Associação de Defesa do Património de Torres Novas (ADPTN)
CLOSE ENCOUNTERS starts in Torres Novas as a bottom-up process of planned encounters for co-creation, from a fine diagnosis to a local development project within an artistic/cultural scope. The goal is community empowerment, achieved through a project-based process requiring individual and collective stances on the public space, within a territorial and intergenerational dialogue.
CLOSE ENCOUNTERS aims at provoking young people (15-23) to engage in civic activation and decision-making process.
Municipality of Torres Novas, district of Santarém, center region of Portugal.
Torres Novas is a low-density region with an aging population, offering few quality and sustainable job opportunities and precarious labour relations. Youngsters tend to leave to study and scarcely return.
There are cultural facilities and programs mainly curated and sponsored by the municipality, showing little diversity and without a clear cultural plan. There is also a lack of mediation processes between cultural activities and potential audiences revealing the absence of medium/long-term planning and perspectives. So we identify a lack of activities targeted to youngsters and unmotivated audiences. On the plus side, there are several active old sports/musical associations, scattered in the surrounding parishes. The challenge: to qualitatively amplify the spirit of collectivism.
We want to build up a critical vision in the community that proactively develops the ability to create and interact within the context allowing interventions through local and regional based projects.
CLOSE ENCOUNTERS promotes an osmosis between conception and fruition of artistic/cultural products, turning spectators into producers in order to enhance a more demanding, self-organized and engaged community. A strong participatory element is required. Throughout the process, participants will acquire basic knowledge and skills on how to develop and implement a project from the beginning to the end.
CLOSE ENCOUNTERS intends to develop collaborative and participatory pedagogies, in order to empower youngsters, future community leaders or even artists, through peer to peer experiences.
The privileged focus of our work is young people (15-23 yrs), connecting them with older generations, to exchange experiences and desires for the future of the region. The scope of the project is the training of community leaders as a benefit to the entire population. We hope to mitigate the general mismatch between the decision centers and the youngsters, in Torres Novas as a county capital city. Several remaining local collectivities are a great way to reach audiences. The schools also represent a rooted intertwined network: Artur Gonçalves, Maria Lamas and Escola Profissional de Torres Novas. Our working hypothesis: if there is a way to fixate these young people, they can become future leaders and potential mobilizing community agents.
1) Exploratory phase: identification of the group of young people who will develop the project.
2) Participatory diagnostic phase: speed-dating organized between younger and older generations, to identify common fields of interest and specific challenges to the ways of using urban public space (first intergenerational moment).
3) Skill training phase: building up an artistic/cultural project through several workshops; training the target population (organized as a group in phase 1) to create, develop and implement a project, from inception to its public presentation.
4) Project implementation phase: production and presentation of a cultural product in an urban public space; celebration of the encounter between local partners and citizens (second intergenerational moment).
A year from now, local social actors involved (a group of youngsters) will be capable of putting together a project (planning activities and budget), applying for public support and will be able to assume a proactive role in the planning process of the municipality’s cultural policies. Existing local collectives will be reinforced in terms of their organizational and networking skills. A stronger community based on shared values of collaboration, empathy and common policies will emerge, as this idea will be a boost to the overall participation in cultural events and civic life. We hope that contemporary cultural practices, either in conventional and unconventional spaces, can be seen as tools for civic action, underlining boldness and creativity as tools to uphold the population's voices.
Increasing the awareness of local communities for democratic participation, allows the population to understand the relevance of individuals in collective decision-making processes, enabling them to understand the structures of power, including the multi-scale effect of decisions by sovereign bodies. The focus of the project on young people (15-23 yrs) is, primarily, to position them in relation to their social, economic and political context, increasingly marked by Portuguese integration in Europe (1986). The encounter exploring contemporary cultures can be a strategic device for community-led local development projects profoundly rooted in any given region. Participating in local cultural/civic projects gives them the tools to envision and intervene in national and European democracy.
Our team wishes to create an ecosystem of shared creation, based on the power and quality of human relationships to generate social transformation. If before the pandemic meeting people was an essential defining gesture of our life in society, after Covid-19 it became more and more relevant. We want to promote fundamental values for community-led local development projects, such as reciprocity, gratitude, collaboration, respect, equity, cooperation, justice, emancipation and active participation. We aim to bring forward new methods of improving personal and professional relationships in ways that satisfy both private and public values and bring together people who want to think more imaginatively, better understand their past and to have a clearer vision of our common future.
Funding requested from Civic Europe
Human resources (lead organisation + 2 partners) - €27,000.00
Other human resources (designer, trainers, mentors, photographer) - €6,500.00
Office expenses - €1,200.00
Travel and accommodation costs - €3,500.00
Public relations / Press office - €2,000.00
Equipments (AV and others) for the skill training activities - €2,300.00
Equipments and materials for the final project - €5,000.00
Dissemination materials - €1,500.00
Unforeseen expenses - €1,000.00
We are interested in feedback on how to increase participation levels amongst the younger population and how to connect culture and civic action. We would like to know more about existing projects developing collaborative tools.