Apartment Project e.V.
A major challenge for European cohesion and shared values of equality and democracy is the rise of xenophobic political and social movements aimed at excluding new comers and non-majority populations from civic participation. This project uses artistic audio-visual tools and a media and education focused PR strategy to foster empathy among long term residents with the plights of new arrivals. It connects past European tragedies to today’s conflict in cities facing integration problems.
Dresden, Germany - Budapest, Hungary - Calais, France - Copenhagen, Denmark - Dover, UK
Across Europe, new arrivals fleeing from violence and oppressive regimes are faced an unwelcome refuge. Nationalist, racist, and anti-immigrant groups are becoming more vocal, and more bold in their threats to new comers. Long term residents are unable to see the humanity shared by themselves and the newly arrived Europeans, thus, building a culture of segregation and inequality. Information in the media highlights differences from between communities and stokes fears of the Other in society.
The measurable goal of the project is to shift the dialogue (in the media/among politicians) about immigration away from a discourse of “crisis” and fear toward a constructive conversation about what long term residents can do to help their newly arrived neighbors feel at home and build productive lives in Europe. The less tangible goal is to foster a sense of empathy, tolerance, and shared community. If the project succeeds, there will be fewer violent incidents in our cities a year from now.
The project uses audio-visual media to show how European tragedies (that still painful to long term residents) are analogous to those faced by new comers to Europe in their counties of origin. This media is displayed at the sites of commemoration via a stand alone digital signage outdoor kiosk in five European cities that have been sites of xenophobic demonstrations or violence. The kiosk’s screen displays footage that draws stark parallels between the pain experienced locally in the past and currently in newcomers countries of origin. For example, at Dresden’s Frauenkirche footage will mix images of WWII Dresden and present day Aleppo and interviews with survivors of both tragedies. The project also includes curriculum development for local schools to teach empathy and shared values.
The immediate target group for the multimedia display is long term residents that have are hesitant to accept newly arrived Europeans. The stakeholders are all community members. Beneficiaries are pupils who received teaching from the curriculum based on the project, as well as the public more broadly. New comers feel more welcomed in their cities of refuge, and long term residents have the opportunity to connect with new neighbors on a more human level.
We would like to find partners for extending to project to more cities. Also - if there are any organizations with similar equipment that would be able to help with an in-kind donation. Of course, all constructive feedback is welcomed.