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Young People Show Equality Through European Project

22/08/2016 17:53

2016-08-19-1471626148-1199579-TCFTBournemouth2.jpg

Photo by Robert Golden and used with permission.

In a tumultuous Europe that is struggling to blend and work together, a collective of young people have come together to show that this does not have to be case.

From the 1st to the 14th August 2016, I was fortunate enough to take part in The Complete Freedom of Truth (TCFT) - "an international youth-led project with the ambition to develop global citizenship through culture and the arts" - for the second year. Joining me on the project were over 100 young people (from ages 13 - 26), supported by 12 partner organisations, from seven countries across Europe.

Although the divide between Eastern and Western Europe continues, countries from both sides were represented and it is if they were one in the same - the East and West divide does not apply in TCFT.

We are individuals from Bosnia & Herzegovina, Georgia, Italy, Portugal, Romania, Serbia and the United Kingdom with different identities, but as a collective we are Europeans brought together for a common cause. According to the TCFT website, "TCFT seeks to create a connected community of young people from across Europe who are passionate about positive social change within their communities and across Europe."

This year was the second phase of the project, held in the town of Bournemouth in the UK, following on from last year's first phase in Bosnia & Herzegovina's Srebrenica. Drawing on the title of the project, we were invited to explore the word 'Truth', after exploring 'Freedom' in 2015. The result was a series of interesting discussions, presentations and creative works that allowed all of us to explore our own truths, truths about society and truths about Europe.

Young people collaborated with, learned from and were supported by a number of processional artists, academics, producers, culture leaders and international peers over the two weeks. This allowed them to develop skills, hone their craft and create pieces of work in different areas, including dance, radio, visual arts, poetry, parkour, photography and theatre.

One of the highlights was a mass discussion that we had regarding Europe, asking what is Europe, how do we perceive Europe and what we do we expect Europe to look like in the next five years. The common consensus was that the future of Europe is looking pretty bleak, but we want to maintain some positivity and work together as young people to make changes for our future.

All of the work and collaboration from the two weeks culminated in a final showcase on the 13th August, which was presented to an audience of about 200. Not only was the audience able to see the creative results of the work we had put in, but they were also able to get a taste of the workshops that we had been a part of.

TCFT is a process that not only allows young people to develop creatively, but it also allows them to develop as individuals and as leaders for the future, learning from each other in a safe, relaxed environment. For me personally, it was truly amazing to watch the growth of one of the young people from Bosnia, who fully embraced the project, came out of her shell and performed a knockout piece of poetry during the final showcase. It is those little things that make TCFT so important and worthwhile.

At its core, TCFT is about inclusion, equality, tolerance and understanding, making it a powerful and life-changing experience that overflows with love. If Europe, and indeed the rest of the world, took this into consideration, we would be in a far better state than we are now.

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Photo by Robert Golden and used with permission.

TCFT 2017 will be held in Sarteano, Italy from the 31st March to the 14th April, when we will be focusing on the word 'Complete'.

TCFT is also crowdfunding to raise the remainder of the funds for this year's residency in Bournemouth. The deadline for the crowdfunding project is the 26th August, so please show your support by making a pledge here: http://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/completefreedomoftruth

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