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What can culture do for the social inclusion of migrants and refugees?

  • 3 months 1 week ago
  • programme grantloan events

50 organisations from 17 European countries met in Brussels for a first meeting of projects supporting the integration of refugees and migrants.

The participants represent projects selected in 2016 under the Creative Europe support for refugee integration call and the Erasmus+ social inclusion call. In total, 12 cultural projects, 27 education and training and 7 youth projects will be funded by the initiatives.

The meeting brought together projects funded by different programmes, Erasmus + and Creative Europe. These projects share similar challenges, problems and ambitions. What's more, they share a conviction that it is possible to contribute to the social inclusion of marginal communities, migrants and refugees and help build a better mutual understanding of what diversity means in Europe today.

The meeting offered an excellent opportunity for exchange and networking between projects working in different countries. It was also an occasion to deepen understanding of the broader policy context at European level. Staff from the European Commission presented what the EU is doing to support the integration of migrants and refugees across areas including:

  • education, youth, sport and culture
  • migration and home affairs
  • employment
  • research

Creative Europe projects

The 12 projects funded under Creative Europe involve 62 organisations in 20 countries covering a whole range of sectors including creative writing, publishing, libraries and museums, dance, music, theatre, digital arts, film, video, graphic arts, painting, drawing and photography.

Many projects focus on telling the stories of refugees. Another common thread is encouraging the sharing of experiences between refugees and host communities. Through intercultural and interfaith dialogue, the projects aim to build tolerance and respect.

In the words of Neil Beddow, artistic director at Acta Community Theatre in Bristol and coordinator of the REACT project:

It's very hard to hate someone when you have been empathising with their stories, or laughing at their jokes…

This is why many projects focus on the collection of stories, shared through digital storytelling technologies, rather than video productions, documentaries or interactive exhibitions.

Building respect for democratic values and promoting active citizenship in Europe are an important goals for the EU - these projects represent a small contribution towards them.

Discover the projects

To get an idea of what the projects will do and who's behind them, watch our short interviews with the organisers.

Photo: Johan A. Francois [EACEA 2017]