D6: How to Work with Art in Refugee Centres


Original description: How do you work with art in a refugee centre? Stichting De Vrolijkheid (Happiness Foundation) successfully manages this by working according to 5 core principles: the 5 V's. In this workshop you will experience how these 5 V's can be put to good use, in particular the V of Story (DU: Verhaal). The idea is that everyone has a story to tell and that every story matters. Listen with an open mind to each other's stories and discover creative ways of telling your own. 

This training normally lasts a full day and is aimed at volunteers, workshop leaders and people involved in De Vrolijkheid. Sergej Kreso and Julien Oomen, both experienced trainers at the Happiness Academy (Vrolijke Academie), will show you the 'best of' of the training. A unique opportunity to see what we can bring about in refugee centres!

Results / lessons learned


The insights participants had were: the approachable introduction of oneself using 5 fingers (thumb = I am good at… pointing finger = my goal is… middelfinger = I hate… ringfinger = I am loyal to… pink = my weakness is), which connected to the 5 V’s as the foundations principles. Happiness (Vrolijkheid), safety (Veiligheid), trust (Vertrouwen), resilience (Veerkracht) and stories (Verhalen). These five ingredients are the foundations backbone in organising and performing arts activities for refugees.

The other insight was that the used teaching/ learning formats made it more easy to talk about the added value of art (as a means to an end) in general and let go of stigmas about refugees (or even the name refugee itself) and see them as individuals rather than a targetgroup.