Participatory architecture workshops with asylum seekers and locals: experiences from the Crossing Cultures project in Southern Italy

Calissano, Federica, Denicke-Polcher, Sandra, Giacco, Domenico and Haenschel, Corinna (2022) Participatory architecture workshops with asylum seekers and locals: experiences from the Crossing Cultures project in Southern Italy. Health Education Journal. ISSN 0017-8969 (Submitted)

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Abstract / Description

Participatory architecture can promote dialogue across cultures, whilst working together on creating physical outputs. A team of academics with a background in architecture, psychology and health sciences evaluated a specific participatory architecture workshop in Southern Italy, part of the Crossing Cultures project, to explore participants’ experiences and perceived benefits. In the context of situated learning, the workshop brought together architecture students, Italians and asylum seekers, who by working together and learning from each other have formed a community of practice (CoP). the aim of this study was to explore experiences of members of this CoP and their beliefs on the benefits of this project and ways to improve it. Twenty-five asylum seekers, locals and students took part in in-depth interviews, which were later subjected to thematic analysis. Participants reported experiences relating to “living together”, “working together”, “making home”, “making locals comfortable to be involved” and of “understanding and respecting differences”. Perceived benefits were “creating a space for connection”, “revitalising local communities”, “promoting development of towns”, “broadening horizons”, “gaining or practising skills”, “having your ideas heard” and “creating lasting things”. These data suggest that creating a CoP, as per Lave and Wenger’s theoretical framework, not only fulfils individual goals but also, importantly, common concerns. In conclusion, participatory architecture workshops in an area with high immigration can create connections between asylum seekers and locals, and promote intercultural dialogue, whilst helping to reactivate deprived areas.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: migration; mental health; integration; architecture; Crossing Cultures
Subjects: 300 Social sciences > 360 Social problems & services; associations
700 The arts; fine & decorative arts > 720 Architecture
Department: The School of Art, Architecture and Design
Depositing User: Sandra Denicke
Date Deposited: 11 Jul 2022 08:26
Last Modified: 11 Jul 2022 08:26
URI: http://repository.londonmet.ac.uk/id/eprint/7801

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