Refugees and migration are controversial and polarising topics across Europe. However, increasing diversity is a reality that brings opportunities and challenges. Instead of deepening the division on the topic, more than ever constructive dialogue is essential. Moreover, today (young) refugees are a part of society. To overcome the growing tension in society and to seize opportunities, youngsters have to work together to design the solutions of tomorrow.
PeaceCraft project, a best practice that took place in Flanders, Belgium and was executed by !DROPS and U Move 4 Peace, the socio-artistic component of the peace movement Pax Christi Vlaanderen. Both organisations started this project from the realisation that youth workers (and teachers) lack the tools to engage in a meaningful debate about refugees.
In order to do so, PeaceCraft 2.0 proposes to involve youngsters in Bulgaria, Slovenia, Turkey and Belgium to engage in co-creation trajectories. In each country a group of 20 youngsters, 10 with a refugee background and 10 without such background but coming from diverse even sometimes marginalised backgrounds, will aim to cooperate with each other, and to propose and design solutions. The project is highly innovative. During a midweek, 6 youth delegates from each participatting country will get to know each other and map together the issues lying behind the polarisation through the methodology of participatory and polarised theatre. An ideal methodology as the focus lies on stereotypes and imagery that two different groups have about each other, something that can be extrapolated to society as a whole. Secondly, in order to go from there and to seek solutions the youngsters will embark on a co creation trajectory. Various partners can boast on experience in human centered and social design and will create together Design4Diversity, a new innovative methodology that will be used during the co-creation trajectory. At the end of the process youngsters in each country will create MVPs (Minimum Viable Products) and Case Studies that can tackle issues due to tensions between refugees and non-refugees existing in their respective countries. These will then be presented during multiplier events in each country. We will invite relevant stakeholders and decision-makers so that the outcomes can be linked up. The MVPs and Case Studies are inspring good practices that are transferable to other relevant local contexts.
To ensure upscaling and dissemination at the end of PeaceCraft 2.0 we will organise a final conference Brussels. We will invite key actors in the field to share in the project’s experiences and lessons learned. Each country sends a delegation of three youngster and one youth worker to participate in this exchange.
We will further ensure dissemination thanks to the free online publication of the toolkits on both methodologies, polarised theatre and Design4Diversity. Lessons learned will be bundled in the Redbook. To ensure sustainability the project’s partners will create a network to continue working on the theme and methodologies. The network is open to other partners across Europe, aiming for a broad network maximising our impact.
As such, we will reach a total of 80 youngsters directly involved in the project and they will raise awareness to their peers on the topics tackled. Each co-creation trajectory will lead to at least 3 MVPs and case studies of which at least one will be linked with stakeholders and thus elaborated. This will result in constructive dialogue and action from youngsters towards youngsters. With this project we aim to empower active young citizens in close collaboration with each other to be the drivers and designers of positive change in their own country.