Thu 17 Jan | De Oosterpoort, Back 12 (up) | 13:30 - 14:30
Presented by: Innofest

Festivals as a Catalyst for Integration - how to empower newcomers

Matthea de Jong Leeuwarden Friesland European Capitol of Culture 2018 (NL)

Festival | Event production

English spoken

In times of widespread humanitarian crisis, how can festivals offer solutions without completely changing their DNA or investing large sums?
Through the project New Faces, the goal was to tackle pervasive challenges for newcomers in the Netherlands. These include the lack of any social network, unfamiliarity with Dutch (working) culture, access to the labour market plus isolation, and despondency. Festivals at the same time struggled with increasing diversity among their predominantly homogeneous volunteer-pools and teams. By facilitating the process of introducing up to 10% newcomers to three major music and theatre festivals in 2018, New Faces was able to address the aforementioned issues.
As an ESNS special, this will be first time the social impact study will be revealed to the public and will be open for discussion.
New Faces has been made possible through co-operation between Leeuwarden-Fryslan Cultural Capital of Europe 2018, iepenUP, Society in Motion, Innofest, VSBFonds, Welcome to the Village, Into the Great Wide Open, Oerol & Rijksuniversiteit Groningen.


  • Matthea de Jong Leeuwarden Friesland European Capitol of Culture 2018 (NL)


  • Hooman Nassimi

    Hooman Nassimi Society in Motion (IR)

    Hooman Nassimi (born in Iran, raised in Germany, working in NL) commits to creating an inclusive society through & with newcomers, both locally and globally. For this purpose, he started the social enterprise Society in Motion in 2017. Here, a multidisciplinary team is working towards this vision to empower newcomers around the world through events and festivals, but also by promoting social cohesion and consulting on policy & participation for government.

    Feel free to check out for more information about the projects.