The Art of Belonging

The Art of Belonging: Social integration of young migrants in urban contexts through cultural place-making

Cities across Europe have increasingly become destinations for young forced migrants. This project brings together city leaders, artists, and researchers to promote integration and increase social participation in communities affected by migration. Participation in the arts can enhance place-making and encourages social belonging, and this project will develop, implement, and evaluate arts-programmes for migrants in case-study cities in England, Germany, and Sweden. It will understand barriers to social integration amongst refugees and host communities. This will lead to knowledge translation from the study to develop sustainable solutions to social integration and citizenship.

Results and outcomes

The ‘Art of Belonging’ project studied the development and implementation of arts and cultural programs for young new arrivals in Nottingham and Lund. The project highlights the beneficial effects of arts and cultural place-making on these individuals in their respective cities. The research demonstrates a reduction in social isolation, improved mental well-being, and enhanced integration between newcomers and the host communities.

The research also identified a signature teaching approach that enables artists to effectively work with new arrivals as they navigate challenges in adapting to their new environment. The signature pedagogies can be accessed on the Art of Belonging website.

Read more about the research in the final report: The Art of Belonging: Social integration of young migrants in urban contexts through cultural placemaking.

As part of the project, a policy brief was developed, advocating for government support to regional and local authorities. The brief recommends establishing a well-structured program of social inclusion activities specifically designed for young, forced migrants, and new arrivals.

Policy Brief: The Art of Belonging

Interested in more results from the Art of Belonging project? Visit the project website to find case studies from the participating cities, practical recommendations and guidance for municipalities, and a workshop bank for artists wanting to recreate similar projects.

Find out about the continuation project in Lund – ‘Art Inclusive’ at their Facebook page.


Duration: March 2021 – September 2022
Contact: Dr Joanna McIntyre, University of Nottingham
Budget: 256,687 Euros
Partners: University of Nottingham – University of Nottingham, Leibniz Universität Hannover – Institut für Berufspädagogik und Erwachsenenbildung, Lund university – Department of Educational Sciences, Nottingham City Council




Please click here for the frequently asked questions we collected.
If you have an additional questions you are welcome to mail us at