Intercultural – Essential findings

By Hans Noijens and Ingrid Smit, LKCA

The following aspects are shown in most of the projects:

  • Target groups are refugees, or people from different nationalities and ages
  • Cooperation with local, regional or national partners is necessary to make the project successful
  • Participants gain more self-confidence through participation in the project and get more conscious of identity, talents and differences in cultural perspectives
  • A combination of cultural professionals, social workers and volunteers is essential for a successful project
  • You have to act and work at the place where your target group lives
  • Co-creation is a valuable part of the projects and using the stories and skills of the participants, enhances their involvement
  • Art is an international medium/ language in which people are easily capable of getting to know other people, and understand them.

If you look at the general characteristics of successful intercultural projects, public perception (A), physical quality of life (B), personal development (C), social cohesion (D), then the projects seem to have a strong focus on the personal development of the Attendees. This often happens with the idea that newcomers will feel better at home when they are resilient and when they can use and speak to their talents; After all, nothing is as stimulating as being addressed to your talents!

 

In addition, social cohesion also seems to play an important role, the activities usually focus on groups of mixed or non-mixed composition; to what extent there is also attention for the development of social skills can not be read from the description, because it is mostly artists who accompany the project seems to focus on the development of artistic and creative skills.

 

Especially the choice of locations (often public spaces) where results are presented reflects the attention to the public image. The extent to which there has been publicity during the process, the media involvement and citizens being questioned is not always clear. However, there is the deployment of volunteers in Denmark and the public is invited to workshops (Austria) and rehearsals (the Netherlands).

Little can be found in the descriptions about the physical quality of life. In Vienna one of the projects takes place in a multicultural neighborhood and its residents are the participants. How the project contributes to the physical quality of life is not explained in detail although that is obvious.

Convincing stakeholders and financiers can help pay attention to the above elements. Forming important points for policy makers in their considerations and choices.

Based on the comparative analysis of the six case studies and making use of experiences from other projects, you can come to the following points of attention for the success of intercultural production. In fact, it is about skills that you as a maker, supervisor, production manager and organizer come in handy and that can also be learned.

  • The success of a project in which we work with so many unknown data and people, places high demands on the team of artistic supervisors. They must be able to trust each other, know what they have to each other and allow each other space.
  • When working with a close-knit team of artistic supervisors it can be good to add people who, from an honest perspective, question the choices that are made from a different perspective.
  • The content of the piece is not only of interest to the public, it must also give the performers a voice, give the feeling that they are co-author of the piece and that it is their story that is brought to light.
  • Make every effort to make the community a community. Take the time and invite participants to tell and let them know who they are.
  • Be aware of the fact that rehearsals take longer than usual because different ways of practicing and rehearsing need to be coordinated.
  • Realize that flexibility and empathy are important characteristics of artistic supervisors and the producer for such a project, especially if you work on location.
  • Think in advance about the degree of integration you want to achieve between different styles and do not be disappointed if this is not entirely successful due to technical production reasons
  • The casting of amateur artists is an important aspect for the success of the project. Do not just choose people who are already known and who you can easily find and do not be afraid to reject people if you think they do not meet the qualities that production requires. Continue searching until you have the right level of occupation.
  • Whatever degree of theatricality is chosen, it is essential that attention is paid to the authenticity of the story and of the players / performers. Concepts such as quality and cliché are. If there is any doubt about the degree of authenticity of certain images, then submit them to the group.

References:

  1. Moerbeek 2016, Ongekend Bijzonder, https://www.lkca.nl/informatiebank/ongekend-bijzonder-project