In this proposal, we aim to work on the use of cultural heritage as an instrument of social integration for Arabic-speaking refugees/immigrants. This will be done through group visits to different museums in the city of Barcelona by Arabic-speakers from countries on the southern shores of the Mediterranean and the Near East, which will be carried out in standard Arabic. The result of the visits will be monitored with different methodologies used in the studies of visitors. The information obtained on the perception of the refugees/immigrants as regards their cultural heritage and Catalan heritage will be the base of a study enabling a better understanding of how cultural heritage can be used for social integration in populations threatened by situations of conflicts and extremism. The proposal seeks improvement in the quality of life of refugees/immigrants, with a special concern for females, aiming to increase their capacity of social interaction with other Arabic-speakers and with local society.
This is a pilot project to take two years, working with the collective of Arab immigrants and refugees in Barcelona. This experience will propose a methodology for the use of cultural heritage in social integration which may be used in other cities in Catalonia and with other ethnic-linguistic groups.
The present proposal has benefited from the experience obtained in the Multaka project, carried out in Berlin from November 2015 to December 2016, in which Arab refugees were helped to access several museums in the city. One of the members of our research team, the Syrian student Isber Sabrine, formed part of the group that planned and carried out the Berlin project.
- To experiment the use cultural heritage in the social integration of communities exposed to fundamentalist discourses.
- To use the museums in the city of Barcelona as a place where immigrants/refugees can discover the cultural reality of the host society.
- To know the feelings of immigrants towards the culture and history of Catalonia.
- To promote affective and cultural links of immigrants/refugees with the cultural heritage of Catalonia.
- To make clear, among residents in Catalonia, immigrants/refugees’ interest in discovering the history and culture of their host country.
- To help and promote intercultural dialogue amongst immigrants/refugees and between them and local society.
- To contribute towards female empowerment amongst the immigrant population, favour women’s access to culture and promote their social interaction network.
- To collaborate towards promoting associationism amongst immigrants/refugees, by facilitating contact with associations that already exist.
- To strengthen the theoretical and methodological framework of the use of cultural heritage as a tool for the social inclusion of immigrants/refugees.
- To increase the capacity of the use of cultural heritage as an argument contrary to Islamic fundamentalism and xenophobia in host countries.