UNESCO RILA Spring School 2018


9-11 MAY 2018

For the duration of three days, the Kinning Park Complex and the Pearce Institute were transformed into an international knowledge exchange festival, where anybody interested in migration and related topics could share creative and/or linguistic practices. It was a collection of key notes, workshops, presentations and performances, centered around the Arts of Integrating. The full programme can be downloaded at the bottom of this post.

The video below is a visual summary of the event:

Spring School Promo from Gameli Tordzro on Vimeo.


In recent years, there has been a renewed focus on the place of the arts and arts based methods, or languages and multilingual methods, in the work towards intercultural integration with refugees. This has opened up new forms of academic and artistic endeavour, as well as new methods.  At this first Spring School we present to you arts-based interventions and workshops as well as academic papers, that blend, in experimental form, both artistic and academic forms of presentation.

The UNESCO team are interested in multiscalar understandings of integration as a practice rooted in hospitality, at all levels of society, from the individual and home, to local communities, institutions, cities and towns, to the national and international. The concept of integration has attracted critique in academic and public discourse when used as unidirectional, suggesting a one way process and burden of effort resting solely with the refugee.

The Spring School will showcase the ways in which individuals, communities, societies and institutions have accommodated and hosted each other and reflect on the ways in which the arts and academic research offer insights into the processes of welcome and integration. Interpreted in the broadest sense, these themes range from how we engage with our neighbours to topics such as slavery and imperialism and their connection to the present. In particular, the Spring School will focus on artistic, multilingual and educational dimensions.

The main themes are:

1) Arts and the Integrating person

a. The affective dimensions of intercultural learning where refugee experiences are part of the context
b. Arts and Language in supporting resilience, mental health and wellbeing.

2) Integrating practices in Community, Educational and Cultural Institutions

a. Museums / migratory collections
b. Choirs / theatre groups – grassroots groups 
c. Festivals 
d. Visual arts

3) Technologies and Techniques of Integrating and Resisting Disintegration

a. Technology & remote learning (MOOC / e.g. in context of siege in Gaza / Technology for inclusion – utilising arts and creative practice and/or multilingualism)
b. The aesthetic dimensions of integration work in institutions of learning and cultural heritage

These themes have emerged from the research findings of two AHRC funded grants:

- Researching Multilingually at the Borders of Language, the Body, Law and the State
- Idioms of Distress, Resilience and Well-Being: Enhancing understanding about mental health in multilingual contexts
PI on both projects: Prof Alison Phipps, University of Glasgow

More information about these projects can be found here:




Alison Phipps
Jane Bentley
Charles Forsdick
Zandra Yeaman
Nazmi Al-Masri
Rasoul Nejadmehr


Najma Abukar
Online Arabic from Palestine language course
Glasgow Museums
Ken Gordon and Chris Purnell
Share My Table
acta Bristol - REACT
Mona Al Najjar
Helen Grøn
Multaka - Berlin
Project Pensive
Sarah Stewart, Lucy Cathcart Frodén and Helen Kingstone
Mulvey, Karyotis and Skleparis
The Syrian Network in Glasgow
Interfaith Glasgow The Weekend Club
Amadu Khan
Inverclyde Community Development Trust
Evelyn ArizpeJulie McAdamLavinia Hirsu and Susanne Abou Ghaida
Scottish Detainee Visitors' Life After Detention group and Ice and Fire's Actors for Human Rights
Nyasha Kanyimo and band

Spring School 2018 full programme