Workshop Clash of Cultures

Clash of Cultures - "Where are you really from?"

@MigrationSpotlight: In the workshop "Clash of Cultures", migration manager Ümit Mares-Altinok raises awareness of the encounter with people from different cultures

"Hello, I'm Ümit." - "Hello, Ümit. Where are you from?" - "Vienna." - "Yes, but where are you really from?" - "From Meidling." - "And where else?" - Ümit Mares-Altinok is often in these situations. She was born and raised in Vienna. Her father came to Austria in the 1960s as a guest worker, her mother followed. "Alone because of my name I was and often still am not seen as an Austrian," says the migration manager (kultur & gut), who focuses in her work on the topics of interculturality, diversity and identity and wants to raise awareness for more sensitivity when meeting people from different (cultural) worlds. - So also last week with the workshop "Clash of Cultures" in Vienna, which the FernFH organized in the context of the European Union project "@MigrationSpotlight".

The name is an important part of the own identity. The participants became aware of this when each of them told a story about their name. "The name alone does not say much about a person", Mares-Altinok emphasized. Nevertheless, we humans would tend to immediately interpret a lot into it. Instead of asking "Where do you come from", the migration manager recommends the phrase "Where does your name come from?” In this way, the person opposite has the chance to tell his/her story.

Wheel of Diversity and BIFI Method

In the workshop, Mares-Altinok presented the "Wheel of Dimensions of Diversity". The inner dimensions such as age, ethnicity and origin or skin colour are difficult or impossible to change, whereas changes in the outer dimensions are more likely to be possible, e.g. in terms of education, habits, or leisure behaviour. However, the possibility of change is strongly related to cultural background: In Austria, for example, it is customary to choose whether or what to study. In some cultures, this topic is intensively discussed and decided within the family.

The migration manager presented the BIFI method in the workshop: First a situation is described, then interpreted, then questions can be asked and finally interaction is possible. "This method can be used in a wide variety of situations," said Mares-Altinok.


The workshop "Clash of Cultures" took place within the framework of the project "@MigrationSpotlight". The transnational project "Migrant and Refugee Support for Cultivating Intercultural Competences" (@MigrationSpotlight) will be carried out between November 2018 and February 2021 and is funded by the EU programme Erasmus+. The aim of the five partners from five EU member states (Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Greece, Cyprus) is to strengthen intercultural competences of people working with asylum seekers and migrants in the partner countries. This goal is to be achieved by developing and implementing a "Train the Trainer Programme" using innovative teaching and learning concepts. For Austria the Ferdinand Porsche FernFH is involved as a project partner.