Fostering Social Integration of Displaced Populations through the Performing Arts (2021-2022)


Within the context of rising political populism and refugee crises in Europe at large and France in particular, how can the arts serve to facilitate community outreach and social integration, as well as foster conditions of cultural citizenship?

The concept of cultural citizenship highlights the role of the public sphere in fostering democratic citizenship and equality by redefining citizenship as a status, a process and a product of a material and symbolic struggles. One of the ways to produce forms of cultural citizenship, promote social integration and create ties with displaced populations is through the performing arts. Notably, the performing arts can supply the conditions for contact and shared experience.

Project Description

This project has grown out of the Arts and Cultural Citizenship Initiative. Over the past three years, the initiative has been test-run with tailored internships for undergraduate students enrolled in Duke Global Education programs in France, particularly Duke in France (EDUCO) and Duke in Paris, as well as graduate students whose research engages with the arts in France.

In 2020-2021, this project team will assess programs carried out in global institutions, namely DEMOS at the Philharmonie de Paris and the Academy at the Opéra de Paris. DEMOS is an initiative that provides access to music education to children from rural and low-income communities. Through assessment of these programs and their impact, team members will test the hypothesis that the arts can play a key role in the articulation of cultural citizenship.

Through the various “Duke-In” programs in France, team members will assess the efficacy of a few community outreach projects at the Philharmonie and the Opéra, targeting both populations from peripheries and displaced populations. The team will study these two institutional frameworks using multiple methodological models, drawing from public policy and sociology, using narrative analysis, statistics, questionnaires and testimonies. The team will also develop open-access tools to facilitate free exploration of community outreach programs, and the assessment of their extent and impact.

In parallel, team members will organize two performances/lectures on Duke campus and articulated with Duke classes: one by Jordi Savall’s ensemble Orpheus XXI and one by the dancer and choreographer Sidi-Larbi Cherkaoui. Both performances will include the participation of students, local communities and refugees.

Finally, team members will also create a digital platform that will form a dynamic network between entities at Duke and art organizations.

Anticipated Outputs

Case studies; public events; presentations; workshops; art performances; new courses at both undergraduate and graduate levels


Spring 2021 – Fall 2021

  • Spring 2021: Implement undergraduate internships; collaborate with Global Voices course; collect internship reports and evaluation of first round of studies
  • Summer 2021 (optional): Conversations with Durham and Paris stakeholders; assess activities, performances and workshops
  • Fall 2021: Implement undergraduate internships; facilitate performance of Sidi-Larbi Cherkaoui, in collaboration with MFA in Dance and Dance in French Culture course


Image from DÉMOS Philharmonie de Paris website

Violin players.

Team Leaders

  • Michael Klien, Arts & Sciences-Dance
  • Anne-Gaelle Saliot, Arts & Sciences-Romance Studies

/yfaculty/staff Team Members

  • Christelle Gonthier, Arts & Sciences-Romance Studies
  • Alexander Kirshner, Arts & Sciences-Political Science
  • Deborah Reisinger, Arts & Sciences-Romance Studies

/zcommunity Team Members

  • Laurent Bayle, Philharmonie de Paris
  • Murielle Elizeon, Culture Mill
  • Emmanuel Hondré, Philharmonie de Paris
  • Myriam Mazouzi, Paris Opera Academy
  • Tommy Noonan, Culture Mill