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Composing Multiculturalism
Start date: May 1, 2015, End date: Apr 30, 2016 PROJECT  FINISHED 

Having so many different cultures coexisting together is one of Europe's main riches, however, it’s not always perceived like this, since many racist and xenophobic ideas and attitudes still persist in some of its inhabitants. Especially nowadays, in an economically and socially challenging moment, it is important that the coexistence of several cultures and ways of thinking is perceived as positive, is treasured and promoted, enabling each culture to provide its best characteristics to the development of Europe and the World. Based on the belief that photography is a powerful media, able to transmit messages, change minds and attitudes, it was intended to provide participants with the possibility to use photography as an instrument to communicate and promote multiculturalism, as a tool to reinforce people’s awareness of other cultures, promote intercultural dialogue and eliminate prejudice. The main objectives of this training course were: - to promote the reflection on multiculturalism in today's society; - to use photography as a tool to disseminate the benefits of multiculturality; - to promote the use of photography as a tool to reinforce people's awareness of other cultures, promote inter-cultural dialogue and eliminate prejudice. Participation on this training provided new insights on how to tackle issues like social exclusion, prejudice and multiculturalism. Photographic techniques were used as a media to communicate and promote multiculturalism. By showcasing the work developed for this training course all participants became multiplier agents of the theme. The project “Composing Multiculturalism” brought together in Lisbon 24 youth workers and youngsters from 9 countries around Europe: Portugal, Spain, Italy, Iceland, Poland, Slovakia, Latvia, Romania and Czech Republic. The training course took place from 5th till 14th June 2015 and during these 10 days participants discussed and learnt about Multiculturalism in today’s society and how Photography can be used as a tool to disseminate and promote its benefits. During these days, the main activities undertaken were: - non-formal education activities concerning multiculturalism, especially aimed at analysing the concept and its several possibilities. - hands-on approach methodology to learn how to use Photography as a tool to transmit a specific message, especially a message that promotes the benefits of multiculturalism within society. However, the project was not finished after these 10 days: Upon returning home, participants engaged in a follow up period where they continued working on the theme, making photos at their local communities.The photos produced were analysed and selected by the participants to represent the outcomes of the project to the local community. In what concerns the results and impact, our project acted on several needs recognized as priority by the Erasmus+ programme as: - Promoting social inclusion: participants improved and acquired new skills to enhance social inclusion. In addition to being at an international exchange they had the opportunity to interact with several languages and cultures, without excluding anyone. They also became more aware of their own thoughts and attitudes towards others, and towards their local community. - Developed basic and transversal skills using innovative and learner-centered pedagogical approaches: Our project relied on a mixture of non-formal and formal approaches, using the best of each of them. - Enhancing ICT (Information and Communication Technologies). In the whole project duration tools like Google+ and Facebook, were used to provide more visibility to the participants outcomes and as a way to keep the discussion about multiculturalism active. During the activity, participants used computers as tools for post-production and learnt new software to reach the desired photographic message. Furthermore an exhibition at Espaço Bento Martins, in Carnide an online photo gallery, an ebook (uploaded to the internet free-to-download) and a printed book were created as outcomes of the participants’ individual projects. By the end of this training, participants were able to fully understand the concept of multiculturalism and all its meanings in modern society. They were able to, knowingly, use photography as a tool to transmit their message and express their personal perception of multiculturalism, contributing, in this way, to spreading the concept that it is possible for multiple cultures to coexist in peace. With the outcomes of this project, the respect for each culture was promoted not only among the participants, but also among all those that come with contact with them and the outcomes of the project.
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