Brokering Migrants' Cultural Participation Print
Sunday, 22 June 2014 13:39
Brokering migrants’ cultural participation is a two-year project (2013-2015) funded by the European Commission-Directorate General Home Affairs.

The general aim of the project is to enhance and stimulate the cultural participation of migrants by improving the capacity of their local cultural public institutions to interact with them. Public cultural institutions are part of the receiving society, which has to live up to the challenge of managing cultural diversity and ensuring intercultural integration. Central to these tasks is the enhancement of the intercultural capacity of public cultural institutions by diversifying their staff and governance bodies. The project has the following specific objectives: a) to promote the engagement of the receiving communities in interacting with the migrants, based on the mutual respect of their rights, obligations and different cultures; b) to ensure equal treatment and improve diversity management in the public and private work places, service provision, education systems, media and other important arenas. Indeed, public cultural institutions are "important arenas" in which to promote equal treatment and improve diversity management. 

To achieve the general and specific objectives, the project develops the following work methodology in four phases:
(1) A benchmarking tool for diversity management in cultural institution in order to manage the sector's needs on how to promote integration. It tracks the potential journey of a cultural institution from a basic level where the institutions recognise the need to reflect society’s diversity by adapting rules and making statements, through two intermediate levels to an advanced level, where the cultural institutions as organisations fully reflects society’s diversity and promotes participation. Benchmarks for each level are defined in six different areas: (a) audience/visitor relations, (b) programme/repertoire/collections, (c) partners/collaborators for programming and profiling, (d) employees, (e) board members, and (f) suppliers. A draft of this benchmarking tool has already been developed by Platform for Intercultural Europe together with Migration Policy Group. A first step in the project will be to put the benchmarking tool to the scrutiny of a group of experts from cultural institutions and from migrants' self-organisations in order to refine it in the framework of a workshop designed and organised to this end. The 2-day workshop will take place in Brussels. The concrete output of the workshop will be the final version of the benchmarking tool. 
(2) A pilot research exercise in order to analyse the sector's needs on how to promote integration. We will identify 10-15 cultural institutions each in at least 7 EU countries with a diversified cultural sector and a strong set of public cultural institutions that have had to face important challenges regarding the integration of Third Country Nationals. The countries included in the research are envisaged to be Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden. Relevant key functionaries within the selected institutions will be interviewed in order to establish the stage these have reached in the journey of diversity management, to establish critical hurdles and to identify needs. Interviews will be conducted in the languages of the countries with mainly structured questions. Participating institutions will be ranked on the basis of the outcome of the pilot research and will receive comparative feedback with pointers for development. The pilot exercise will also be the basis for refining the benchmarking tool, in dialogue with the expert group of the migrants' self-organisations.
(3) The identification of public cultural institutions (PCIs), to which an accompanied Learning Partnership (LPs) will be offered in order to equip the sector on how to promote integration. Four kinds of LPs are foreseen:
- Between PCIs who are advanced in their field in terms of diversity management and similar institutions interested in emulating the example in order to spread good practice.
- Between PCIs and non-governmental organisations rooted in migrant self-organisation which promote either artists from Third Countries resident in the EU or migrants’ cultural participation in order to bring intercultural competence into the public institutions and to enhance the involvement of the NGOs.
- Between PCIs and employment agencies in order to develop strategies for the diversification of their staff.
- Between PCIs and schools with high migrant population.

One partnership of each kind is envisaged for each country covered by the pilot research exercise, i.e. a total of 24 LP. The LPs will take place in form of sets of facilitated bi-lateral meetings between potential partners and culminate in a one-day sharing conference per type of potential partnerships per country.

Benchmarking tool and LPs outcomes will be disseminated broadly for use and emulation:

Partners of the project are:
Interarts Foundation (Spagna) - Coordinatore
Intercult (Svezia)
EDUCULT (Austria)
CAE - CUlture Action Europre (Belgio)
ECCOM - European Centre for Cultural Organisation and Management (Italia)