Topic 2 How to implement successful communication campaigns as local actors for a positive storytelling of migration: an example from the CLARINET project

A useful introduction to the CLARINET Project and its objectives

CLARINET – Communication of Local AuthoRities for INtegration in European Towns (Project number: 821562) is a project that was funded by the EU’s Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF). The purpose of CLARINET is to educate EU citizens on the value that immigrants bring to their societies. Furthermore, the project aimed at:

  • Empowerment of local authorities so that they will be able to implement evidence-based public communication campaigns on migration and integration whose success is reinforced via on-the-job training and support
  • Identification and promotion of local authorities’ good practices relating to public communication campaigns on migration and integration at EU level
  • The creation of an award titled “European Award for local authorities’ public communication campaigns on migration and  integration”
  • The delivery of a  Positive Storytelling Kit for Local Authorities on Migration and Integration
  • The implementation of 8 training programmes for Local Authorities considering how to talk about migration and integration in their communities
  • The establishment of 8 residences for artists from the participating territories
  • The design and the promotion of 8 communication campaigns on migration which were carried out by the engaged Local Authorities.

The CLARINET project was led by the Municipality of Lampedusa and Linosa (Italy), while a multi stakeholder partnership had been formatted to run this project, including:

  • 8 Local Authorities (in total) which are located in border regions
  • 9 Civil Society Organizations, based in 8 different EU countries
  • 2 International Networks

You can find more information about the partnership at:

  • Τhe European Award for Local Authorities’ Public Communication Campaigns on Migration and Integration was held by the CLARINET project in 2019.
  • The goal was the promotion and recognition of successful, impactful campaigns and communication activities carried out by or on behalf of local authorities that demonstrate how migration in Europe can benefit their societies.
  • When applying for the Award, candidates were required to choose only one category. Transversal campaigns that use multiple channels had to apply to only one category.
  • The CLARINET Award has been a beehive of ideas, bringing together 53 eligible communication campaigns led by or on behalf of public authorities that offer positive migration storytelling.

This award was divided in three categories:

  • Web and Social Media; communication campaigns and activities carried out primarily through online channels such as websites, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and Instagram, among others
  • Public Events; communication campaigns and initiatives that are primarily carried out through exhibitions, workshops, artistic or sporting manifestations.
  • Traditional Media; refers to communication campaigns and activities that are primarily carried out through television, radio, print media, and outdoor advertising.


The Positive Storytelling Kit on Migration for Local Authorities takes readers on a tour of local authorities’ communications campaigns, many of which are highly innovative and inspiring. Its goal is to collect best practices, practical tips, and concrete examples for public administrations to use when launching their own campaigns.

This toolkit focuses on public communication campaigns and is primarily aimed at local governments. However, many CLARINET Award campaigns were primarily run by private organizations in collaboration with or on behalf of municipalities or local governments.

Regarding migration, local governments carry more weight when speaking to citizens and are better placed to convey a message to the public than civil society associations.

However, many local governments lack the resources to undertake a difficult process such as a complex communication campaigns. Collaboration between local governments and civil society has been found to be a winning strategy in developing and implementing innovative public communication campaigns capable of reaching out to citizens in many cases.

The Kit’s heart is the section How to Run a Campaign, which is divided into four main sections that allow for a broad exploration of the most interesting features of successful migration communication campaigns.

Initially, a number of General Principles were examined, which are elements that are common to all campaigns and are relevant regardless of the media platform on which the campaign is developed.

Then, each CLARINET Award category was studied individually to determine some specifics that must be considered when developing campaigns for web and social media, traditional media platforms, and public events.

Each of these sections includes references to other projects and tools, practical tips, and links to campaigns submitted to the CLARINET Award that provide successful examples and can inspire you when creating your own campaign.

General Principles;

Aside from the primary channel chosen, there are several common elements that are required for a successful, high-impact communication campaign. Some are fundamental, while others are only suggestions that can be followed or ignored depending on the circumstances. Different elements can be combined, but not all of them must be included:

  • Humor: Humor should not be thought of as a joke, but as a storytelling technique. Using humor in a migration communication campaign is a difficult path to take because it may be perceived as inappropriate and insensitive by many. However, humor can be both a brave choice and a winning strategy for reaching out to a wider audience.
  • Migrants as Citizens: Communication campaigns must work to convey a direct message, emphasizing that migrants are new members of the host society, demonstrating to native citizens the importance of adopting a long-term perspective, with the aim of enhancing their inclusion and, thus, making a positive difference to society.
  • Storytelling: Storytelling entails creating alternative or counter-narratives to the dominant ones. A counter-narration typically has a short-term frame and is aimed at directly responding to a specific discourse, highlighting its inconsistencies and delegitimizing it; on the other hand, an alternative narration does not simply deconstruct a discourse, but it constructs a completely new representation of the world, providing alternative keys for interpreting a phenomenon with long-term results.
  • Migrants as Protagonists: Campaigns that fail to focus on “the auto representation [of migrants], but instead on the idea we have of them, end up repeating a stereotyped and detrimental image of cultural diversity“. For this reason, an effective campaign about migration must involve the main protagonists, migrants themselves. This process can be achieved through a variety of activities such as focus groups, workshops, calls for ideas, and online participation via social media.
  • Art: Art can serve two purposes; a) It is an excellent way to engage migrants in meaningful activities while also laying the groundwork for your campaign. b) It is one of the most effective means of arousing your audience’s emotions, which aids in the discovery of common ground between migrants and the host society.

Web and social media platforms are likely to play a larger role in communication campaigns. The publication of free content can be shared in and from a Facebook page, a Twitter account, or an Instagram profile, for example. However, it needs more effort to attract a wider audience and create a successful campaign.

Social media have managed to be on top of any other channel. However, developing a campaign on traditional media may offer advantages that should not be overlooked. Traditional Media, for example, may allow you to reach a larger, more diverse group of people, due to the already established audience of a TV or radio channel.

There is a wide range of campaigns developed through public events, as well as numerous opportunities for innovative and successful campaigns.

CLARINET’s Artistic Residencies

Local Communication Campaigns specific purposes

The main focus and message of the communication campaign was to show migrants as protagonists, as people who are more than just statistics. The communication campaign took the form of an event in Agios Athanasios Municipality, aiming at promoting artistic products through an art exhibition.

The opening of the video installation was the focus of the communication campaign in Traiskirchen. This traditional hut in a vineyard near the refugee camp was rebuilt entirely by Afghan masons in September 2018. Since then, it has served as an event space for global talents to showcase and improve their talents.

The main goal of the Different Together (Razlini skupaj) campaign was to showcase that the Municipality of Črnomelj and the region of Bela Krajina already house a large number of migrants in this region people. The campaign consisted of several individual events, as well as a final event at which the campaign’s activities were presented.

The campaign in Constanta, Romania, aimed to increase awareness, knowledge, and understanding between natives and immigrants, as well as to foster a renewed sense of trust and belonging. The campaign focused on the experiences, stories, and perceptions of migrants and locals, as well as the cohabitation of migrants and residents, with the goal of promoting the positive contribution of migrants to the host community, respectively in the Municipality of Constanta and the Dobrogea region.

The campaign emphasized on unity and diversity. People living on Hungary’s southern border have always had a special relationship with borders. As a tribute to the victims of migration, an interview film with locals about their experiences with immigration and refugee flows was also shot.

The main goal of the Clarinet communication campaign in Burgas was to establish a unified communication standard for public servants when discussing migration and integrating migrants into the Burgas community. Although it is referred as a campaign, the integrated communication activities served a different purpose: they helped to create a new narrative about migration and the positive impact that migrants have had on local culture.

The campaign aimed to raise awareness, knowledge, and understanding of all aspects of migration and the reasons for it. Acceptance and variety The long history of movement of people living near the Mediterranean Sea was highlighted. Simultaneously, the issue of insularity and the isolation it causes was discussed.

The goal of the CLARINET Communication Campaign “Isola di Pace” in Lampedusa has been to place the concept of Peace at the center of the Island’s life, starting with support to the Ukrainian people and all human beings suffering the consequences of closer and more distant wars, up to peaceful interactions within the local community regardless of the geographical, cultural, and religious origins of the people.