"Hello Neighbour" educates rural youth through art, culture and democratic values. We will buy and customize a bus driving through the Ribera Baixa region and inviting people to pop in. Teens will arrange the vehicle and create art inside. Their art pieces will be presented to the neighbours. Youth will gain a transformative experience through creative work with artists and craftsmen. We think that comprehension of our history territory and neighbours forms a cohesive society for a better future
It will take place in 9 little villages in Ribera Baixa region, Spain.
Ribera Baixa is located near the Mediterranean sea at the Cullera estuary. The land is mainly devoted to agricultural needs. The project will take place in the villages with around 2000 inhabitants. In most cases, locals live on a low income there. We respect that rural communities often are conservative and value tradition. Sadly, while living here we have faced a huge polarization between locals and newcomers. Consequently, we seek to communicate the issue of refugees and immigration in the Ribera Baixa region. Our societal challenge is to make young people open up for a global situation by the use of contemporary art which would be inspired by the local patrimony and shown in an open and inclusive way. Eventually, young citizens will spread new gained democratic values to others.
We will strengthen democracy by collaborative work and artistic creations of the rural communities. Locals and newcomers will meet and learn to communicate with each other, to express their ideas, to listen and accept other opinions. Our team will create “the bus rules” that will be grounded in tolerance, democracy, non-violent communication, anti-racism and feminism. As a result, young citizens will support their habits, ways of thinking and communication with democracy. Not only they will change, but also further generations will be influenced. Citizens’ participation will be enhanced by giving importance to the local patrimony. A possibility of having the bus customized by the youth from the area, working with charismatic artists will make everyone engaged and linked to the project.
Our target group is young locals and newcomers (12-17 years old). They will be brought together in order to discuss and create. Everyone will have equal rights to express their opinions and be listened to. Direct contact with the neighbour, especially when it is a newcomer, will reduce animosity and increase civic cohesion. The project unites 9 villages. Everyone will be welcome to take part in the touring events. As our artistic production will be inspired by local patrimony, we will receive interest from the inhabitants. The artists will benefit from the project because they will become known for the young generation and will participate in an original project. Their work will be published in the media. The general public, artists’ communities will be able to follow us on social networks
The first step is to meet the youth from Favara, Llaurí, Corbera, Benicull, Albalat, Polinyà, Riola, Fortaleny and Cullera refugee center. Educators, artists and craftsmen will hold workshops related to arts and democratic communication once a week for 7 months. We will use the bus to make the gathering possible. Teens will arrange the vehicle in order to give them collaborative experience and responsibility. A graffitist Deih will be there to inspire them. We will bring the youth on a trip to local heritage sites, also to theatres and museums outside the area. During this transformative experience, the youth will create performative art inside and outside the bus and present it to the neighbours. We will close the project with the best art pieces shown on a tour in 9 villages.
The bus will have become an emblematic symbol of friendship among people who share a territory based on respect for patrimony and creativity. Due to this transformative experience, young participants will understand themselves better and make proper decisions in their future. The meeting with the artists will give the teens a chance to discover their real vocations and be involved in possible future mentorships. Heterogeneous youth from the area will have created lasting relationships among them. Local governments will be willing to participate in the next editions of “Hello Neighbour”. Citizens of the area will have witnessed how diverse youth collaborates and safeguards local cultural and human heritage. Therefore, the whole population of the are will have trust in the new generation.
“Hello Neighbour” firmly trusts in youth. They are the future. They have the excitement and flexibility to learn and change things. We also trust in culture as the pillar of European identity and the main weapon against ignorance. During the initiative, cultural understanding will rise at the local level which will contribute to Europe with citizens with a broader vision. Our strategy is to change Europe by changing ourselves. We seek to transmit the idea to Ribera Baixa area that the difference is not a threat but an opportunity to grow. Europe needs to be an example of hospitality, education and culture. In short, it is necessary to be inclusive and open to arriving people. We want to give an example for European countries how one civic desert becomes compost where democratic ideas grow.
“Hello Neighbour” is our dream project. This project is a chance to give the best of ourselves - experience, future goals and an attempt to make a change in a civic desert. We are personally related to the area. We possess a socially engaged and artistic background. Therefore we consider that this project comes at the right moment of our lives. We are ready to make it real, especially now when the rural life takes a new role in times of pandemic crisis which mainly hits big cities. It might also be related to overpopulation, high pollution level and consumer lifestyle. While living in small villages is much safer, connected to the land and the roots. It is also very intimate, thus the quality of communication and exchange is crucial in order to guarantee democracy.
Funding requested from Civic Europe
Bus (purchase, insurance, travelling and unforeseen): 23.000 euros
Team (education and administration): 20.000 euros
Guest educators: 2000
Art materials: 1900 euros
Publishing: 1000 euros
Tickets (theatres and museums): 2400
We are open for critical feedback as long as it is reasonable, candid and specific. Our team would appreciate compatible and actionable advice given on time. Comments that help to provide our own feedback and increase self-efficiency are welcome as well.