Tafahum, our Erasmus+ funded project, brings young people together with policy makers to bring about a re-commitment to co-creating a safe, collaborative, shared community that is inclusive for long-term residents and new arrivals.
The year-long project asks:
What changes would you like to see in your community?
We are using a unique blend of intensive one to one work, group work and challenging problem solving and reflection activities, to support structured dialogue through the mediums of film, photography, art and drama.
‘Tafahum’, is an Arabic work which means ‘mutual understanding.’ We take this further to mean, ‘mutual understanding which leads to a change of mind, and change of heart,’ We have chosen this Arabic word to best represent what we feel is close of the hearts of new arrivals to Tower Hamlets – to be heard, and to belong.
January | At the launch HEC worked with A-Team Arts, to deliver a dynamic session that provoked deep thought and discussion. The resulting passion we encountered with those articulate young people is something that was addressed at the February workshop.
February | The second workshop on Feb 22nd, actively involved both young people and local decision-makers. It was an excellent session, with representatives from the police, IAG and Equalities Team present. Using Forum Theatre techniques and Theatre of the Oppressed, participants worked in mixed groups to create short scenes highlighting discrimination, prejudice and issues resulting from a lack of community
cohesion. Audience members were asked to comment at particular points during the showcase, and offer suggestions for alternative resolutions to the problems characters faced.
There were certain moments that were powerful, where the reversal of roles were starting to scratch away at some of our ‘us/them’ presumptions. We only scratched the surface, but already we saw spaces opening up where young people can be empowered by being involved in the processes the Council already has in place.
Equalling the passion however, there was also palpable frustration that there are black holes in services for young people. We had a strong statement from one young person, ‘We have voices, but no one is listening to us’. And what they’re after is not just looking after themselves – these young people are clearly passionate about justice, equality, environment and much more!
April | On the 27th, we were also invited to present Tafahum at Limehouse Youth Centre’s ‘Unite for Youth’ event.
Here are some pictures of the event.
There is still a lot of work to do, and we are inviting local decision makers to another similar session, on June 26th to dig deeper using these alternative methods of communication and to open a further space for mutual understanding and dialogue.
We have a few spaces left for local decision makers. Please contact us if you are interested in joining us. More info, here.
Following on from this, a showcase on July 19th will celebrate the work of the young people from across the borough, and will include music, poetry, theatre, film and photography, based around the themes of the project.
The event will end with a Long Table (http://publicaddresssystems.org/projects/long-table)offering all participants and the local community an opportunity to reflect on ideas for co-creating a safe,
collaborative and shared community.
The project runs January 2018-2019.
If your need additional information regarding the project, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.