The Exchange

The project proposed to organize a two-week artistic workshop gathering 30 young Europeans and migrants in Leonessa and Rocca Sinibalda (Rieti, Italy) in summer 2017 (8 to 21 August). It took place as part of cultural event italian artists and local population based on the Decameron from Boccacio and led by Teatro Rigodon.

The exchange was organised by Teatro Rigodon, in partnership with Theater Dortmund (KJT, Germany), La Transplanisphère (France) and ExQuorum (Portugal).

European youth is highly concerned about the impact of migration and terrorism on the European way of life. “Stories” about migrations told by media and politics evoke fear and threat of populations. The aim of this exchange was to rebalance this situation by offering spaces of expression where Europeans, migrants and refugees may work together and trigger different “stories”. By fostering cultural exchange and promoting mutual understanding and common projects, this project enabled young Europeans to construct inclusive dialogue and to stimulate European solidarity and cohesion. 

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The Participants

4 groups of 6 young people (18-30) coming from Germany, Portugal, France and Italy participated in this exchange. These youth groups came from different backgrounds: students in politics, arts, journalism, law. Some came from groups with fewer opportunities that participate in artistic workshops locally hosted by the partners. The project enabled these young people to take ownership of a major stake in the society in which they are integrating.

The Pathway

During 10 days, the participants took part in numerous activities.

The demo sessions

Everyday, a participant had the opportunity to share a talent, knowledge, a specific skill, during a short presentation. These sessions were organised by a “squad” (a group of 5 participants) and turned out to be very rich and creative. For example, participants discovered a traditional Arab dance (the dabkeh), an African song (Fatouwé), the basic techniques to climb a rock face or the art of yoga and its “greeting to the sun”.

These demo sessions stimulated the dynamics of the groups as everyone was listening to one of the members of the group who distinguished himself or herself by his/her talent. This was also an opportunity to share and to create altogether.

Decameron by Boccaccio

The activities of this youth exchange were based on the Decameron novel. It is the most ancient Italian novel that has inspired and gave birth to many novels and stories all over Europe. Boccaccio, the author, compiled one hundred short stories inspired by western and eastern stories that question human relations in the context of a major crisis (the Black Death). The large variety of topics and characters taking part in Decameron constituted a rich source of inspiration for participants to trigger new stories about our times.