ISBN: 978-1-906172-02-2

Arts and Refugees: History, Impact and Future

Author(s):*Listed Alphabetically
Khan S, Kidd B, Zahir S

Year of Publication:

Arts Council England, Paul Hamlyn Foundation, The Baring Foundation

Publication Type:


There is evidence from this research that cultural activities have proved to be an effective means of promoting community cohesion, creating better understanding and mutual acceptance between host communities and refugees and asylum seekers. The research has also demonstrated that participation in the arts can help to build confidence and to develop key skills amongst new arrivals. The report considers the impact that the new influences brought by refugee artists can have on UK cultural life and recommends that the particular support needs of refugee artists should be addressed.

The report argues that a UK-wide, strategic approach is needed in order to grasp the opportunity offered by cultural engagement to address current government policy on community cohesion. The role of culture in addressing issues of community cohesion has been recognised in Public Service Agreement 21, recently issued by HM Treasury. This emphasises the need ‘to help people from all sections of society to understand and celebrate the contribution made by arrange of cultures to Britain’, and ‘to help immigrants to integrate into our communities’, and sets a cultural participation indicator to help measure achievement. This creates a policy context which should inform the establishment of a stronger national lead on the use of the arts in working with refugees and asylum seekers across the UK.

The research was commissioned in spring 2007 by Arts Council England, London, the Baring Foundation and the Paul Hamlyn Foundation. Hybrid was engaged to undertake the project. The research is structured across three key fields: participation in the arts, both in terms of creative activity in its own right and in terms of the instrumental use of the arts to address social objectives; artistic and cultural development, including the interests of artists who are refugees; and strategic interventions that support this area of work.

Evidence Type: Policy Document

Main Focus: Wellbeing / Quality of life

Research Purpose: Discussion / Debate

Context: Community

Participant Group: Young People (16-25)

Art Forms: Multi-Arts

Access Type: Free Download

APA Citation:

Kidd, B., Zahir, S. and Khan, S. (2008). Arts and Refugees: History, Impact and Future. The Baring Foundation; Arts Council England; Paul Hamlyn Foundation