Artists as immigrants

This activity attempts to challenge some of the preconceptions that people often have about immigrants by looking at a group of artists that have emigrated and exploring some of the challenges they have faced. The activity is based on themes and images from the OPENCities project:

Download and make a copy of the images worksheet to hand out to each student. There is also a teacher’s copy with larger images if you feel you need this. Download a copy of the audio file and script if you feel your students need to see it.


  • Show the students the pictures of the different immigrants and ask them if they can guess their profession. You could give them a clue and tell them that they are all ‘artists’ of some kind (you’ll need to make sure that they know this includes performing arts like singers etc. not just visual arts).


    1. Singer
    2. Poet singer and artist
    3. Stage and costume designer
    4. Hip hop artists
    5. Media artist
    6. Painter
  • Once they have had some time to try to guess, tell the students that they are all immigrants living in Dusseldorf. 
  • Ask them if they can try to think of the kinds of problems artists might have when they emigrate to a new country and try to integrating into a new culture. Put the students in pairs to try to think of 4 - 5 problems they might have.
  • Ask the students to listen to the audio clips and find out how many of them mention problems and which are positive.
  • Ask the students to prepare a table with two columns and label them ‘Pros’ and ‘Cons’. They should then listen to the clips again and make note of the positive things in the ‘Pros’ column and the negative things in the ‘Cons’ column. When they have finished give them time to compare and if they need to they can listen again.
  • Ask the students which of the artists they think said each of the statements (You can hand out the script to make this a short reading activity).
  • Put your students in pairs and ask one student to imagine they are one of the people from the images, the other student should imagine they are a journalist from an arts magazine. Ask the journalist to interview the artist and try to guess which of the people from the images they are pretending to be.
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