The Role of Culture and the Arts in the Integration of Refugees and Migrants

The European Expert Network on Culture and Audiovisual (EENCA) was established in December 2015 by a consortium of Panteia and iMinds-SMIT (VUB) on behalf of DG EAC of the European Commission.  The EENCA was asked by DG EAC asked to prepare a literature review and preliminary mapping of relevant practices, related to the central question: How can culture and the arts help to integrate refugees and migrants? Since refugees and migrants often settle in urban areas, cities are the focus of this preliminary mapping study. The three cities Barcelona, Berlin and London, as well initiatives from a range of Eastern Europe cities were selected to ensure a variety of examples from different parts of Europe. Barcelona, Berlin and London are cities with vital and growing creative industries, and their cultural, social and ethnic diversity can be seen as important drivers for this creativity. Although Spain is not among the EU+ countries receiving the largest number of asylum applicants, Barcelona is a diverse city which has been a frontrunner in promoting cities as safe places for refugees. Ada Colau, the Mayor of Barcelona, recently launched a register for families who were willing to provide help (accommodation, language lessons etc.) to refugees. Due to the recent developments, in which Eastern European countries became major destination and transit countries for refugees and asylum seekers, it was decided to instead cover initiatives from various Eastern European cities (Bucharest, Budapest, Prague, Sofia and Warsaw). Future research could also explore initiatives in rural areas, at the regional level, and in reception centres for asylum seekers. Elaine McGregor and Nora Ragab from UNU-MERIT and its School of Governance have assisted the EENCA with the preparation of the preliminary mapping and with the analysis of subsequent questionnaires issued to Member States by DG EAC.