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Cultural Activities for Refugees: Training the “Social Muscles”

Title: Cultural Activities for Refugees: Training the “Social Muscles”

Type: Article

Location: Germany (Berlin)

Name of Responsible Persons: Nicole Sagener (freelance journalist living in Berlin), translation by Chris Cave

Source: Goethe Institut

Date: June 2016

Cultural Activities for Refugees: Training the “Social Muscles” discusses how people can develop the social skills necessary to interact with strangers. This is emphasized as an important part of the integration process of refugees with the local population, in a Europe that is continuously becoming more diverse with time. In the attempt to encourage such inter-cultural mingling, the “Social Muscle Club” (SMC) was born in Berlin in 2012 whereby people can meet others from different as well as similar backgrounds in an inclusive and informal setting.

The Social Muscle Club is one where performers, dancers, musicians and others come together and get to know other people in a multilingual setting. The premise of the SMC is that every single guest is seated beside someone they have not met before, and he or she writes down something they would be willing to give and something they want from another person. Thus, if someone at the table would either like to accept what is being offered or fulfill another person’s wants, they have a “match” and they end up swapping phone numbers.

There are a number of other projects similar in aim to the SMC, including the Berlin Mondiale project, the Haus der Kulturen der Welt (HKW), etc. It is small projects and clubs like these that form the backbone of the socio-cultural integration movement in Germany, and thus are crucial in bringing together refugees and members of the local population to create harmonious and integrated societies within Europe.

This summary was created from an article found on the following link.

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