Inclusion of refugees’ stories in cultural heritage and participation of refugees as co-creators in cultural life in the European cities.


Today refugees form an integral part of the European cities. They bring valuable contributions to the economic, social and cultural fabric of the cities they live in. Yet the lives, the contributions and history of refugees in European cities still remain marginalised, undocumented and make hardly part of our European heritage.


While EU is struggling with establishing a uniform asylum system, a disbalance in the policy of different EU states on admission, integration an participation of refugees is growing: countries at the periphery (like Greece) long for solidarity, while the northern and western ones (like Germany, Sweden and France) struggle with the integration of the refugees.


In between these struggles, the experiences of refugees themselves with the policy practices on integration and their efforts to build a new life in a new place, remain unnoticed and are not taken into consideration by the development of (new) integration policies.


Added to this, the public perception of refugees which is largely shaped by the dominant media and political interests often represent refugees in a negative light. The refugee is mainly seen as the ‘other’ who threatens our liberal and traditional values. While we are forgetting or maybe even more neglecting the importance of the history of migration in the making of Europe.


Specially Unknown wants to initiate a process of changing these representations and perceptions and to inspire cultural participation of refugees in the European cities in the broadest sense.  Specially Unknown believes that collecting and sharing life stories in creative ways, contributes to a stronger awareness of our collective migration past, growing compassion and understanding towards new groups; and that involving refugees, not only as spectators but as contributors to cultural heritage, makes them feel more appreciated and welcome.