9: Arts-based research work with migrant children

‘Migrant children represent a significant share of the refugee population’ (IOM & UNICEF). Many are growing up in bleak conditions, surrounded by poverty and violence. Education is widely recognised as a mean to foster successful integration, but it is not always available or is sometimes too formal with a focus on the values, norms, and experiences of the native population. This can lead to migrant children and ethnic minority pupils gradually developing a sense of inferiority, irrelevance, and resentment (, p. 67) Fieldwork supports the importance of informal arts-based education by showing that ‘almost all youths enjoyed taking part in certain remedial and recreational educational activities. For most of them, participation in a wide range of off-site activities, such as language courses, football and basketball, music, painting, and break-dance classes, was a source of excitement’ (). Such engagement in combined educational and recreational activities has therefore led many educators to turn to art as a facilitator for learning, socialising, understanding a difficult past, and exploring new directions for the future. During the last 20 years, many artists have been contributing to these arts-based educational experiments. They are convinced that art has a role to play in providing a wider and more complex vision of reality. Then too, researchers have recognised art as a legitimate and useful methodological approach () to explore the acquisition of knowledge and social inclusion (). Arts-based research (ABR) uses art as a methodological research tool in its data generation, analysis, interpretation, and representation.

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