The ARENAS Analysis of and Responses to Extremist Narratives project launched on May 9-11, 2023, with a three-day transnational partner event in Paris. The project is funded by the EU Horizon Programme, the Framework Programme for Research and Innovation (2021-2027), and is co-ordinated by Julien Longhi and his team in CY Cergy Paris Université, France. It brings together a multidisciplined consortium of nine Universities, an NGO, two SME’s as well as five associated impact partners comprised of an International Association, two National Associations, and two NGOs.
Over the next four years, ARENAS puts the spotlight on extremist narratives that affect political and social life in Europe. The team will examine the nature of these narratives and seeks to understand the discourses they impact, particularly with regard to science, gender and the nation. By understanding of how these narratives work, ARENAS will empower people to resist them. To foster a spirit of people living together in harmony across Europe, policy recommendations will be made as to how prevent such narratives taking hold in the future.
Thus, the overall objective of ARENAS is to characterise, measure and understand the role of extremist narratives in discourses that have an impact not only on political and social spheres, but importantly on the stakeholders themselves. Leading an innovative and ambitious research programme, ARENAS will significantly contribute to filling the gap in contemporary research, make recommendations to policy makers, medias, lawyers, social inclusion professionals and educational institutions, and propose solutions for countering extremes narratives for developing more inclusive and respectful European societies.
At the launch event, participants from across the consortium examined and validated the project’s goals, methodology and activities. Each of the seven Work Package teams shared their specific research and innovation objectives, strategies and the outcomes that will emerge. Partners also put the spotlight on Project Management and Communications, the setting up of Governance bodies and an introduction to the ARENAS Ethical Board. Partners also benefitted from a highly interactive session on Data Management and Data Security and the opportunity to hear from sister Horizon Europe projects currently working on related projects.
Dynamic presentations, discussions, and breakout groups helped to build relationships and support collaboration between the partners as they embark on this project together. The kick-off meeting welcomed representatives from lead partner CY Cergy Paris Université (France), and the Institute of Contemporary History (Slovenia), Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona (Spain), Institut de Ciències Polítiques i Socials (Spain), University of Helsinki (Finland), CNRS (France), Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf (Germany), Università degli studi di Genova (Italy), University of Cyprus (Cyprus), Creative Ideas (Latvia), Momentum Educate + Innovate (Ireland), Water On Mars (Italy), and Fundacio OXFAM Intermon (Spain).