Maximizing empowerment in applied theatre with refugees and migrants in the United Kingdom: Facilitation shaped by an ethic of care | Intellect Skip to content
Volume 6, Issue 2-3
  • ISSN: 1757-1936
  • E-ISSN: 1757-1944



This article argues for the value of fostering an ethic of care within an arts project, which emphasizes the importance of facilitating a culture of agency rather than dependency for participants. Drawing on the work of Virginia Held and Tove Pettersen, it highlights the necessity for all participants to be able to give as well as receive care and the impact of this upon achieving a sense of belonging. The professional skill of the artist is fundamental to the success of community arts practice. However, if a sense of dependency on professional skill remains, the longterm impact of the project is limited. In applied theatre practice with refugees and migrants who may already be disempowered by language, immigration status and poverty, a sense of agency is crucial. Using evidence from practice-based research in Creative English, a drama-based English language programme for adult refugees, asylum seekers and migrants and a family learning project for parents and toddlers, this article shows how the ethic of care disrupts the uneven balance of power between the artist and participant/altruist and recipient and thus impacts more widely on individuals’ actions beyond the workshop sessions, increasing the long-term impact of a time-bound arts project on individuals and their community.


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  • Article Type: Article
Keyword(s): applied theatre; care; empowerment; facilitation; migrants; refugees
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