In Tournai, we are particularly attached to the notion of peaceful community life. It means being open to others and their diversity, as well as valuing mutual cultural enrichment. This issue is particularly relevant in today’s world, which is characterised by population movements and the shrinking of distances thanks to technology.
Tournai is home to a Red Cross reception centre for migrants, but Tournaisians often have little contact with the centre’s residents. Yet, when such links do exist, they demonstrate their richness and positive impact on living together and welcoming others. That is why we felt it was essential to encourage these exchanges. What’s more, such exchanges help to thwart prejudices and encourage a more critical view of our society, its realities and its challenges. The aim of our project is therefore to raise young people’s awareness of the importance of accepting migrants and giving them a place in the local community, by giving them the tools to develop a more critical outlook and become active citizens.
With this in mind, the project was quite naturally based on a co-constructive and inclusive approach, involving the participation of various local actors with different sensibilities, knowledge and skills such as No Télé, the local TV, Gaurain, Templeuve and Morocco community centres, Masure 14 and Port’Ouverte youth centres and the Red Cross ADA Centre in addition to the City of Tournai. It is this diversity that made our project so rich.
Thanks to the use of a variety of means of expression, everyone could contribute to the project. Indeed, the project combined musical expression, media education, graphic expression and the creation of a sculpture.
The activities took place over one or several days and included moments of reflection, discussion and creation, allowing the young participants to give free rein to their artistic souls to create musical works, television reports, a mural and a sculpture.
By enabling them to develop their own critical thinking and awareness-raising, the project gave young people the opportunity to become aware of their capacity for action. All these actions and creations were showcased at the Tournai le Monde festival on June 3, as well as at the inauguration of the sculpture on October 19. The sculpture is now permanently anchored in the public space, enabling us to continue our awareness-raising work.
So if you are visiting our beautiful city, don’t forget to drop by at 1 Quai du Luchet d’Antoing, along the Scheldt, to admire the fresco and the sculpture, symbols and results of the young people’s reflective work.