Special Focus

The initial motivation to take part in the project was based on the fact that INSUP was looking for special tools to reinforce the integration. The films which were created in the project as a training element initiated an important discussion about cultural differences. This discussion had been the initiative to do even more activities in the field of art. Since one of the main problems INSUP focussed was to resolve conflicts within the groups of trainees, they had the idea to let the trainees do something altogether and offered an arts workshop with trainees from a broad variety of different cultural backgrounds.

Using art as a means of expression places all learners face to a challenge which does not refer to formal education and allows all of them to communicate differently, thus lowering some barriers. This is also a way to challenge people and lead them to discover possibilities they had never envisaged before. The added value of this technique is that whatever the cultural, academic or professional background of the group, its age, religion, a different form of expression ends on a debate on the various perceptions of life, things which at some stage goes back to the perception of life and the participants' daily experience.

The training facilitated cross-cultural interaction because they all had this common need for integration. In spite of their origins, they all had the same objective of social, cultural and economic integration.

The course was designed on the basis of previous experience, by working with specialists of the different cultures involved. The project being based on artistic production, this refers to a universal language in which none of the participants is in a more or less favourable position, as this can be the case with academic knowledge. All participants are placed on equal footing and this allows them to release their creative potential.

This approach is transferable to all groups, whatever their previous culture and experience.

The recommendation to integration course designers would be not to concentrate on the final objective, but to use a means of "diversion" to bring the participants to cooperate, create together, express their hopes, fears and create something together.