Graffiti and Democracy

LeeWerk-WISA GmbH

Media materials:

Organisation:

LeeWerk-WISA GmbH

Country:

Germany

About organisation:

LeeWerk-WISA GmbH is a non-profit educational organisation in the district of Leer. As a subsidiary of the district of Leer, LeeWerk-WISA GmbH takes on a wide range of tasks in the context of training and qualifying young disadvantaged people in order to integrate them into society and work. The organisation also has many years of outstanding experience in the design and implementation of international youth exchanges and specialises in showing young people new perspectives for personal and professional development through "borderless experiences". References include Eurodesk, EuropaLokal, the Lower Saxony Youth Welfare Office and a local and international network.

Contact person:

Daniela Saadhoff-Waalkens

Title of the project

Graffiti and Democracy

Start date:

December 1, 2022

End date:

October 31, 2023

Source of funding:

Thanks to funding from the Lower Saxony State Office for Social Affairs, Youth and Family and the Ems Dollart Region, two related youth encounters with young people from Germany and the Netherlands could be realised.

Objectives:

The current state elections in Lower Saxony have shown that the understanding of democracy and interest in political issues and solutions is dwindling and polarisation is the order of the day. In particular, the understanding of "otherness", equality and social justice is being overshadowed by world events. The already successful work with the Noorderpoort College in Winschoten (NL) has shown that this problem also exists in the neighbouring country.As a result, considerations were made as to how, on the one hand, an understanding of democracy can be addressed and, on the other hand, how an interest in a multi-cultural exchange can be awakened in a very practical way. Young people and the so-called "disadvantaged" in particular are difficult to reach. With the prospect of a graffiti workshop in Bunde, a journey together to Berlin and a appropriate preparation by the target group itself, the aim is to encourage initiative and commitment and reach young people in an unconventional way. A regular monthly online exchange and two preparation days in person will enable a total of 30 young people to get in touch with each other, formulate their own ideas and discuss them. With the help of the online meetings, the young people can get to know each other and discuss their ideas. Joint planning for the graffiti workshop and the goals that they would like to present at the work

Why does it correspond to the thematic category:

The "Graffiti and Democracy" project was developed through discussions with young people in youth centres, pupils from the Bunde secondary school and participants from LeeWerk-WISA GmbH. The young people were interested in getting to know like-minded people from another country, but could not imagine travelling abroad. Contact was made with the Noorderpoort College in neighbouring Winschoten to create a low-threshold neighbourly exchange. Participants from the school in Winschoten with a similar educational background have also been reluctant to make contact abroad. A concept was therefore developed with colleagues from the Netherlands to give young people on both sides of the border an opportunity for an exchange. The aim was not just to organise a general meeting but to spark a discussion about democracy with the help of artistic activities. In particular, this target group with little contact with political issues was to be familiarised with the topic of democracy through a trip to Berlin with visits to various historical sites. The aim was to encourage participants to engage with democracy and "what does this have to do with me? " could be initiated during the 3-day workshop with graffiti artists by creating a "work of art". In line with the EU Youth Strategy 2019- 2027: Engage. Connect. Empower, the resources of young people are to be uncovered and promoted.

The impact the initiative had on young people and the local community:

The 3-day stay in Berlin is intended to bring the heterogeneous group from the Netherlands and Germany closer together and enable them to express their own needs and demands through the instrument of graffiti. By getting to know different graffiti works, the young people will be familiarised with the background to graffiti processes. In further dialogue with the graffiti artists, the backgrounds and symbols of the graffiti works can be discussed and interpreted. With the help of exercises, participants are given the opportunity to design symbols, characters and images and reflect on them in the group. Through creativity in cooperation (working together on a project and thus sending one or more messages), the aim of the project is also to strengthen the sense of togetherness, to trust one's own ideas and to enable experiences in participation processes. The final joint realisation of the graffiti design in the home region is the highlight of the project. The artwork was realised in the break hall of the secondary school in Bunde and thus has a lasting effect on the pupils. The "Freedome" lettering in particular is also thought-provoking at school and is intended to draw attention to the project activities and find imitators. With this project, further structures were initiated to enable future Eurodesk counselling for young people on stays abroad with the cooperation partners.

How it ensured the visibility and promotion of Eurodesk:

Through counselling young people on stays abroad for Eurodesk, it became clear that young people who have dropped out of education rarely if ever decide to go abroad. With the help of the cooperation with the Eurodesk network and Eurodesk Germany, ideas for youth exchanges in a protected environment could be developed and implemented. The "Graffiti and Democracy" project is already the 3rd project for educationally disadvantaged young people.All activities were also recorded in a YouTube film and made available to the Eurodesk network. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JPYhKoJkbm0 The cooperation with Eurodesk was also carried out by the "Fachstelle Europa" as part of press work.

How it respected the green principles:

The green principles were respected by reducing the number of face-to-face meetings. 8 exchanges prior to the Berlin trip were conducted exclusively online. In addition to the discussions on democracy, the resource-conserving use of everyday things in life was also addressed and discussed with the young people.

The current state elections in Lower Saxony have shown that the understanding of democracy and interest in political issues and solutions is dwindling and polarisation is the order of the day. In particular, the understanding of “otherness”, equality and social justice is being overshadowed by world events. The already successful work with the Noorderpoort College in Winschoten (NL) has shown that this problem also exists in the neighbouring country.
As a result, considerations were made as to how, on the one hand, an understanding of democracy can be addressed and, on the other hand, how an interest in a multi-cultural exchange can be awakened in a very practical way. Young people and the so-called “disadvantaged” in particular are difficult to reach. With the prospect of a graffiti workshop in Bunde, a journey together to Berlin and a appropriate preparation by the target group itself, the aim is to encourage initiative and commitment and reach young people in an unconventional way. A regular monthly online exchange and two preparation days in person will enable a total of 30 young people to get in touch with each other, formulate their own ideas and discuss them. With the help of the online meetings, the young people can get to know each other and discuss their ideas. Joint planning for the graffiti workshop and the goals that they would like to present at the work