Theater as a Collective Language // Working Group in Bielefeld

This project is an attempt to connect our experiences in working with diverse groups of migrants, with the methodologies of non-verbal theater. After a week in Bielefeld with Theater Impulse e.V. we have dipped our toes in the realities of working with new migrants using these methods. We still have a lot of research and reflection to go, as this is a complex working area, but the potential of cross-pollinating our work methods and focuses is already clear!

During the week we:

  • gathered case studies of innovative projects,
  • facilitated participants to lead sessions
  • collected the experiences of young migrants, theater professionals and educators
  • collected sessions that could be used at our training course.

About the broader project:

This small scale partnership is looking to research, develop and disseminate a methodology of engaging and integrating migrants through non-verbal theater methods. Understanding that non-verbal approaches in pedagogy have an advantage over some (verbal) group discussions formats, especially for some immigrant and refugee groups, there is a need for innovative methodologies usable by adult educators who wish to engage migrants in the social, civic and cultural spaces of theater. The basic idea is to develop a methodology that enables migrants to express themselves creatively and to have meaningful encounters with others within a social context.

Social interactions are often denied to migrants because they are (not yet) able to express themselves verbally. However, social contact with the local community and individual expression are crucial ingredients so that a person can feel at home in a place, which will enhance their integration. Although the European Commission supports new-migrant-specific adult education, such as through the EU Action Plan on the integration of TCNs, further action is needed, meaningful communication through arts can enhance the development of mutual respect and understanding what can overcome cultural differences. By enabling young migrants to experience meaningful (non-verbal) communication and to develop skills of creative self-expression we foster the pathway for more sustainable and effective integration.

This project strives to build on our consortium’s previous cooperation on local-level actions, to research and produce a widely transferable, migrant-developed online support toolkit for educators to equip them with methods to support migrants within their inclusion process – ultimately empowering migrants and their communities to become more engaged within the social, political, cultural parts of the society because they feel at home and accepted.

Through connecting research and diverse communities in an 18-month process, we hope to improve the quality of adult education available to young migrants, with a broad range of tools available to adult educators on our online support platform, with the flagship tools focusing on integrating non-verbal tools into education and integration work with new migrant communities. This consortium is driven by migrant-led organisations, which will give migrants the possibility to share their experiences and expertise and create together with the experts from the Theater Impulse e.V. and CGE Erfurt e.V. a program that tackles the existing challenges of the reality the target group faces every day by providing solutions that support the individuals wellbeing and integration. The outcomes of the project will enable educators to hold more capacity with regard to the inclusion of migrants and can be the first step to expanding accessibility on an intersectional level beyond migrant communities.

Right now, we are developing a training course for ‘educators on theatre methods as a tool for youth work with new migrants’ . This is an opportunity to develop and deliver sessions with peer educators from five countries, guided by four expert trainers with experience in the topics of migration, integrations, race, ethnicity and theater.

The training course will be held from the 31.10-06.11, in EJBW, Weimar, Germany.

This project is free of charge to participants, travel, accommodation and food is covered by the project, which is cofunded by the European Union and the Kinder- und Jugendplans des Bundes.

Age: 18+ & Profile: Educators who can implement their learning in practice and report back to the organisers on this. Please register your interest here, and any question can be answered by email at,

This project is funded by the Kinder und Jungendplan des Bundes (KJP) 2022 and the Erasmus+ program of the European Union as a small scale partnership in the field of adult education.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *