Hidden Heritage, Segregated Spaces: Uncovering Socio-Spatial Negotiations of Highly Skilled Indian Migrants in Frankfurt am Main (EN)

This lecture provides an in-depth exploration of the socio-spatial experiences of highly skilled Indian migrants (HSM) in Frankfurt, Germany’s largest demographic of skilled migrants. The study is particularly relevant and vital given the astounding 550% increase in this demographic over the last ten years. Using a variety of methodologies, including urban mapping, interviews, and discourse analysis, the research brings to light the challenges of residential segregation and cultural heritage invisibility faced by Indian HSM.

The research uncovers the discrimination that leads to migrant segregation within the city and the lack of visibility of cultural heritage, with religious institutions such as temples and gurudwaras housed in repurposed buildings located in industrial suburbs of Frankfurt. The lecture, set within the context of the 7th Annual Conference of the DFG Research Training Group “Identity and Heritage”, underscores the construction of identity amidst complex socio-political and physical spaces, with a particular focus on the pivotal role of HSM.

The study critically engages with conventional identity concepts within the realms of migration, urbanism, and cultural heritage, using empirical data and fieldwork mapping. It encourages a nuanced exploration of ‘identity’, challenging traditional perspectives and advocating for a more inclusive understanding.

The lecture highlights the importance of creating inclusive and equitable urban environments that respect and integrate cultural diversity. It calls for a re-examination of identity construction processes and advocates for the recognition and preservation of cultural heritage, emphasising the need for cultural heritage stewardship and accessibility.

This lecture contributes significantly to ongoing discourses on the socio-spatial dynamics shaping the experiences of Indian HSM in Frankfurt. It emphasises the urgency to understand and address the unique experiences of this rapidly growing demographic in Germany, thereby enriching our understanding of migration patterns and experiences in the context of global urbanisation and cultural integration.