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New grant to support research into the impact of the arts on newcomer integration

September 01, 2023
Two women writing in a Farsi calligraphy workshop

The Canada Excellence Research Chair in Migration and Integration program's Jérémie Molho, Senior Research Associate, Alice Massari, Marie Curie Global Fellow, and Anna Triandafyllidou, Chair received funding through the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council’s Partnership Engage Grant to support an innovative collaboration with the Toronto Arts Council (TAC).

Fostering Integration through the Arts (FIT-ART) aims to conduct a comprehensive scholarly investigation into TAC's grant programs for newcomers and refugees (PNR). “The project will not only deepen our understanding of newcomer and refugee artists and communities,” explained Jérémie, “but it will also help us provide valuable information to TAC on how well their art initiatives are meeting the needs of their communities.”

The PNR program has given rise to numerous artistic initiatives and mentoring relationships that address the various challenges faced by newcomers: from art education programs enhancing immigrant integration to the creation of platforms enriching the Toronto art scene by showcasing the work of newcomer and refugee artists. Through rigorous analysis of the PNR’s data and engagement with its beneficiaries, FIT-ART will delve into the art's role in migration and integration.

The project's fivefold research objectives include documenting PNR initiatives for integration, exploring challenges faced by newcomer and refugee artists in Toronto's creative landscape, identifying effective strategies for overcoming these challenges, influencing TAC's future priorities, as well as advancing scholarly and community knowledge about the intersection of arts and immigrant integration.

A truly collaborative project, this partnership aligns CERC Migration’s art-based research expertise with TAC's commitment to fostering community art and immigrant integration. The research findings will culminate in a report and policy brief, offering valuable insights and tools for leveraging the arts in immigrant integration. The outcomes will be shared in workshops and disseminated to policymakers, relevant stakeholders and the academic community. Additionally, the project will spotlight newcomer and refugee artists through video portraits and academic articles, amplifying their experiences and challenges.

“The project marks a significant step toward enriching our understanding of how the arts can facilitate immigrant integration,” shared Jérémie, “and we hope it will inspire cities globally to embrace the transformative power of creativity and culture to enhance social cohesion.”