Arts for integration: celebrating diversity, affirming dignity, and building empowerment

June Bianchi invites us to register free of charge for the 4th annual UNESCO RILA Spring School: The Arts of Integrating! It takes place online May 17-28th. June writes:

As a Senior Lecturer in Arts Education at Bath Spa University for over 25 years, I have greatly appreciated the many opportunities for close synergy between my day job and the core beliefs and values central to my Quaker membership.

My experiences both as a visual artist and as lecturer and facilitator with people across the broadest spread of cultures, ages and capacities have reinforced my conviction that participation in the arts is empowering: building self esteem, confidence, creative and collaborative skills, fostering understanding of others, and appreciation and delight in diversity. All of this has been strongly evidenced in recent years through international research disseminated through organisations such as the Cultural Learning Alliance.

The capacity of the arts significantly to respond to key global concerns of justice, equity and social integration have also been investigated in international research such as the European Commission’s Report How culture and the arts can promote intercultural dialogue in the context of migratory and refugee crisis (2017). This resonated strongly with my universalist Quaker values, alongside my professional expertise developing intercultural global creative arts partnership projects across Europe, USA, India, China, Ethiopia etc.

I was therefore delighted to be invited in 2018 to contribute as UK Co-ordinator to a two-year European Commission project ArtsTogether: integrating migrant children through intercultural arts educational strategies, collaborating with cultural, educational and social welfare teams from Austria, Belgium, Italy, and Greece. The project responded to the need for integration of migrant families particularly within key host communities in Italy and Greece.

My co-ordinator role was to develop, in conjunction with a UK team, a creative curricular rationale, strategies and resources to be implemented within migrant camps, centres, community and educational institutions. In December 2020, following pilot studies and projects, ArtsTogether Curriculum was presented to an international audience in Rome and is also available online, accessible in three languagues: see ArtsTogether Home and ArtsTogether Curriculum

ArtsTogether Project approaches will also be shared at the keynote joint presentation below:

Keynote 24th May – presentation 9-10 followed by workshop session until 11am: ArtsTogether Inclusive Curriculum: supporting integration of migrant children through intercultural arts educational strategies – June Bianchi (Senior Lecturer in Arts and Design Education at Bath Spa University) and Antonella Alessi (Project Manager at Centro per lo Sviluppo Creativo “Danilo Dolci”)

This is part of the 4th annual UNESCO RILA Spring School: The Arts of Integrating! online May 17-28th, a free two-week festival, combining academic thought with artistic and linguistic practice in an effort to share and create new ways of working in the context of migration and integration.

Discussions, workshops, performances, presentations, collaborative art and more, celebrating and creating language, art and integration. Get a link by registering here.

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