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An educational dimension of conflict resolution through cultural production

Brief description
The processes of globalisation and European integration have made the European societies experience important migration movements which contribute to an increasing diversity in their population. Therefore one of the challenges in the European countries nowadays is how well their citizens can live together, a situation hampered by the rise of prejudice and feelings of xenophobia and intolerance.

One figure who has tried to deal with this situation has been Augusto Boal, philosopher and theatre director. His concept of a theatre of the marginalised social groups, meant to stimulate their social activities, are the sources of inspiration of an educational project within the European programme Minerva. The aim is to take and develop Augusto Boal’s ideas of using the theatre (and similar media) as an instrument to gain conscience of the social structures of oppression.

An educational platform on the Internet was created by the Humanities Polytechnic (Humanistinen ammattikorkeakoulu) in Helsinki, Finland, aiming to deal with the problems created by the coexistence of different communities, based on Augusto Boal’s philosophy. Seven higher education institutions from different European countries take part in the project: Finland, Norway, Estonia, England, German, France and Spain. The European Union approved this project within the Minerva programme for the years 2004/05 and 2005/06.

The aim of the Project is to create a platform on the Internet with educational material that can be used as an example to teach the topics of marginalisation and especially immigration. In order to get this material it is necessary to carry out a series of study projects dealing with these topics. Each one of the institutions taking part in the project contributes with the materials of a study project for the first version of the platform.

The team was formed by a group of teachers with a degree in anthropology from the UCAM, from the areas of language and audiovisual communication. Those taking part in the project decided to film a documentary about the way immigrants from Ecuador and the Spanish population lived together in order to use it to open a debate about communication and mutual perception in both groups. In the subject called “documentaries” the students were invited to participate making part of the documentary. The students were given lessons on the subject and the working techniques. In the spring of 2005 different groups of students picked up the material and filmed the documentary, which was presented to a group of Ecuadorean and Spanish people in October 2005. The project was repeated in the year 2005/06.

The most important product in the year 2004/05 is the documentary on the mutual perception of people from Ecuador and Spain, and the programme about a discussion group who debated about this documentary. Both documents were created with the cooperation of the team of teachers and students. The other materials used in the project were the lessons recordings and notes. Some of these materials will be published on the project platform.
Another result of the Project was the cooperation with different European universities and offers the possibility of deepening the roots of UCAM in Europe.
One more consequence is the experience gained regarding the implementation of European projects. Taking part in a project can be a first step to research work carried out more in a European context.

Senior researcher: K. Schriewer
Researchers: Laura Cortés, Elvira Jensen, Juan Ignacio Rico Becero, Isaac Serrano Izquierdo
Students doing the subject "Audiovisual Documentaries"

Humanistinen ammattikorkealoulu (Humanities Polytechnic, HUMAK), Helsinki (Finnland); Université de Picardie Jules Verne, Amiens (Frankreich); Chester University College, Chester (Grossbritannien); Stephansstift, Hannover (Deutschland); Viljandi Culture Academi (Estland),Stavanger University College, Stavanger (Norwegen)

European Union, 2004 - 2006