ComeIN Project – Art and photography workshops for the expression of integration
Type of Information
The People for Change Foundation
Jean-Pierre Gauci (Login to send email)
Contact Person Function
The ComeIN project uses creative, artistic activities and strategies to promote refugee and migrant integration. The project empowers refugees and migrants to use art to share their experiences of integration in Malta, with an exciting opportunity to present their work in an exhibition. Art and culture also present a unique chance to bring together and foster dialogue between migrants and host communities.
Issue/Challenge and Goal/Assumption
Migrants and refugees face many challenges in integrating into local communities, including hostility and discrimination. Through the ComeIN project, they can use art and photography to share their experiences in Malta, their cultures and traditions and their personal journeys of integration.
This project helps participants develop their self-discipline, creativity and patience, as well as artistic skills. The aim is to improve the experience of refugees and migrants in Malta and, through art and photography, bridge the gap between migrants and Maltese society.
How does it work
The People for Change Foundation organised arts-related workshops for refugees and migrants. During the workshops, participants used various techniques, including painting, sketching, collage and photography, to share their messages. The artwork and photographs produced during the workshops have been showcased in an online exhibition, including narratives of how their artwork represents their story of integration.
Two local NGOs, the African Media Association and the Migrant Women Association, collaborated with the project to publicise the workshops and find participants interested in art and photography.
Some of the workshops focused on art techniques. A qualified artist with experience working with migrant communities helped deliver these sessions. Activities included painting objects and landscapes that symbolise the participants’ lives in Malta and creating collages to compare Maltese culture and traditions with those of the participants’ home countries. The activities allowed participants to visually narrate their integration journey in Malta.
A photographer based in Malta collaborated on the photography workshop sessions, with a focus on portraying migrants’ experiences through photography. These sessions included a theoretical part concerning basic photography techniques, with a focus on mobile phone photography, and a practical part in which the participants took photos around Malta in towns such as Valletta and Hamrun.
The project created an online exhibition to display the artwork produced during the workshops. The exhibition generates awareness of the experiences and stories of migrants and refugees in Malta. The aim is to demonstrate the similarities between the lives of the participants and the Maltese community and thereby reduce tensions between local and migrant communities, increase mutual understanding and show the appreciation that migrants feel towards their new home.
The People for Change Foundation organised eleven workshops reaching a total of 40 participants. Most workshops had an attendance of between 10 and 15 participants.
The outputs of the workshops, which included about 50 photographs and 20 other types of artwork, have been shared in an online exhibition.
The workshops proved to be a success, according to positive feedback from the participants. They expressed interest in participating in more workshops of this kind. They also appreciated how the workshops gave them a platform to share their experiences and an opportunity to participate in different, meaningful activities.
The project outputs show the need for similar platforms for migrants and refugees to speak and connect with the local community. The numbers and results from the exhibition will also be meaningful in understanding the success of the project in terms of reaching the Maltese community.
Who will benefit?
The main beneficiaries were migrants and refugees who have gained new artistic and creative skills, whilst helping to explore the topic of integration. Members of the public will also benefit from the results of this project, as they can view stories of integration through the migrant participants’ artwork and photos.
Source of funding and Resources used
Funding for the project came from the European Commission Creative Europe, Culture Sub-Programme.