Ever wanted to talk to a woman with a headscarf but did not dare to? Are you curious what made an immigrant from Africa come to Europe? With our concept of a “Living Library” we aim to create a space for dialogue between people who would normally not (dare to) speak to each other.
Europe needs our idea because dialogue between different groups of society is key to the creation of a common Europe. Our idea differs from projects like student exchanges or Europe-wide online discourse platforms in that it focuses explicitly on the local scale. We want to draw on the multifaceted character of many of today’s European cities. Dialogue among local neighbors that live next door in one city yet have different cultural backgrounds, professions or lifestyles can foster understanding on a European or even global scale.
The Living Library can very well also be executed in other countries or cities, the selection of Bonn for our first Living Library is merely a starting point and based on the fact that Bonn does not have many spaces for intergroup communication yet.
We believe that in order for Europe to grow together, one has to start with local measures.
A successful project would mean to reach the following aims:
• to facilitate dialogue between Germans and people from other European countries and other groups of society and thereby foster understanding.
• to show that Europe does not consist only of nations but primarily of people with different cultural backgrounds, professions, lifestyles.
• to train people that are confronted with stereotypes in dealing with prejudices.
• to sensitize the ‘readers’.
In a year from now we want to have conducted our first Living Library and have a database of human books to organize follow-up events, and to provide support to other initiatives.
We will first of all search for a suitable local event in the city of Bonn (for example a cultural festival) and contact possible “human books”. We will then start the design and development of our online platform and the database of human books, as well as the search for volunteers who would like to help with the execution of the Living Library. We will plan and conduct a training seminar for all human books. Moreover, we will create an informational sheet for the readers, a catalogue of human books, flyers and posters for the promotion of the Living Library. After the event, we will have a reflection and evaluation meeting with all human books. The online database shall be a continuous ongoing work. A next step of the project could be to cooperate with schools and libraries.
Funding requested from Advocate Europe
We are happy to receive feedback and discuss ideas on how to reach not only those who are already sensitised about their prejudices. We also welcome any advice from everyone who has already organised something in a similar direction.