Useful Art for Communities

Artivism Workshop by luzie ahrens


The artivism workshop was held in Aarhus, Denmark for participants of the Erasmus
youth exchange program in cooperation with “Passion Udflug” (NRO), “Ungdomskulturhuset Aarhus” (cultural center) and “Useful Arts for Communities” (art platform).

The workshop motivated the participants to actively think about the feelings and thoughts refugees might have when being forced to leave home and live in
a different country. They stepped into the imaginary shoes of a refugee and discussed as a group the challenges one might face in different stages of the journey. It was discussed which elements are needed to feel comfortable and supported in an unknown environment.

What is one thing that would make
you feel welcome and at home in an
unknown environment?

The feeling of acceptance.
To find someone who is in the same
situation as me.
People with a good attitude.
Friendly people.
My mom preparing my favourite food.
Patience. Helpful people. Getting to know
the city and language.
A photo with my loved ones.

What would be your first steps to build up
your life in a new country?

Learn the language. Find a community.
Explore the country.
Learn the language. Find a job. Meet people.
Language courses. Learn about the culture.
Talk with someone who was in the same
Go for long walks. Find someone to help you
with the language. Connect with people.

As shown above, learning the language was thought to be one of the first challenges to take on when being in a new country. In general, overcoming the language barrier and connecting with like minded people was believed to be helpful in most unknown environments.

In the following activity, the students were introducted to the idea of soundscapes and instructed to create an art piece in the form of a sound installation. It offers an approach to overcome language barriers and create a feeling of an inclusive community. The atmosphere established by the installations was anticipated to be welcoming and peaceful, with sounds that remind you of home and make you feel at ease. The participants had all kinds of objects (i.e. bottles, rocks, leaves, paper, …) at hand to use and prepare a small concert.


The participants gained a better understanding of the challenges migrants might face in a new country and which steps they could take to give a hand and make them feel welcome.

They were also introduced to the concept of soundscapes and started to think about sounds as a mean to change the atmosphere and connect with other people.


What was the highlight of the workshop for you?
  • The process of organising.
  • Discussing important topics.
  • Creating sounds that make noise.
  • Putting myself in a different role.
  • Listening to the concert.
  • The preparation for the concert.
  • Seeing all the different results.
  • Making sounds with my team.
  • The concert.
  • Searching for objects to create sounds.
  • Our performance.
  • The group-exercise.
  • The process of combining the parts and finding
  • the best way to create our instruments.
  • Working in a team and having fun.
  • The process of the workshop.
What do you think could be improved?
  • Also talking about solutions for the issues.
  • The meaning behind the practical activity.
  • Explain more the point of the activity.
  • I don’t like art.
  • The last activity was too abstract.
  • Longer conversation about the topic
  • (migration).
  • More objects to make sounds.
  • I didn’t feel a purpose or connection with
  • what we wanted.
  • More interactive tasks.
  • The location of the concert.
  • More tools.
  • The place were we performed.
  • More practical activities.
  • To have parts of instruments available: a
  • flute, a couple of strings, a mini keyboard.