Our societies are increasingly diverse and interdependent. The fight against racism and xenophobia, and the potential that cultural and artistic practices offer to overcome them, is integrated into numerous policies and programs at all levels of governance: from the European level, with measures such as Framework Decision 2008/913/ JAI of the Council of the EU or the White Paper of the Council of Europe on Intercultural Dialogue, to the local level, with programs such as BCN Acció Intercultural and Barcelona’s Plan for Cultural Rights.
However, there are still many hurdles to be overcome to ensure respect, dialogue and cultural exchange. According to the IDESCAT, 21.58% of Barcelona’s population was was born abroad and the latest edition of the report by the Observatory on Discrimination shows how racism is the main cause of discrimination; indeed, 34% of cases reported in 2020 had racist motivations. Against this background, the project DRIS – Co-creating intercultural societes: a Focus on Racism and Discrimination aims at strengthening intercultural dialogue for more plural, diverse and inclusive societies, in the understanding that access to and participation in the arts and culture are fundamental tools for intercultural dialogue and coexistence.
DRIS is a programme funded by Creative Europe that aims to promote intercultural dialogue through participatory processes of artistic creation that involve different social and cultural agents in the construction of new anti-racism narratives. To this end, pilot projects are being developed in parallel in three European cities that share challenges in terms of interculturality: Barcelona, Rome and Berlin.
The DRIS training in intercultural dialogue in Barcelona is about to conclude its initial phase. It has brought together a diverse group of participants with profiles from the arts, cultural management and mediation, civil society, and education. Among the invited speakers were Cristina da Milano, President of ECCOM (project partners and managers of the pilot in Rome) who shared her experience in audience development as well as the European framework of interculturality; the Mixe linguist and activist Yásnaya Aguilar, who talked about how visions and language construe imaginaries based on misunderstanding and in the rejection of difference; the Peruvian artist Daniela Ortiz, who shared her political-artistic practice aimed at resignifying the colonial symbols and racist discourses. Furthermore, we had the opportunity to listen to theater maker Marta Galán, who explored the potential of participatory practices for the benefit of migrant groups. Laia Colell from A bao a qu presented “Cinema en Curs”, an artistic-educational project started fifteen years ago that involves creators, educators and young people in the collective audiovisual production of movies. The last training session will be delivered by Estefanía Rodero and will deal with cultural rights and cultural democracy.
As part of the training program, the BCN Acció Intercultural team presented the work implemented by the Barcelona City Council to fight hate speech and discrimination based in ethnicity.
The next stage of the training, by Eva García from ComuArt, will focus on participatory planning. Participants will propose project ideas and one will be selected to be implemented, through a participatory process, in the second phase of the DRIS project.