British report on the role of art and culture in integration

August 2005 -

The British organisation Creative Exchange has published a report (with accompanying DVD) entitled ‘A Sense of Belonging’ that addresses the role of arts and culture in the integration of refugees and asylum-seekers into British society. This easy-to-read report is a snapshot based on the work of 33 cultural projects.

imageThe report reveals that integration is a process that requires change on the part of both the newcomers and the host country. The report provides convincing proof that cultural activities contribute to the creation of diversity and cultural identity, lead to understanding on all sides and create positive impressions.

The DVD contains mini-documentaries in which the parties involved talk about the backgrounds to and the results achieved by nine particular projects. For example, the Exiled Writers Ink! project provided Somali women with a platform to talk about their experiences. These experiences then formed the basis for a theatrical performance that these women also collaborated on. Another example: Photovoice arranged an intensive photographic training course for thirteen teenage refugees, which subsequently led to a successful travelling exhibition. As a final example, Cardboard Citizens brought together asylum-seekers and professional actors to perform an adaptation of the Shakespeare play Pericles that was based on asylum-seekers’ own experiences. Whilst watching the performance, the audience were asked to fill in an 18-page asylum application form.

Creative Exchange is a British network organisation involved in cultural and development activities, such as the Virtual Resource Centre, which is an online guide that contains a wealth of links, descriptions of organisations and lists of publications.

You can order the report and DVD from Eco Distribution by e-mailing It costs £15 with the DVD or £10 without.