FOCUS GROUP France - ALTER EGO (X)
Dernière mise à jour : 18 juil. 2022
The A.N.T.Y.G.O.N.E. project aims to create 3 tools/work packages to help professionals use theatre practice as a tool to foster social inclusion:
- A Literature Review and Methodological Framework
- A Toolkit
- An Ebook with recommendations for practitioners and comparative analysis
For the launch of the first toolkit, the Literature Review and Methodological Framework, each partner country is organising a focus group with social workers, youth workers, cultural actors and researchers in order to map out what exists in terms of theatre and social inclusion of young people in each national context, and to identify the needs.
On Monday 30 May, the French team, ALTER EGO (X), started online the first focus group of A.N.T.Y.G.O.N.E. with :
Céline Fèvres - Director of the Social and Cultural Development Department of the municipality of Mably (42)
Yağmur Gökduman - PhD researcher at the Laboratoire Clinique Pathologique et Interculturel (LCPI) at the Université de Toulouse II - Jean Jaurès
Jérôme Spick - Quality manager at Théâtre Instant Présent
Claire Rassinoux - Production manager and independent cultural mediator
Claire de Saint Martin - Production manager and independent cultural mediator
Gaétan Homerin - Administration and development manager of Envol - Centre d'arts & transformation sociale, founding association of the Classe Départ network
Thanks again to them for their participation, which was very enriching and allowed us to better understand the issues and the context of the practice in France.
A few lines to summarise our exchange.
We asked the participants about their experience of theatre as a tool to foster the social inclusion of disadvantaged young people,
Theatrical practice with a social aim has a strong relationship with pedagogy and mediation, as the development of the participants is the primary objective of this approach. Stage writing is therefore often preferred: the actions and interactions of the participants during the workshops shape the artistic work and the final production.
However, the artistic exigency must be maintained at the same level of importance, because it enhances the participants without infantilising them. This dialogue between the social and the artistic allows people who are cared for and qualified because of excluding " incapacities " to regain their self-esteem by asserting themselves capable of and responsible for a quality work.
The challenge of theatre as a tool for the social inclusion of young people is to create a benevolent space in which it is possible to explore one's individuality, to move the usual hierarchies, to re-establish dialogue and trust with others, to develop learning capacities and reusable skills.
about the risks and preventive measures they have observed related to this practice,
To essentialise disadvantaged audiences as such, as they are often categorized with this etiquette, which lead to the re-creation of an excluding "entre-soi". The same applies to professional theatres that refuse to broadcast theatre performances with social components, considering them as art therapy or amateur art, and not as art at all.
Using good practice also sometimes means choosing the safety and well-being of participants over the desire for inclusion. Some audiences require social workers to be mobilised for observation in addition to the artistic team in order to be favourably accompanied, while others require non-mixed groups.
The lack of dialogue and/or trust, of communication, between the cultural and social fields, from the ministries to the communities, combines with financial and administrative obstacles. It is by recognising and cobbling together their limitations and capacities that the project leaders will enable the participants to define themselves outside of institutions and to emancipate themselves in society.
and about their thoughts regarding the cooperation between the cultural and social sectors.
Who is responsible for what? The artist is solely responsible for the performance space and the stage work, because his or her gaze is more apt to see all types of bodies and voices as artistic/aesthetic propositions, whereas a social worker is trained to conceive them as constraining characteristics that require his or her assistance.
This does not mean that social workers are unfit to run theatre workshops, or that all artists are fit for work with a social dimension. What is at stake here is more the capacity of cultural professionals to transmit their knowledge to other professions.
There are as many forms of cooperation as there are projects, according to specific needs. The main common rule being: to preserve the participants from power struggles between the different stakeholders. To do this, there is only one solution: to discuss the roles of each party before the project begins, to establish dialogue, trust and flexibility.