The Aegean Observatory of the Refugee and Migration Crisis organizes and posts content regarding the geographic region of the Aegean islands and the coasts, published to a large extent from the summer of 2017 onwards, with the exception of the research publications that start from January 2015.
The content of this website includes original materials that are produced by the Observatory. Most of the content is secondary material belonging to four main categories: first, publications and articles in the local, national and international press as well as in the social media; second, reports and press releases of international and non-governmental organizations; third, papers, reports, announcements and official documents of Greek and European authorities; fourth, academic articles, collective volumes and monographs as well as unpublished academic papers (for example, conference papers and proceedings, reports, dissertations and theses).
The Observatory website, in addition to its Homepage, is divided into two parts and consists of three main menus: Refugees, Migrants, and Humanitarian Governance and Local Societies belong to the first part; while the Research menu, due to its special significance, comprises a second, distinct part.
The content of the first two menus (Refugees, Migrants and Humanitarian Governance / Local Societies) concerns refugees and migrants in the Aegean islands; the organizations, authorities, and actors involved in humanitarian governance on the islands; and the local communities. The content of these two menus is selected on the basis of its relevance to both the wider menu theme and its focus on the geographical area of the Aegean.
The second part of the site with a single menu Research comprises a digital space in which relevant research regarding the refugee and migration issues in the Aegean is collected and presented. The Observatory covers primarily research in the geographical area of the Aegean, but this menu may also include research papers that have a broader geographic focus, insofar as they refer to aspects - institutional, political, economic and other- which are directly related to the refugee and migration issue in the Aegean.
The two parts of the Website function independently of each other; like two volumes of a book each one has its own index. Each part offers its own unique search capability through its sub-menus: the Updates sub-menu, located on the site's Homepage; and the sub-menu Research Updates, located on the homepage of the Research menu.
On the site’s Homepage are separate sections with Selected Updates from the Refugees, Immigrants and Humanitarian Governance and Local Communities menu, with Publications of Collaborators of the Observatory, with Suggested Research Publications, Multimedia links, as well as a section with the Last Updates about research. Also here are the research Paper of the Month and the Document of the Month from the Repository. Finally, on the Homepage the user may find the entry to both the Digital Repository and the Observatory's blog.
The Homepage includes five sub-menus. The sub-menu About the Observatory includes information about the Observatory, its objectives, its supporting team and its partners. Here there is also a user guide. The Repository sub-menu contains information on the Observatory's digital archive, which gives access to a variety of documents regarding the refugee and migration crisis in the Aegean Sea from January 2015 to today. The Updates sub-menu includes all the posts in the first two menus. The same sub-menu also offers the ability to search the content of the first part of the site through filters, that is, through chronological, spatial and thematic parameters that are independent of how the Observatory chooses to display its content in the relevant menus. The Topics sub-menu offers a thematic list of site content. By choosing one of the topics in the directory, the user can access all the posts that fall within that topic. Finally, the Events sub-menu includes announcements and invitations to non-academic events concerning refugee and immigration issues in the Aegean islands.
As it gives emphasis on populations that are displaced and on the move, the first menu of the site, entitled Refugees, Migrants and Humanitarian Governance, is devoted to three main aspects of the phenomenon and is correspondingly divided into three sub-menus. The Refugees and Migrants sub-menu contains materials (such as articles in newspapers, announcements, and press releases as well as reports from organizations and government agencies) on the various aspects of the lives of refugees and immigrants arriving and living in the Aegean area. The content of this sub-menu is classified thematically and so it is searchable on the basis of categories such as residence and living, activities, political action, stories, testimonies, children, unaccompanied minors, vulnerable groups, etc.
The sub-menu, Centers and Facilities, presents infrastructures for the reception, identification, registration and “hospitality” of displaced people as well as materials related to different “centers and structures,” or as they are formally known “Reception and Identification Centers” (“hot spots”), as well as unofficial hospitality structures for refugees and migrants in the Aegean islands. The content of the page is organized according to each particular center or structure that has functioned for a certain period of time on each island.
The sub-menu Humanitarian Governance presents materials regarding the institutional and informal, collective and individual actors involved in the humanitarian governance of the refugee and migration crisis in the Aegean. For the convenience of the user, there is a detailed list of Greek and European authorities, national, international and inter-governmental organizations, local and international non-governmental organizations and unofficial collectives who have been active in the governance of the humanitarian crisis in the Aegean islands as well as a general category of individual actors (volunteers / activists). However, this page does not post materials produced by these organizations and collectives. Such materials, including announcements, updates and reports, can be accessed by the user through the search function provided in the Updates sub-menu of the Homepage.
The local communities of the Aegean islands, which are affected in various ways, by the presence of displaced populations and humanitarian actors, are the subject of the menu Local Societies. This menu contains materials, such as articles in the press, updates from local organizations and groups, testimonies of island residents etc., regarding the social life of the Aegean islands; public dialogues; local issues (economy, politics, tourism, etc.) relevant to the management of refugee and migration issues in local communities; and, finally, collective activities and actions that take place in the context of local social relations with the migratory populations as well as with the agents of humanitarian governance.
The materials under the Local Societies menu are classified into six sub-menus, corresponding to the five communities with Hot spots - Lesvos, Chios, Samos, Kos and Leros - and the communities of the Other Islands of the Aegean. These pages do not contain any material about what is happening generally on each island in relation to the refugee and migratory crisis. The user can perform a spatial search on the entire site of the Observatory through the search function provided in the Updates sub-menu of the Home Page.
The third menu of the site concerns research conducted on refugee and immigration issues in the Aegean. The menu, which functions as an independent page, includes monographs, academic articles, chapters in edited volumes, unpublished academic papers or links to all the above as well as invitations to conferences and references to other academic events related to the refugee and migratory crisis in the Aegean. On the homepage of the Research menu, beyond the fixed modules with suggestions for the research of Observatory collaborators and other researchers, which are also on the Homepage of the website, there are two sections with selected research publications of members of the University of the Aegean and other Greek and international publications as well as a section in visual anthropology.
The Research menu is divided into five sub-menus. The first three present the research and the academic events on the refugee and migration issue in the Aegean that are realized correspondingly in the University of the Aegean, Greek Institutions and Foreign Institutions, as well as the relevant academic publications. The remaining two sub-menus correspond to Bibliography, a page displaying a constantly updated list of relevant academic publications, and the Research Updates page, where the user can navigate through all of the menu content using the search engine offered.
The Observatory and its website are as dynamic as the refugee and migration crisis to which they refer, and so they change according to the new conditions and needs that arise. We kindly call our readers to point out any weaknesses and shortcomings of this project and help us with their thoughts and comments to improve the website.