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“I am passionate about being critical and questioning how our society functions, and not accepting things for as they seem”, says Nadine Blankvoort, winner of the very first TEDxMaastricht PhD Pitch Night.

“With my talk, I aim to explore the discourse that refugees in the Netherlands encounter while in the mandatory integration program by presenting findings of analysis done on books, courses, exams or pamphlets given to refugees in Netherlands. I explore what messages are being sent to refugees when they read these documents on what we expect them do in order to integrate ‘successfully’, and what image of the ‘good’ Dutch person is shown which they should strive to be. We will explore how this is different elsewhere, and how this impacts on the daily life of refugees. Through this talk I hope to make these expectations visible to the audience, and by making them visible, begin the dialogue of critically questioning them. Are these really the expectations we have? Are these really the messages we want to send to newcomers in the Netherlands?”

In her work Nadine aims to contribute to a world where there is space to critically question and challenge assumptions in governance and society and where they come from. “Through doing this I believe we can contribute to stopping the increasing divide between groups in our society, and can celebrate the diversity which makes a society exciting to live in.”

Ninih Vang