A CULTURE OF ENCOUNTER
1 - Creating moments of convergence for Muslims and non-Muslims to encounter each other through the medium of arts and culture helps to open minds and forge common ground. The more participative and sustained the “encounter” with the arts and between communities, the deeper the impact.
2 - Providing young Muslims with the opportunity to express themselves through the arts, particularly through drama/storytelling/poetry, helps raise their aspirations and build their confidence and sense of belonging. Using contemporary art idioms and platforms (as opposed to traditional ones) is particularly effective as a tool for engaging both audiences and participants.
3- There is value in engaging with audiences who do not regard Muslims particularly negatively and/or in a monolithic way because many of them nevertheless have few opportunities for genuine engagement with Muslims; they go away from such “encounters” with a deeper understanding which they pass on to others.
4- Representation of Muslims on stages and screens challenges negative perceptions on the one hand and provides role models for young Muslims to aspire to on the other.
5- The networks and incentives needed for Muslims to progress in the creative sectors are currently barely being supported by either British Muslim communities or public funders and new content featuring Muslims often reinforces prejudice by portraying stereotypes.
6 - Targeted funding can influence the thinking and approach of arts organisations and other funders. Mainstreaming Muslim cultural production provides opportunities to showcase artists, performers and participants that, without the funding, would simply not be possible for them.