Festival The Neighbourhood & the World (Unofficial translation)
Type of Information
Loures City Council, Department of Social Cohesion and Housing, Unit of Equality and Citizenship
Ms. Sandra Almeida (Login to send email)
Contact Person Function
Head of the Unit of Equality and Citizenship, Loures City Council
Multicultural festival based on the idea of community involvement in its preparation and implementation, allowing to show neighbourhood to the world and bringing the world to the neighbourhood. The project is active in two neighbourhoods: Quinta da Fonte and Quinta do Mocho in the municipality of Loures, located in Lisbon’s suburbs.
Issue/Challenge and Goal/Assumption
The issues the project deals with are: urban requalification, personal skilling and territorial qualification, promotion of diversity, cultural programming, and development of a public art gallery.
The main objectives are: a) to change the stigmatized image of social / council housing; b) to change the behaviour of residents concerning the way they appropriate themselves of the dwellings and of the public space; and c) to increase the sense of community belonging.
The methodology includes community involvement, volunteering, partnerships, social responsibility and communication.
The actions involved in the project are: a) Development of community parliaments; b) definition of intervention needs in the public space; c) definition of the internal programming of the neighbourhood (To Show the Neighbourhood to the World); d) definition of the external programming of the neighbourhood (To Bring the World to the Neighbourhood); e) setting up a Public Art Gallery; f) concerted communication strategy; g) planning of projects of entrepreneurship in the neighbourhood.
How does it work
Strategically defined as a social and community intervention project, “The Neighbourhood & the World" invested from the very first moment in the mobilization of the resident population, enhancing the knowledge and the competencies of all community members. They were involved in the production of all the works and activities, simultaneously validating the existing cultural diversity as a key element of the project to be designed. The neighbourhood can be characterized by a huge diversity in terms of geographical origins of its residents: Cape Verde, Angola, Guinea-Bissau and Saint Tomé and Prince.
The project includes Community Parliaments that comprise agencies, residents and artists giving their contribution through ideas and suggestions concerning the works they would like to see accomplished and making themselves available to be part of the teams and groups of volunteers.
There are also specific Community Parliaments resulting from specific needs (in Quinta da Fonte neighbourhood the specific need was green areas whereas in Quinta do Mocho neighbourhood it was public transportation) to make the plans come true.
The project was defined and developed in partnership with the artistic association IBISCO Theatre and counted on the consulting and funding support of the High Commission for Migration and Intercultural Dialogue (ACIDI). Other partnerships were celebrated with strategic partners like the Civil Parish (Junta de Freguesia) of Apelação, the Group of Schools of Apelação, the Choices Programme (Project Involve Yourself in This Opportunity), the Association of residents of Apelação neighbourhood, the Police and the Pastoral of Gypsies. Several organic units of Loures City Council are also involved as the Local Security Contract, the Department of Environment and Municipal Transportation, the Housing Division, the Department of Human Resources, the Department of Works, Mobility and Energy, and the Municipal Services of Loures.
Appealing to the social responsibility of enterprises, artists, and public and private organizations was considered decisive in a project that cuts across three lines – Arts and Culture, the Third Sector and Urban Requalification. Many enterprises, from different business areas, associated themselves to the project donating materials, providing logistic support and disseminating its results (for example: Robbialac paints, the transportation company Rodoviária de Lisboa, Valorsul - recycling of urban garbage, among others).
Changing the image of the territory was one of the project’s priority goals, implying the demystication of prejudice. Thus, communication had a central place in every moment of the project’s operation with the goal of disseminating it among residents, volunteers, artists, enterprises and local partners. The purpose of communication was also to spread through the media all the actions with potential interest to the public.
Using the name of the project – The neighbourhood & the world – which in Portuguese is a word game with the words filthy (imundo) and hosting people from many different world countries (e o mundo), the project conceived an identity brand linked to the movement of urban art and enhancement of the territory. That image or logotype was then used in every document, diverse activities, presentations to the partners and programming of the festival in order to disseminate the concept among different audiences.
Besides the traditional mass media provided by the local authorities and the Association IBISCO Theatre, the communication was also possible through posters and flyers given in public services and local shops, and also by direct contact with the residents. A fan page was also open in the Facebook reaching many different people. The bus network of the transportation enterprise Rodoviária de Lisboa also disseminated the festival.
The quantitative results can be summarized in the following figures:
a) number of presences in community parliaments – 750 people
b) number of presences in community activities – 4500 people
c) number of volunteers – 300 people
d) number of artists present - 180
e) number of enterprises – 35
f) number of NGOs – 25
The development of paintings and the gallery creation led to an intense exchange of opportunities between artists and the community, constant visits and development of participatory work, thus seeking to create a sense of belonging and appropriation of the public space that was run down and was constantly vandalized.
One of the premises for the development of this activity was the strength of multiculturality in this territory and use of this human richness as a programming engine. This premise was taken into account in the design of all the artistic program developed especially in programming.
Another premise was the way these territories were regarded as degraded ghetto spaces involved in a set of prejudice that made mobility greatly reduced, either in the population coming into the neighbourhood (taxis or delivery services often refused driving to these neighbourhoods), or in the population going out of the neighbourhood (in a job interview residents seldom reveal they reside in these neighbourhoods).
Some interventions were not scheduled, but eventually played a very important role in social relations, mobilization and appropriation capacity by the community. They resulted from the territorial needs and discussed with the residents (redevelopment of public spaces, access to public transportation, safety, urban renewal of buildings). These interventions allowed to interact with the community and create a participatory and collaborative intervention in which many residents helped to make the plans come true.
The artistic participation was very important, particularly with regard to paintings, since the initial challenge dealt with urban renewal. It had to seen by the community as appropriative and vandalism deterrent, reflecting a strong multicultural character, representative of the various communities present in the neighbourhood, which was entirely achieved.
Also worth point out something that is not quantifiable but easily qualifying related to the interaction and intervention in and with the community. This enabled the access to many outstanding contributions to the construction process of the Festival, but also for building the community’s future, either with the local authorities, or with the institutions present at the Festival.
The development of the construction process of this activity is an evolving work in progress, ie the purpose is not to construct an event / activity (Festival), but rather to build bridges promoting full citizenship and affirmation of the population living in the target communities of the project, their values, their skills and their experiences which are intrinsic to integration, community, equality and interculturality.
The assessment report is only an action and an activity will be quite reductive, since all the preparation work, development and community involvement led to the develop many actions per se resulting in pre-festival activities and post-Festival.
In the implemented pre-festival surveys the respondents pointed out the need to promote interculturality by developing cultural activities that facilitated the meeting of cultures and promoted integration and positive social articulation.
In the surveys conducted during the event and after the festival, in guided tours, the opinion was very positive.
The surveys included:
a) Benchmarking surveys
b) Satisfaction surveys
c) Focus group coordination
d) Community meetings
Concerning the main successes of the project, the following ones are worth stressing:
a)Creation of sense of belonging
b) Appropriation of public space
c) Project development dynamics
d) Entrepreneurial dynamics
e) Creation of a pubic art gallery
The failures to be pointed out are:
a) The programme of activities was too ambitious and exhaustive
b) Reduced ability to disseminate the events
c) Little general mobilization in the municipality of Loures and surroundings
Who will benefit?
The beneficiaries are residents in council housing (approximately 1600 dwellings spread over 170 buildings), with circa 5500 people. The anchor identity is the parents’ countries of origin, particularly from African Portuguese-speaking countries (Cape Verde, Angola, Guinea Bissau, Saint Tomé and Prince). There are also some households of Roma origin.
The neighbourhoods and territories involved have a strong image of urban degradation associated to the presence of migrant origins that allows to reflect on the issues of immigration, social housing, safety, racial segregation, public image, media coverage responsibility and inclusion policies.
Source of funding and Resources used
The funding of the first edition of the project was achieved through the programme "Promotion of Interculturality" sponsored by the High Commission for Migrations (ACM) under the European Fund for the Integration of Third Country Nationals, the Choices Programme and Loures City Council.
The funding of the second edition was obtained through the project C4i - Communication for Integration (co-funded by the European Fund for the Integration of Third Country Nationals and the Council of Europe), by Theatre IBISCO (Barclays Foundation and PARTIS Foundation – Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation) and Loures City Council.
The human resources involved are:
a) the team of multidisciplinary implementation (Loures City Council) - 4 elements
b) Programming implementation team (IBISCO Theatre) - 4 elements
c) Volunteers - 4
d) Production team - 30 elements
e) Team of volunteers involved in the production of the Festival) - 40 elements
NOTE: Each edition of the Festival is thought of in terms of identification of the target territory, needs and possibilities in order to adequate every intervention to each space. The idea is to create a dynamic of appropriation of the territory creating a dynamic deployment, development and programming that emanates from each territory.