Berlin Forum on Global Politics e.V.
In time of crisis in Europe, when uncertainty and insecurity are high, stereotypes like the austere German, the lazy Southern European, the evil Muslim are often used to explain what is happening. They are spread via media, social networks and official rhetoric and adopted automatically by the public. This leads to the misunderstanding of reality, to distrust among people and to biased policies. We want to encourage people to critically read news, and to learn to recognize and bust stereotypes.
The repetition and exaggeration of old stereotypes during the economic and refugee crises by media, public authorities and in social networks has led to increasingly negative, caricatured and even hostile perceptions towards specific nationalities, religions or cultures. This lack of inter-cultural understanding about the “other” contributes to the rise of populism, nationalism, Euroscepticism, resulting in the decrease of solidarity among Europeans.
Our main aim is to encourage a more critical reception of all information we come across. We want people in Europe to reflect on what they read and hear, to look for alternative sources, to recognize stereotypes and to bust them. By doing this, we seek to reduce misperception and distrust among Europeans, promote inter-cultural understanding, encourage a more active and evidence-based debate on joint European challenges, and strengthen European citizenship.
Our project is based on four equally important elements:
a) Organize a workshop in Berlin to create a network of cultural actors, NGOs, media representatives and teachers to share ideas and jointly develop strategies and resources to discuss and explain the issue;
b) Establish partnerships with European schools to jointly organize activities with students on stereotypes and critical reading (e.g., included in project weeks);
c) Create a website to present the results of the workshop to the public, share teaching materials developed by us and our partners on how to deconstruct stereotypes, and enable those interested in the project to stay in touch;
d) Organize a digital, interactive competition for students that awards the best and most creative ways to bust stereotypes.
The main target groups are high school and university students, teachers and educational institutions and organisations, as well as media representatives. By including schools, teachers and educational institutions, we can share best-practices, develop innovative ways on how to tackle the challenge and build a network of multipliers and leaders on identifying, discussing and debunking stereotypes.
Our project is interactive, multifaceted and sustainable: we will foster the exchange of ideas among different stakeholders, and set up lasting digital and printed tools to help people read critically. We want to encourage students to rethink their own certainties and question their stereotypes about others and of others about them. The competition provides a fun and exciting way to do so.
Funding requested from Advocate Europe
Event costs: 8500 EUR; public relations: 5100 EUR; travel and accommodation: 10440 EUR; and personnel costs: 21600 EUR.
We would love to hear from you if you are interested in collaborating with us or if you know any secondary school interested in participating in the project. Any other feedback is highly appreciated. And, of course, if you heard or read any stereotype recently that you are uncomfortable with, let us know. The sooner we start busting them, the better!