“Divercity” addresses inequalities in access to culture, in particular for young people in disadvantaged situations (with low educational, social, geographic capital).
Divercity wishes to develop methods that:
a) re-establish museum pedagogy as an innovative source of learning
b) help use exhibitions as pedagogical support to tackle the diversity characteristic of our societies
c) adapt to the reception and engagement of new audiences (in particular of disadvantaged backgrounds, migrants, not regular audiences of the museums)
d) valorise cultural diversity as a common European resource
e) propose art mediation as a grassroots method for re-appropriation of the city, the district, of addressing low prestige districts by its inhabitants, in particular young people with disadvantaged backgrounds.
To achieve our objectives we wish to:
1. Identify and share best practices focusing on cultural diversity and inclusion through artistic mediation inside museums, culture institutions, our urban walks
2. Develop curricula and training materials on intercultural work for museum staff, cultural professionals, artists
3. Develop resources for young people that facilitate access for culture, art in an active inclusive way
The “Divercity” partnership addresses:
a) young adults with low educational, social, geographic capital – living in low prestige districts, members of minority cultural groups
b) trainers, facilitators, educators working with them looking for innovative, low barrier methods for the development of cultural and social competences
c) pedagogical staff of museums, cultural centres, artists
Young people in disadvantaged situations
There are barriers to access of culture virtually in all European societies, and these barriers are all the more destructive for those citizens, young people who live bellow the poverty line, are members of segregated cultural groups, whether or not they were born in other countries. Indeed, in their case access to culture could be an important source of “integration”, acquisition of the cultural capital of the majority society and development of social capital. Yet these same young people often live in segregated districts where access to such educational opportunities is limited:
In Budapest, young people of Roma origin often live in ethnic ghettos, which contrary to other places of the world, can be found in the middle of the city; it is only the incapacity of these young people to relate to the majority culture, for fear of being rejected, that closes them in a sort of virtual ghetto.
In the Parisian agglomeration, Barcelona and Madrid concentration of migrants and their children in poor districts impacts on their integration, potential for social and geographic mobility, willingness for participation in democratic institutions, self-image and perception of the others – those not living in the segregated areas. Several studies show that young people see such segregation as negative, perceive the education opportunities as poorer and their chances of success fainter than in other parts of the city. (Study: Le role du quartier dans le vécu des jeunes, Douzet, Robine 2013) Although demographic realities of Vienna and Helsinki are quite different, there are similar tendencies. Cultural institutions concentrate on few inner-city districts and many of the state-funded institutions address tourists more than locals. In Helsinki, to address the issue, the city strategy 2013-16 formulates as a key target “Immigrants as active residents”.
As access to culture has become a topical issue in Europe, museums in different European cities have been reinforcing their efforts to be able to engage new audiences form groups not typically engaging in museums: immigrants, young people outside of the school system. Independent initiatives bloom, but they are not really mainstreamed: cultural diversity is not a regular component in their training and preparation, and the outreach programs could still benefit from exchange of best practices. In all our countries museums and cultural institutions are fighting to break the barrier of “high culture” and to attract young public of not middle class origin. Despite a few encouraging initiatives, a lot is left to be done.