The successful and organic integration of migrants into EU hosting societies remains problematic for many national migrant policies. This is a persistent Europe-wide challenge, which has now become more urgent, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic has disrupted our lives and societies, but extensive research is showing that the pandemic has already revealed and exacerbated pre-existing socioeconomic inequalities of migrants, a group facing the additional burden of xenophobia and discrimination. These persistent phenomena are triggered by cultural misunderstanding, bias and fear of the “other”. At the same time, the cultural and artistic sectors were hit the most.
Culture and Art for Restorative Justice (CA4RJ) aims to respond to this need, using the power of art and restorative justice to increase cultural awareness and thus contribute to the successful integration of migrant communities at one of the most challenging times for Europe. This will be achieved through the project’s tailored and evidence-based accredited training and other social actions, which use creative arts combined with the values of restorative justice. The starting point of our intended, innovative training programme is the UK tested “Culture and Art for Unity” a user-led project, which received multiple awards by the London Mayor.
Moreover, acknowledging that prevention of migrants’ marginalisation requires a holistic approach to social inclusion and inequality, CA4RJ will put emphasis on connecting cultural and art organisations with civil society, and strengthening cross-sectorial cooperation. To overcome the COVID19’s impact, the art and cultural sectors will be connected with restorative justice practitioners, education, social and health services, mental health and community organisations who support migrants’ integration creating new market opportunities and break the silo working.
CA4RJ aims to empower creative and cultural professionals who support migrants and especially those who are at risk of marginalization. It will increase the skills, knowledge and confidence that will allow them to foster their migrants’ development of social, civic and intercultural competences, while helping them to develop ownership of shared values and boost social inclusion.
Migrants and local population. Combined with restorative justice and creative arts, our project will bring people closer, showcasing what unites rather than what divides us.