Citizenship Workshops

Chiara Caruso, puppeteer Free puppets

This video follows a group of primary children using recycled materials to create puppets and using these to represent themselves in simple interactions. This workshop is an invitation, for the youngest, to develop self-identity and self-confidence to affirm themselves as member of the society. Artistic activities can be a way to develop skills and this can also be an exercise of self-representation. Self-representation is an important issue, especially in our society based on the image and an increasingly central role of social media in the construction of individuals’ self and public images.

Self-acceptance is the starting point of healthy relationships with others and it is essential that children learn to accept who they are and share it, affirm it within a group.

Yann Cleary, musician, singer and songwriter, Clip your song

This video follows some young people working with a musician to explore issues important to them through songwriting. Rap and contempory songs have huge cultural significance for many young people. As creative acts they offer freedom of expression and can open new understanding of life experiences.

Writing a song is a way of exploring feelings and ideas about a subject through a creative activity which can transcend the norms of argument, descripton, logic and grammar. It allows the creator to find vocabulary, to play with words, using imagination, humour and images. When song writing is a group activity , there can be an inspiring process of collective discussion and exploration before the writing, to find a collective synergy and creative direction.

Sophie Laffont, comedian, Play 4 act

This video demostrates the use of experiential drama games and activities to explore the lived experiences of discrimination, oppression, membership and identity. With this workshop, Sophie Lafont invites you to see citizenship as an interactive process of living in community/society and finds a deeper understanding of the violence of alienation and, more precisely, discrimination. Through different activities inherited from popular and informal education and Forum Theatre, we can analyse behaviours and our relationship to the other, raise awareness and transform our understanding of others.

The Forum Theatre is a method developed by Augusto Boal based on two main ideas: the theatre has to be a tool to change the world, and the conviction that human beings possess an instinctive language of theatre. This theatrical technique is intrinsically linked to social issues and political awareness.

Luc Sarlin, audiovisual artist, Video journalism

This video shows how young people can learn the techniques of constructing a short video report and thus understand the how the decisions taken throughout the process will shape the final impression created for viewers. Constructing a report about an issue which is relevant to young lives requires research to deepen one’s understanding, collecting the perspectives of others, finding words and language and prioritising key messages.

Almost all young people will encounter and consume immense and increasing amounts of video journalism though numerous media outlets. Video packages are used by many different actors, with increasing sophistication, to interact with media consumers and impact on their mental processes, emotions, sympathies and behaviours. Critical media awareness is now an essential competence if we are to navigate the modern world without falling prey to commercial and political manipulation.

Didier Faure, comedian, What I leave

In this workshop young people are guided through a series of shared experiences using movement, music, self-reflection, ‘life narative floor-drawing’, mime and drama. This creates shared awareness and insights into their backgrounds, identities, life experiences and hopes for the future. Theater and dance open a connection through “doing in common” which alters the identification of the other in order to be able to interact with her/him. The activities take us into another type of encounter, less frontal, more sensitive.

When the exchange is created at the emotional level, conventions fall, a new listening opens up to the other and this enables a greater trust, empathy and acceptance. All of this foreshadows new understandings of the importance of relationships between each other, which we will reflect on, reframing citizenship as more than civil rights and better imagined as group cohesion and a sense of belonging

Colas Isnard, photographer, Border

This film traces a remarkable project in which young people, from different backgrounds who had not met before, were brought together to work in pairs to research and construct biographies and video portraits of each other. With guidance from Colas Isnard (an inspirational potrait photographer and videographer) each subject then read and recorded the biographical script written about themselves by their partner, and this became the voice-over soundtrack for a biographic video filmed by their partner. Themes of multi-ethnic urban life, migration, discrimination, multiple heritages, dislocation and integration are explored by each individual using the words of a sympathetic partner-researcher who brings a fresh understanding to the telling of their life story.

In the world of social networks people are increasingly concerned with semi-public curated video representations of themselves (and, implicitly, their self-image). In this series of workshops, young people are asked to think about a new way of constructing, sharing and communicating the image of themselves to others. ‘Illeism’ means the process of referring to yourself in the third person (as ‘he, she or they’). In these workshops the skilfully managed process of taking ownership and voicing another person’s narrative of your life brings fresh revelations and insights, and can build a new confidence and selectivity in future choices about self-representation

Around Manga - Exploring Narrative Motivations

Manga and anime are familiar major cultural narrative forms with a recognisable graphic style and which are enjoyed by many people, young and old, across the world. Originally from Japan, manga is the comic book format and anime the term for animated films. Using this powerful graphic style as a stimulus we explore the representation of values and motives in popular graphic novels and cinema and then inspire young people to collaborate as they use drama, cartoon drawing, improvisation and video making skills to create new narratives which do not simply cast characters as ‘good’ or ‘evil’.

Many popular narrative forms are variations a the ‘good’ versus ‘evil’ theme. This is sometimes described as ‘Manichean’ (from the gnostic religion emphasising spiritual dualism). Some examples of manga and anime adopt more complex ‘non-Manichean’ storylines in which the motives and life experiences of characters are linked with their behaviours, leading the consumers of this style of fiction to reflect more deeply on human behaviour and possibly reject the simplistic categorisation of ‘friend versus enemy’, ‘us versus them’. Characters are shown to have reasons for acting in certain ways, often linked to personal history and social environment. This workshop is a creative way to encourage questioning of over-simple explanations.