Europe has been facing the refugee issue since 2015. According to Eurostat, 612 700 first-time asylum seekers applied for protection in the Member States of the EU-27 in 2019, 142,500 of them in Germany. A total of 238,300 people with refugee backgrounds were living in Norway at the beginning of the 2020, according to Statistics Norway.
More than three quarters of refugees surveyed by the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) have lost income since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. This devastating economic impact is tipping many adult refugees into the unemployment and education crisis.
The economic impact of public health measures to prevent the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic is having a devastating effect on refugees. Compounding numerous existing crises and challenges, Covid-19 related travel restrictions, the closure of markets and businesses, and the general economic downturn are causing the refugees to lose work and income as well as inability to access education opportunities.
Refugees are among the most vulnerable people in the world and were already facing multiple crises before Covid-19. They have been forced to flee their homes, have limited access to work and education opportunities, often the result of insecure legal status, and in some cases they are faced with continuing violence, or hazards such as locusts threatening their crops. The pandemic and governments’ responses to it tipps adult refugees into a downward spiral that will be difficult to reverse.
Creative thinking is an important 21st century skill required both in daily life and business life.The CreAdult project focuses on improving the creativity, design and art skills of refugee adults. This focus will increase their skills development and inclusion, as it will contribute to making them more resilient even in crisis situations such as COVID-19. The first target group of the CreAdult project is adult refugees who are interested in creativity, arts and design and / or have a career goal towards these sectors. Lack of such skills of adult refugees may cause them to experience problems in daily life and business life and face social exclusion. Adult refugees who consume different types of content in order to be creative, follow trends, try to create something every day and create a network for creativity will be able to continue their skill development in this way. The second target group of the CreAdult project is the adult education professionals, trainers, facilitators and mentors who are interested in creativity, arts and design as well as working in the fields of adult education.
Think about ”When was the last time you found or did something really new and original?”
Creative thinking skills are a critical part of life, and it is very important to practice on it. For those that consider creativity and innovation to be gifts of nature, it is important to understand it is a skill that can be improved with the right training.
In light of all these problems and needs, as the Project Consortium, we believe that creativity, art and design skills can help refugees to meet, communicate and become part of existing communities.
The overall goal of the project is to improve the creativity, arts and design skills of adult refugees and to make them more resilient even in crisis situations like COVID-19 by developing an innovative platform that will bring together the creative hub and the academy. Due to the creativity is a multidimensional phenomenon that manifests itself in many fields and contexts, from arts and crafts to design, science, research and entrepreneurship; the CreAdult project targets to create a community of adult refugees interested in design, creative industries, arts, business development and social sector.
The specific aim of the project is to develop and implement educational and mentorship resources that will enable adult refugees to improve their skills and competencies on creative thinking, arts and design thinking. The project also aims to bring together adult refugees and creative experts, innovation leaders, facilitators and mentors via digital creative hub.
Refugee education is a common issue in Europe, and the education on creativity, arts and design requires a multi-cultural approach. The project consortium was formed by the gathering of 4 organisations from 3 different countries that operate in the areas of expertise directly related to the project focus. These organisations and their areas of expertise are as follows:
– Furim Institute, Norway: Social inclusion of refugees; social innovation education.
– Fundação Bracara Augusta (Human Power Hub), Portugal: Skill development on soft skills such as creative thinking and design thinking.
– Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, Germany: Research on adult education pedagogy.
– Vision Lernpunkte e.V., Germany: Integration and education of refugees.