Solidarity, Inclusion, Imagery and Human Rights

Throughout the last years, migration returned increasingly into our daily discourse. Once descriptive for people moving from one area or country to another, it seems to become more and more many things – in short a catalyser for all kinds of social, political, economic and humanitarian challenges. The tension and anxiety on the ‘receiving’ end seems to clash with the risks and horrors of the act of migrating itself. ECF is committed to strengthening social inclusion, solidarity and equity in Europe through culture. In that we are deeply concerned with adjusting the binary view on migration, and do what we can to stimulate a nuanced view on the often all-too simplified challenges of these times. Read more about the initiatives we take to highlight issues around migration as well as the work of our partners, the organisations and people we support.

Eurozine Focal Point: Fragmentation and solidarity in Europe

Could alternative interlocal forms of mobilisation around the commons revive solidarities and keep the prospect of a common Europe alive in an age of austerity? Read more about the new focal point, created in partnership with the ECF and Eurozine.

One of the articles in the Eurozine focal point, European Others by Fatima El-Tayeb, also appears in our Remixing Europe book, unveiling the imagery of migrants in European media, which you can download from our Library.

Join the conversation on ECF Labs

ECF Labs is an online interactive space where you can connect with fellow Europeans to share and discuss your thoughts, projects and experiences. Learn from what other members in the community are sharing, or add your own unique viewpoint on what is going on in Europe. Each lab is an open conversation around a specific theme. These three labs focus on migration:

Culture & Refuge in Europe

We invite you to collect, connect and discuss in this Lab inspiring cultural initiatives and voices from across Europe that explore ways how to live together. We hope that this Lab will become, over time, a 'refuge' for anyone willing to involve in discussion about the future of Europe. 


This is an open forum that deals with the plight of the immigrant. This lab's main concern is immigration in the EU and Europe, but also welcomes stories and articles from around the world. The B/ORDERS Lab is looking to create a fruitful conversation regarding one of the most delicate issues affecting the modern world.


How are migrants portrayed in mainstream media in Europe? The imageries daily produced in media are naturalised through recurrent representations. The veil is the construction of these images of fear, conflict, hostility, and otherness.

In the Hacking the Veil Lab, you can share contents related to migration and its prevailing imageries, as well as any communication strategy (such as remix and juxtapositions, animated gifs, video games, artistic projects, ads, or critical articles) that might be used to hack the veil and highlight inclusive perspectives on migration in Europe.

Initiatives we support

  • On the occasion of World Refugee Day, ECF, Goethe Institute, Italian Cultural Institute and BOZAR joined forces for a series of events that focus on the situation of refugees in Europe and the world. Including the exhibition A Lighthouse for Lampedusa by Thomas Kilpper, a debate with Lampedusa Mayor Giusy Nicolini, a concert by Brussels Jazz Orchestra and Syrian Refugee Big Band, and the screening of the Berlinale winner Fire at Sea (Fuocoammare) by Gianfranco Rosi capturing life on the Italian island of Lampedusa, a frontline in the European migrant crisis. Watch this video interview with Thomas Klipper
  • We also support Stichting Ondertussen, a network of artists and creative entrepreneurs, who have or never had to escape, which builds links between the residents of refugee centres and their local environment.  
  • €urovisions, a live cinema performance by European Souvenirs about the way the people who come to Europe chasing the European dream, are portrayed in our media. We see their pictures on the news, illustrating rhetorics about the political and economical causes and pre-assumed effects of migration – but what are their names? Why are they here? What are their own personal stories? And why don’t the media bother to report on people’s dreams? Once, we were all migrants. €urovisions takes you on a trip in Europe and the homelands of newcomers: Travelling, migrants, nomads, tourists and souvenirs are guiding you through time and history. €urovisions remixes live cinema and documentary techniques (multiscreen, live music, audiovisual actionism, sampling and cut-ups) into an audiovisual performance. €urovisions is the second live cinema performance by an international collective of young artists from different European countries: Farah Rahman (the Netherlands), Karol Rakowski (Poland), Noriko Okaku (UK) and Malaventura (Spain). €urovisions is produced in collaboration with Chris Allen and Tim Cowie of the Light Surgeons, and coordinated by ZEMOS98 collective.

  • €urovisions is part of Remapping Europe – a Remix Project, an investigative artistic project by ECF's Doc Next Network with activities that stem from one underlying principle: re-mixing of media as a method to re-view, re-investigate and re-consider prevailing imagery of migrants in European societies. €urovisions is partly drawing on the material generated in the Remapping Europe workshops. 

New project: Displaced in Media

Displaced Media.jpg

We recently launched Displaced in Media, a project to support the participation of young refugees in the public sphere through the media.

Together with our hubs (pictured above) – Fanzingo, Kurziv, Les Têtes de l’Art, MODE Istanbul, BFI Future Film, ZEMOS98, Creative Initiatives “ę” and We Are Here – we met in Warsaw in early November to start building a community of practice in Europe.


A group of 27 participants took part in a course focusing on how to build an infrastructure that supports increased refugee perspectives in public discourse from 27 March to 2 April 2017 at Ondertussen in Amsterdam. Chosen by our Displaced in Media partners, the participants, including refugees, came from a wide variety of backgrounds, from journalism, filmmaking, media education, social work and refugee inclusion.
Throughout the five-day training workshop, participants worked with different methodologies, such as simulations, good practice presentations, site visits, case clinics and a world cafe. We will continue to share updates and outcomes from Displaced in Media on our website, social media and eZine.

This initiative is supported by the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Commission.

Idea Camp: stimulating development of bottom-up initiatives

Participants at the Idea Camp 2017. Photo by César Lucas Abreu

Participants at the Idea Camp 2017. Photo by César Lucas Abreu

Entitled ‘Moving Communities,’ the Idea Camp 2017 brought together individuals from across Europe and its neighbouring countries, who are willing to “move” their communities through their creative and progressive ideas. During three days, 50 selected Idea Makers, guest experts, the hubs in the Connected Action for the Commons network and a group of representatives from European municipalities have exchanged thoughts and challenges, learned from one another, and further developed ideas. Their ambition: to contribute to building societies with greater equality; to translate common sense into sustainable inclusive policies. Read our short report.

Addressing and discussing responsibility of the philanthropic sector

From 26 to 28 May 2016, ECF has participated to the European Foundation Centre (EFC)'s 27th Annual General Assembly and Conference, which convened more than 750 philanthropic leaders and representatives from INGOs, academia and policymakers in Amsterdam, during the Netherlands’ Presidency of the EU Council. The conference engaged a diverse array of philanthropic actors to find solutions to the most urgent issues within Europe and around the world. 

ECF Director Katherine Watson issued a call to action, during the closing plenary, for European philanthropy to provide more strategic support for refugees and migrants. Watch the video below: