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Because culture does have a say in Europe’s refugee crisis

Posted on Dec 18, 2017 by in issue #08 |

By GiannaLia Cogliandro Beyens

ENCATC Secretary General and editor of the /encatcSCHOLAR



Because culture does have a say in Europe’s refugee crisis


The 6th ENCATC Academy on Culture in External Relations (Brussels, 27-28 March 2017) was devoted to “The question of culture in Europe’s refugee crisis”. The focus on this topic showed ENCATC’s commitment to one of the most pressing humanitarian issues of our times. Convinced that culture can, and actually is playing a role in the reaction to this crisis, the different contributions in this issue offer a kaleidoscopic view of this complex and urgent issue. As on previous occasions, this monographic issue of the /encatcSCHOLAR wants to give continuity and expand the debate we started with the Academy in March.

This issue includes three Case Analyses. Lucas Tello (ZEMOS98) presents “Displaced in Media”, a project aimed at bringing young migrants and refugees’ voices into the European media landscape. The second case analysis is offered by Henrik Zipsane (Jamtli Foundation), who explains the decision of the Jamtli Museum in Östersund (Sweden) to play an active role to face the housing problem in the region and promote intercultural dialogue, by developing the New Village initiative, a small village inside the museum with a high percentage of tenants with a refugee background. Finally, Matina Magkou (cultural manager and researcher) presents “Hotel Transit – homes on the move”, a project exploring communities in transit and their relation to local urban space.

In the Angles section, Marina Clauzet (University of Barcelona) reflects on how art and art mediation can contribute to the social inclusion of refugees. Raphaela Henze (Heilbronn University and Brokering Intercultural Exchange network) and Ana Sécio (EMERGE, Cultural Association) bring us two Interviews, to Cornelia Lanz and Márcio Carvalho, respectively. Cornelia is a mezzo-soprano and the founder of Zuflucht Kultur e.V. (Association Refuge Culture), while Márcio has explored the issue of collective memory through different artistic projects, such as “Floating Platforms”, in which he worked with refugees and elderly people in Turku (Finland). The piece by Erin Cory (Malmö University), on its part, is a hybrid between a Profile and a Case Analysis, since she introduces us to the work of miriam cooke and Maggie O’Neill, but also presents, in relation to the work of these two authors, the case of Trampoline House, an independent community space in Copenhagen which offers an opportunity for refugees and asylum seekers in Denmark to find a place of support. Finally, a summary of the main issues raised during the 6th ENCATC Academy is presented in the Proceedings section.

As proved by all these contributions, Europe’s refugee crisis and the role culture should play in it is not a clear-cut issue. Not avoiding the debate on the instrumentalisation of vulnerable groups by the arts and culture, we also want to hear and learn from real experiences which are actually bringing refugees’ experiences, voices and artistic works to the forefront. We find it crucial to bring these debates and learnings into the classroom, encouraging future artists, cultural managers and policy makers to collectively reflect on the question of culture in Europe’s refugee crisis from this multidimensional approach. We really hope the materials in this issue of the /encatcSCHOLAR are useful for this purpose.


GiannaLia Cogliandro Beyens

As Secretary General of ENCATC, GiannaLia Cogliandro Beyens is responsible for the overall performance of the organization, working with all staff to ensure inter-departmental coordination to accomplish the organization’s strategic plan as established by the ENCATC Board. She works to implement the innovative and ambitious programming, planning and operational tools and policies to advance the organization’s mission and goals. She is also responsible to advocate for, and communicate the interests of the organisation at the International and European level to key stakeholders. GiannaLia joined ENCATC in 2004. She is Italian and she holds a degree on holds a Degree in Political Sciences – International relations, an M.A. in European & International Career Studies and an M.A. in European Constitution.


Header image: Writing? Yeah by Caleb Roenigk on Flickr// CC BY 2.0