Gronings project for women with a migration background. The project offers these women the opportunity to improve their language skills, to 'understand' Dutch culture more clearly and to build up a network for themselves. The jury praised the report as being extremely well-balanced in that it combines the theoretical framework, methodology and ethnography particularly well. It has become a consistent story in which unity of style and argument is guaranteed. The argument is well substantiated with references to self-assembled data and combines the analysis of this data with critical reflection on the representativeness of the research and a good eye for the initial thoughts with which one entered the field and what eventually resulted from it.

The jury: 'The triangle model proposed by "Samen Verder" in which language, integration and emancipation come together and reinforce each other (potentially) also contributes to policy insights - not a criterion for the prize, but something that Prof. Speckmann would certainly have been gilded with.'

Brainstorm team Samen Verder
Team Samen Verder

 Annually the Institute of Cultural Anthropology and Development Sociology awards the Speckmann prize for the best Fieldwork NL report from bachelor's students, as well as the most accomplished master’s thesis. This tradition started in 1993 and is named after Professor dr. J.D. Speckmann (1928-1997), who taught empirical sociology with a special focus on field research.

For more information about the Speckmann Prizes, see Prof.dr.J.D. Speckmann prize.

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