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The digital companion: accessibility, communication and information hub for migrants, local population and Public Administrations



Bringing together leading researchers from across disciplinary boundaries, the conference explored the relationship between digital technologies and diasporic communities, with particular attention to linguistic and cultural diversity.

This conference was funded as part of the translingual strand of the AHRC ‘Cross-Language Dynamics: Reshaping Community’ project and was led by the Institute of Modern Languages Research and Digital Humanities at the School of Advanced Study.

With the high number of refugees and migrant flows in Europe, the need to overcome the

challenges of managing and integrating these communities is vital. Communication is often an obstacle both when gathering background information (i.e. legal status) and in the process of integration in their host countries. This article proposes Information and Communications Technology (ICT) as a tool to support local authorities in managing the migrants in their region and migrants to build a new life integrating with the local society.

The aim of this article is to present and evaluate the potential of a digital companion for migrants that will enable personalized two-ˇway communication using chatbots. Because of the various

languages spoken and alphabets used by the arriving communities, pictograms, images and other signs will be used as a “visual language” that will facilitate communication and ensure understanding.

The tool will provide migrants with information on the available services and will allow them to interact with the local contexts in general. In addition, the information gathered using the digital companion will be used to collect fact-based information on migration which will be fed to Public Administrations for service provision purposes; and to the local population, in order to enhance the perception of refugees among the local communities.

A number of co-creation workshops, interviews, observation and surveys will be carried out for the creation of the digital companion. This personalized tool will be user-ˇcentered and will take into account user feedback from the beginning of the project.

The tool is expected to facilitate communication with incoming migrants and provide factual, useful information to PAs and local communities. The results from the project will be disseminated among key stakeholders and the tool will be designed so that it can be adapted to different contexts and countries.

This project is part of REBUILD, a major proposal from various European and international organizations that aim at improving management procedures of the local authorities and the life quality of the migrants.

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Rebuild project
European project
This project has received funding from the European Union’s
Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under
grant agreement No 822215.