Enhancing Cultural Awareness through Cultural Production was a two-year Grundtvig project which received funding from the European Union. The background for this project was the increasing cultural diversity within the European Union. A growing number of refugees and immigrants are creating new cultural minorities within Europe. These cultural minorities will augment cultural diversity, but also lead to increased racism and hostility. Adult education organisations have always had a strong role in society as opinion formers and it will be through these establishments that nationals and immigrants will be educated to accept these cultural differences.
The purpose of the project “Enhancing cultural awareness through cultural production” was to develop cultural education methods and practices. Once developed, these methods were then integrated into adult education, thus reducing racism and hostility towards foreigners and different minority groups in the European Union. During the project we combined the skills and know-how of different adult education organisations to achieve the set aims. The organisations involved in the activities included universities, polytechnics, folk high schools and reseach institutes. By organising an educational module of cultural production, including immigrants, we developed and implemented a common European study module. The module can be used at different levels of adult education.
The target group of the project included adult educators, students of cultural production and management, immigrants and representatives of minority cultures. The wider target group was the majority of Europeans.
The whole project lasted for two and a half years. During this time all the partners involved in the project cooperated to create, develop and impliment a common European study module of 10 ECTS. The module was implemented in all the different institutions which paticipated in the project “Enhancing cultural awareness through cultural production”. In addition to the common study module the project produced several cultural events, all aimed at increasing tolerance and decreasing racism in the countries involved. The cultural activities included theatre, multicultural festivals and work-shops. By organising education for cultural productions in each of the partner countries we created, implemented and developed at different levels of adult education. The variety of the partners involved in the project enabled us to benefit from the experiences of each partner.
The project concentrated on the development, exchange and dissemination of innovative approaches and best practices by creating a new European study module.
The partners involved in the project worked with a minority group which was important at national level. All the cultural productions and events produced during the two year project used the same methodology. The Methodology was adapted from Augusto Boal’s “Theatre of the Oppressed” which aims at improving society and increasing active citizenship. Theatre of the Oppressed is a socially activating form of art which aims to start a process of change within a community. The method used by all the partners in the project had the following eight phases.
Introduction: The participants analysed their own prejudices towards the minorities involved. This analysis was completed by a study of the history and culture of the minorities involved.
First contact: The participants introduced themselves to the community.
Research: The participants become involved in the daily life of the community. This was done by having informal discussions with representatives of the minorities. Topics discussed included racism and intolerance.
Analysis: The participants analysed the information.
Development of the event: The participants developed the multicultural events.
The event: The events were carried out in the community.
Discussion: Discussions to find solutions to the problems in the community were held at the end of the event.
Conclusion: The participants analysed their own experiences and the suitability of the method for their future working life.
enhancing cultural awareness through cultural production