Photo: Karsten Bungaard Fotografisk atelier
For five months in 2010 groups of young people from respectively Copenhagen, Drammen and Malmö have worked with material for a performance with the theme happiness. In December the 60 participants gathered on the scene of the Royal Library in Copenhagen.
By Annu Kevarinmäki
Copenhagen – Drammen – Malmö – Are You With Us? is a culture and integration project for youths between the ages of 16 and 18 from Denmark, Norway and Sweden. Half of the participants are natives, while the other half has recently arrived in the Nordic countries.
The groups from each city have through music, dance and other creative expressions, and with guidance from pedagogues, worked with their stories towards a music-dramatic performance. During a six day workshop in Malmö all the groups gathered their contributions together in a final performance that consisted of music, dance, stories, poetry, dialogue, speech and video.
“All the participants had unique stories to tell, but they also had common stories. You have to be very careful from the beginning to create an atmosphere where this very diverse group of young people can feel comfortable. You don’t do that overnight. It takes a lot of work, and that is also why we are doing this,” says Henrik Melius, a project leader from Spiritus Mundi.
Each city dealt with the recruiting in their own individual way. In Copenhagen the Nørrebro ResourceCenter wanted to reach the young people in an economical or social risk group. In Malmö the project worked with unaccompanied asylum-seeking children, and in Drammen a local school recruited students for the project.
“When you have managed to get through the workshops, for example the identity and the teambuilding workshops that we held, and when you see the creative, common processes developing, and when you see the final result on the scene in the end, you know that… well, it is unspeakably valuable. First of all for the young participants, for them to be able to see this and take the scene”, Melius stresses.
Are You With Us? was the first time that Spiritus Mundi has realized a project on a Nordic scale. Now that the contacts are in place, Melius is convinced that the co-operation around the project will continue.
“I think you could say that it is a necessity to work like this. We would like to see this happening at least once a year.”
The project is produced by Spiritus Mundi (Malmö, Sweden), Cultures (Copenhagen, Denmark) and Drammen community – Interkultur (Drammen, Norway).
The project has received funding through the Module for production-based activities.