The construction of the European Union, a unique historical process, has been underway for decades. It is accomplished through agreements between countries, debates in the Parliament in Strasbourg and the Commission in Brussels, but above all it is done through interactions between its citizens and the inhabitants of the different cities that make up the European Union.
In Europe, this interaction involves reflecting on the past and how to use it as a lesson for the present and future. The goal is to turn the tragedies of history into opportunities for building a more open and united society.
This project involves a journey through the memories and urban heritage of six European cities, providing opportunities to meet local citizens of all ages. The city is viewed as an open book, a text to be interpreted based on each society’s relevance, but defining a common goal: to work together to improve our societies, combat discrimination and rejection of others, and transform the city into an effective tool for living together.
We asked a gifted photographer, Lucy Winkelmann, to do a very sensitive work: to connect the faces of people met in different cities during the educational activities of the Beit Project, with urban places and the heritage sites of their environment. Overlaying the being and the place, the citizen and his city, thus representing the triple encounter that takes place during the project: between the place, its history and the current inhabitants.
Through this journey from Marseille to Barcelona, Brussels, Sofia and Athens, these intimate connections between the inhabitants and their urban heritage emerged with force. The last stage of the journey, European Capital of Culture 2023 Timisoara, reinforces an essential aspect – the role of the European Union as a space for peaceful and meaningful encounters between all diversities.
This project would not have been possible without the critical role of project partners in the six cities and beyond: the MAV-PACA in Marseille, the Memorial Democratic in Barcelona, the Wallonia-Brussels Federation, SHALOM the organization of the Jews in Bulgaria, the Motus Terrae association in Athens, the Intercultural Institute of Timisoara, and The Beit Project Asso. Thanks to each of these partners, the project is closely tied to the issues facing local society and has a pluralistic face that is both foreign and familiar.
David Stoleru, founding director of The Beit Project Asso.
The territory is a dynamic entity that responds to its environment, political and economic decisions, and the relationships established with its residents and visitors. The combination of diverse memories and experiences, past and present, paint a
picture of the place’s history and offer insights into its present and future.
The aim of the photographic project was to highlight the social issues addressed by young people in the project by merging portraits and territories. These portraits serve as an allegory, reflecting the history of the residents and their environment.
The focus of my photographic research was interaction: with the six cities participating in the project, with a specific neighborhood, with the history of that place, with the local coordination and facilitation team, and with the participants and the themes they chose to explore. I used this information to créate images that reflect the culture and unique history of each city and demonstrate the connections between them and the current issues facing Europe today.
I would like to express my gratitude to all the partners for their trust in this photographic project, and to all the people I met during my travels who shared a part of themselves to help me depict the social issues affecting our society through images.
Lucy Winkelmann, photographer
Photographs, newspaper graphics, texts of the photographs @Lucy Winkelmann (except as provided)
Marseille was the first city step of this European journey. The participants went to discover the districts of Le Panier and Belsunce. The nomadic school was set up in La Maison de la Provence de la Jeunesse et des Sports (MPJS), located in front of the Halle Puget.
The urban sessions and video editing workshops took place in April 2022 in the host location and the neighborhood. The Final Presentation took place at the Museum of the History of the City of Marseille, on May 5th 2022.
160 young people and their accompanying adults participated in the project from the following educational institutes from the Marseilleveyre institute, the Frayssinet institute, Yavne institute, Thiers institute and Jean-Claude Izzo institute
In the center of Marseille, situated between the city’s oldest neighborhood and a large shopping center, there are a few carved stones and the remains of a wooden boat in the middle of a field of tall grass that sways in the wind. This is the remains of the ancient Port of Marseille, which has since dried up. It evokes the city’s founding myth: King Nanus invited two Phocaeans who had just arrived by boat to the wedding of his daughter, Gyptis. According to local tradition, the princess was to choose her future husband on her wedding day by offering him a cup filled with water during the banquet. To everyone’s surprise, Gyptis did not offer the cup to one of her suitors, but to the Greek (Phocaean) Protis. To celebrate this union, King Nanus then granted Protis and Gyptis permission to found a city, Massalia, which we now know as Marseille.
This story is about how we live in Marseille: we are not simply living side by side, but together, celebrating our differences and the diverse cultures present. I was initially worried that the story of a 2600-year-old multicultural love affair would not resonate with the younger generation. However, at each session, the young people would pause and reflect upon the Ancient Port of Marseille, asking questions and learning about the city’s founding history. Each group would interpret and understand the story from their own perspective. One group stood out to me in particular, asking, «What have we done with the Union between the peoples?» This question echoed the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, reminding us every day that peace is not guaranteed. The story of Gyptis and Protis still holds relevance for the younger generation, as does the creation of the European Union. They ask us adults, «What are you doing to maintain peace?» The tables have turned, and it is no longer us adults who impart knowledge; it is the young people reminding us of our shared humanity.
I wanted to participate in the Beit program to work on breaking down prejudices among young people in a city that unfortunately experiences racism and discrimination. I believed that I was doing something to help these young people see that diversity is a strength and that it would be the Beit team who would pass on this learning. However, by questioning the prejudices of others, I realized that I also have my own prejudices to confront.
Underestimating the power of reflection and openness of young people, who are often seen as apathetic and caught up in their screens, I was proven wrong at each session. The students slashed these prejudices with their curiosity, enthusiasm, and creativity. They were imaginative, playful, and concerned about what was happening both in their own neighborhood and far away. I thought that we were building the Beit, but it is actually the Beit that is building us.
By Chloé Ettori, local coordinator
Marseille is a city of diverse origins, with its current population formed from a succession of migration waves. The legend of Marseille tells the story of a meeting between a Greek sailor, Protis, and a Gaulish princess, Gyptis. Gyptis’ father gave her the territory of Massalia as a wedding gift, which would go on to become the first city of France. This meeting between Greeks and Gauls gave birth to a rich culture, and later, waves of migration from Italy, Armenia, North Africa, Comoros, and others added to Marseille’s richness.
In the area where the Beit project was carried out, several elements reflect this history, including large sculptures at Saint Charles train station depicting «colonies of Greece» and «colonies of the East» on one hand, and «colonies of Asia and Africa» on the other. The latter two are often subject to degradation, raising questions about the appropriateness of celebrating a painful past. Near the port, a plaque tells the story of the city’s creation and its founding myth, highlighting the stories of diversity that are central to European history.
I chose to combine a portrait of a young schoolgirl participating in the project with an image of the port of Marseille: the water and geography of this city define its history from its origins. The writing of the myth of Massilia’s creation is woven into the girl’s hair.
I arrived in Marseille on March 8th, the nationally recognized «International Women’s Rights Day». In Le Panier, Belsunce, and around train stations, there were numerous feminist collages. These temporary messages displayed in public spaces can be seen throughout France, a celebration of women’s appropriation of public spaces, often seen as belonging to men.
When I arrived at the Saint Charles train station, I encountered a young man named Michael handing out free roses to women in the square. I was intrigued and asked him for a portrait and explanation of his actions. He told me it was a personal gesture because he was far from his mother (he’s Swiss) and wanted to do something for «Women’s Day». I corrected him and let him continue, though not without difficulties as he was constantly being harassed by young people hanging out on the stairs who tried to take the roses from him to give to young girls to woo them. Right after this encounter, I saw a poster advertising a walk starting at the Vieux Port for that day. I joined the crowd and was moved by these two very different events that had the same purpose.
This portrait conveys it all, capturing Michael’s approach along with that of the participants in the march.
The day I arrived in Marseille, I went to the bakery to buy a coffee. The bakery was located in front of the oldest house in the city, called the Hôtel de Cabre. Pascal, the owner of the bakery, was well-versed in the history of the house and spent his days sharing it with anyone who stopped by.
In 1943, during the roundup in Marseille, the Germans destroyed most of the streets along the north shore of the Old Port, except for a few historic buildings, including the Hôtel de Cabre. During the rebuilding of the district in 1954, the house was moved a block away and rotated 90 degrees to align with the Grand-Rue. Today, it is located next to one of the buildings constructed in the 1950s, known as the Pouillon building. Pascal also told me that the house had just been purchased by a Parisian for 2 million euros and he hopes that with this new ownership, the building will be well-maintained. He also mentioned that the explanatory panel of the house has been missing for a few years and he believes it’s important to pass on the history of the place.
Pascal’s portrait captures his desire to be a “memory smuggler”.
In November 2018, Marseille witnessed a tragedy that claimed the lives of 8 people: two buildings on Rue d’Aubagne in the Noailles neighborhood collapsed. This incident highlighted the issue of dangerous, inhabited buildings in working-class neighborhoods.
I met Radhia at the old port, where she was selling mint tea and snacks. Although no one was stopping at her stand, I stopped to chat with her. Radhia was born in Algeria, but considers herself French since she was born before independence. She lives in the Noailles district, close to where she was working that day.
Radhia’s portrait represents all the families who live in inadequate and potentially hazardous housing.
Brussels was the second stop on this European journey. The nomadic school was set up in the Halles Saint-Géry, in the Sainte Catherine District. The participants went to discover the district and its historical traces related to World War II and the colonization of Congo. This 2022 project also allowed for a pilot Project to be set up in partnership with the KULeuven Faculty of Architecture.
The urban sessions and video editing workshops took place in April and May 2022 in the host location and the neighborhood. The final presentation took place at Halles Saint-Géry as well, on June 7th 2022.
132 young people and their educators from the following educational institutions took part in the project: Institut Mot-Couvreur, Institut Athénée Royale Koekelberg, Institut Claire-Vivre, Omega, Institut Ma Campagne, Institut Neder-Over-Heembeek and KULeuven Faculty of Architecture.
For the 2022 urban sessions in Brussels, we set up our Beits at the Halles Saint-Géry. The Halles was once a popular covered market for the neighborhood’s residents. Today, it serves as a cultural center, hosting various events throughout the year. These sessions offered young people from all over Brussels the chance to discover a district with a rich and diverse history, shaped by many historical events. They had the opportunity to explore Belgium’s colonial past, the impact of World War II on Brussels, the displacement of poor families during the construction of the city’s wide boulevards in the 19th century, and the victims of police violence. The latter topic proved to be the most memorable for the youngest participants. During their discussions with citizens in the neighborhood, they stumbled upon one of the brothers of a victim. The brother was moved by the encounter and participated in the debates organized in the Beits the next day. This encounter marked the beginning of a shared story, demonstrating once again that these houses serve as open spaces for life and community.
By Camille Vercrysse & Paul-Emile Baudour, local coordinators
In Brussels, the project was centered around the Halles Saint-Géry in the city center.
This portrait highlights two key landmarks in the neighborhood: the «Monument to the Soldier Pigeon,» which commemorates the role of Belgian pigeon fanciers and their carrier pigeons during World War I, depicted as a woman holding a pigeon on her arm; and a tribute to Gabrielle Petit, a Belgian resistance fighter who was shot by the Germans during World War II.
I chose to place the bird, a symbol of peace, as a mask on the face of Fadila, a young Burkinabé woman I met while she was working to find donors for the association 11.11, which is a coalition of French and German-speaking Belgian NGOs and associations involved in international solidarity.
Fadila shared that she had received aid from Belgian associations when she was living in Africa and now contributes to helping others, inspiring me to depict her as a modern-day masked vigilante.
Brussels is famous all over the world for its chocolate, which arrived in Europe in the 18th century (Spain) and in Belgium in the 19th century through the colonization of the Congo. At the beginning of the 20th century, bananas were discovered by the Belgian population. The neighborhood features several reminders of this colonial history, including beautiful frescoes with banana motifs on a building known as the «Banana Building,» old ripening warehouse doors, and the chocolate museum, as well as tourist stores in the city center that sell the famous Brussels chocolate.
I chose to depict this banana pattern as makeup on the face of a saleswoman working in one of these tourist stores, as her story is linked to the history of past exchanges.
This photograph illustrates the diverse mix of cultures, languages, and religions in the Belgian capital. I chose to place a stained glass window of the Virgin Mary (from the Saint Nicholas church) with a veil pattern on the hair on the face of a young, veiled Muslim woman.
This portrait highlights the ongoing issue of religion in society from yesterday to today.
The Association for the Memory of the Shoah was established in Brussels in 2005. One of its main initiatives since 2009 has been the placement of «Paving Stones of Memory».
These memorial paving stones, initiated by German conceptual artist Günter Demnig, number over 65,000 placed throughout Europe. Anyone who wishes can apply to place a paving stone, including families of victims, associations, or municipalities. There are 458 of these stones in Brussels, recently cleaned by young people from the city.
For this portrait, I wanted to pay homage to the painting «Golconde» by Magritte. Magritte’s interpretation shows us how an individual can be absorbed by a group, but if we look closely, we see that they are unique. The Nazis during World War II tried to erase the identities of various groups of people (Jews, Gypsies, Slavs, blacks, homosexuals).
The young participants of the Nomadic School of European Memory have tried in various cities to give these victims individual memory and recognition.
Barcelona was the third stop on this European journey. The nomadic school was set up in an extraordinary heritage site, in the center of the Estació de França, the historical Barcelona train station. A unique opportunity for youth to discover all the traces linked to WWII, Francoism and symbols of exile during dictatorship.
The urban sessions and video editing workshops took place in May and June 2022. The final presentation took place at the Centre Civic Barceloneta, June 15th 2022.
In a heavily gentrified area of Barcelona, TBP brought together 6 different schools which reflected on topics such as: social exclusion, poverty, anti-gypsyism, colonial heritage, Spanish Civil War, fascism and memory of territories.
In a very significant move, the schools would meet every morning at the Estació de França, an emblematic witness of the many displacements of the anti-fascist resistance exiling to safer, albeit rarely, places during the war. Pupils, and many passers-by, were surprised to recognise pictures of that familiar building which kept secret many stories of exiles, loss and separation. Many wondered why these old pictures, that we call “traces”, had to be removed after the project. Many wished they would stay there permanently so as not to forget our past.
Close by, other students would stumble on housing activists chatting with their neighbors on a bench. These students, who joined participatory processes in the neighborhood to save some public spaces as a public park and a civic center, would explain their first-hand experience and help pupils think about the difference between rights and privileges. The debates engaged have been long and the stories heard, though many times troubling, inspired youngsters to open up to strangers’ experiences, as there is so much to be shared.
By Alessia Cominato, local coordinator
With an identity that has been built and enriched over the centuries, Catalonia is proud of its culture, which manifests itself in Barcelona: for example, the flagpole of the Born Centre Cultural, on which the Catalan flag flies, measures exactly 1714 centimetres to recall the year in which the city succumbed to the Bourbon troops, which led to the abolition of Catalan institutions and civil rights.
In the neighbourhood where the project is carried out, there are also many messages in the windows of local residents and a monument «Fountain of the Catalan genius», in addition to countless coats of arms.
This Catalan identity is still a very lively subject in Barcelona today, this portrait shows the pride of this culture through the color, the personification of Catalonia and also the motif of scales, link to the legend of Sant Jordi, symbol taken up again on the architectures of Gaudi.
The traces of this colonial history are ubiquitous in the city: the monument paying homage to Christopher Columbus, portraits of «great explorers», presence of cotton, chocolate, sculptures in the decorations on the facades of buildings… The Casa Amatller, one of the attractions of Barcelona, is a building that was built for the chocolate maker Antoni Amatller, which he wanted as a reference to the architecture of Brussels: a city famous for its chocolate.
This portrait is of Thomas, who comes from Chile and left his country to come and live in Barcelona. The histories of these two countries have been linked since 1520 when Magellan set foot on this territory (the first European explorer). The Hispanic colonization began a few years later.
The Estació de França is where the nomadic school of European memory was established. It has been the scene, throughout history, of great exiles. Jews, gypsies, republicans fled during the civil war and then the Second World War.
This photo shows this movement which is printed from yesterday to today, and shows the current invisible flows.
This photo tells part of the story of the neighbourhood El Forat de la Vergonya, Jardins del Pou de la Figuera located in the centre of Barcelona.
Due to the real estate speculation that many European cities are facing, there were plans to knock down some buildings and build a parking lot. The inhabitants fought to preserve their neighbourhood, to set up a garden and today they are trying to fight against the gentrification that is eating away at their territory. Not long ago, a café opened next to the garden, hiring immigrants in order to offer them a sense of integration into the city. Despite this, the café is exactly what the inhabitants wanted to avoid for the neighbourhood.
This portrait of a young waiter is surrounded by a map of the city to evoke integration and his face blends in with the mosaic of the neighbourhood, which cracks his skin and helps to express the layered ambivalence that this field highlights.
Sofia was the fourth city step of this European journey. The participants went to discover the districts of Serdika, in the city center, where the synagogue commemorates the rescue of the Jewish community and the local resistance to Nazis. The Banya Bachi Mosque and other main catholic edifices are located in this place, as well as an architectural ensemble of three socialist classicism edifices where the former Bulgarian Communist Party had its headquarters.
The urban sessions and video editing workshops took place in September and October 2022. The Final Presentation took place at the House of Cinema, on November 6th.
150 young people and their accompanying adults participated in the project from the following educational institutes from Secondary School 137 Angel Kanchev, Secondary School 200 Otets Paisiy, High School 21 Hristo Botev, 119su, Acad. Michael Arnaudov, High School 19 Elin Pelin, 67 Secondary School Vasil Drumev.
After two incredibly complex and challenging years in isolation during the pande¬mic, the «Nomadic Classroom» has returned in full force to the city of Sofia, more anticipated than ever.
The experience in the fourth edition of the project was certainly different from the others. One could feel the slight change in us all after the shared experience of isolation that marked everyone, especially the students, after long-term online lear¬ning. What we all had in common – the team, the teachers, the students – was a thirst for communication and a heightened sense of concern for one another. We believe that the project helped psychologically and emotionally to all of us, giving us the opportunity to rediscover communication, and in an environment with com¬plete strangers, to restore trust in each other, to feel part of a community and give us back the motivation to strive for development – personally and as a community/public.
It was interesting to observe at the appropriate time and environment the interac¬tion between the children and their peers. At one extreme, conflicts arose much more sharply than at other times, but they were quickly overcome through mutual efforts, especially by themselves – through communication, through the opportunity to express themselves freely, through collective decisions and mutual assistance. At the other extreme, we had entire groups coming into the field prepared to meet others, eager to work together and open to new adventures and acquaintances. It is precisely in these moments that one can very clearly feel the «magic» (as we often say internally in the team) of The Beit Project and the enormous opportunities that the project has and gives to its participants. Namely, an opportunity to develop critical thinking, personal qualities, an opportunity to open the consciousness to a relationship with new people and new worlds – from the past and the present, an opportunity to understand the role of each one of us in the society and as future heirs of our city, remembering and keeping their common past.
We can categorically state that the «Nomadic Classroom» in Sofia has officially become a regular event. The trust built with schools, local partners and institutions contributed to the success of the program in 2022 and placed it in the public, cultural event calendar.
We are proud to share with you the success of the entire team of The Beit Project, who were awarded two very special awards in 2022:
– The Shofar Award for Partnership, presented at Organization of the Jews in Bulgaria Shalom’s annual awards, in recognition of the joint work between the two organizations since 2016. The award was presented before the launch of the fourth edition and was a good motivator for the whole team.
– «Light in the Tunnel» award in the category of educational programs at the annual «Person of the Year» awards organized by the Bulgarian Helsinki Committee, whose mission is to defend the rights of the most vulnerable groups: children, women, di-sadvantaged people, minorities, deprived of freedom. The award was presented in December 2022, after the final of the fourth edition for Sofia, and was a great surprise and a pleasant end to a fruitful year.
The two received awards are an indication of the success of The Beit Project at the local level and a recognition of the hard work of the entire international team. Well done to all of us and we wish for many more successful editions this year as well!
By Nataliya Todorova & Silvia Behar, local coordinators
In front of the building of the President of the Republic of Bulgaria, there are always two guards (who have their own guards) whose change of duty provides a spectacle for tourists.
I chose to make a portrait of one of them for several reasons. The first reason is that many participants chose the guards as a «subject» and focused on the symbols they represented: bravery, security, protection, heritage, etc.
The second reason is that Sofia has a rich and complex history at the crossroads of different cultures and civilizations. Throughout its history, it has had various guardians, including those who currently guard the presidency, as well as a 4th century church housed in a communist-style building.
Tsar Samuel, on the other hand, was a military commander and then a Tsar from 997 to 1014 and is referred to as «The Protector of Bulgarians”.
When I arrived in Sofia, the project was to be carried out with students from two different schools and blind people. Unfortunately, the latter group was not able to participate, but the team on site still made the young people aware of this handicap.
Anita is part of the team and is blind. She shared with the students various aspects of her daily life, such as how to navigate the city, how to write, and how to cope with everyday tasks without sight.
In Banya Square, the group attempted to use their other senses besides sight to experience the city—the sounds of the passersby, the fountain water, the call to prayer from the mosque—to better understand and empathize with the visually impaired or blind.
This photograph captures those moments.
Daniel is a history student living in Sofia who is part of a tour guide agency that provides tours in multiple languages to educate people about the city’s history through its traces. He passes on a memory to a group of people from all over the world to better understand his country and culture.
One of the key stops on the tour is «the Triangle of Tolerances» which encompasses the ancient Serdika complex where the project takes place and includes several Orthodox churches from different time periods (10th and 14th centuries), a mosque, and a synagogue. The mosque, built in 1567, is one of the oldest in Europe, and the synagogue, built in 1905, is one of the largest in Europe.
This portrait illustrates the importance of culture and exchange in better understanding urban space.
The icon is a sacred art form for the Church and is specific to the Orthodox Church as a symbol of the resurrection. It specifically represents the face of a saint, angel, or Christ as a symbol of life after death. Some of the young people involved in this project chose to work with these representations to discuss religion and acceptance of others.
This photo combines the face of a young participant in the project with a veil displayed in a nearby gallery, which is part of an exhibit about tolerance and discrimination, as well as a painted photograph from the work of photographers Lyubomir Sabo and Zuzana Senashiova, ethnologist Katarina Sabova, and artists Sara I. Avni and Ivana Mintalova.
This work showcases traditional Slovak values in a modern and innovative artistic manner.
Athens was the fifth city step of this European adventure. The participants went to discover the district of Thissio close to the Holocaust Memorial. The site is close to the synagogue in Melidoni street where Jews of Athens were trapped and captured by the Germans. Nearly 90 percent of Greek Jews were sent to concentration camps and exterminated.
The urban sessions and video editing workshops took place in November and December 2022. The Final Presentation took place at the Serafio Space, on January 17th.
167 young people and their educators participated in the Project from the following educational institutes from 19th Gymnasium Athens, 2nd Gymnasium of Alimos, Intercultural Gymnaseum – Διαπολιτισμικό Γυμνάσιο Αθηνών Oursoulines institute Ουρσουλίνες (ιδιωτικό ) Γυμνάσιο Λύκειο Papastrateios institute, Paleo Faliro institute 1ο ΓΕΛ Φαλήρου. In addition, hundreds of people were interviewed in the public space by the participants.
While thinking about the experience of being a local coordinator for Athens’ version of The Beit Project, a comparison jumps into my head which might describe the meaningful complexity and the beauty that coexist in this role but also in the project itself.
Being a local coordinator is a role similar to that of a conductor in an orchestra. As a local coordinator, one is tasked with ensuring that each element operates in harmony and performs its designated function at all times. This includes overseeing the comfort and coordination of individual contributors and guiding their efforts towards the creation of a harmonious and enjoyable outcome. In essence, a local coordinator serves as the conductor of the ensemble, leading it towards a melodious performance. To go a step further, as before any show begins, we need a lot of work and preparation and much like in the rehearsal room, there are moments of extreme joy, stress, questioning or moments when things just cannot move on or go wrong. These are the moments when we need to be always inventive in finding ways to make things happen as well as to accept that knowledge as a live ongoing process of experience and trials.
My experience in the Beit Project started to truly flourish when it was time to create the local team. It was at this moment that everything started to make sense: it is a project by, and for, the people and teaches them to live together. Having such an amazing opportunity to coordinate and facilitate this team of coworkers towards an important goal such as embracing inclusive awareness and resisting discrimination through an alternative education method in public space, is in itself a wonderful
experience ! We built the team under the idea of living together as our unique selves and then we wanted to pass the message to schools, students and teachers. The Facilitator’s Team was so devoted and willing to learn and research ways to make the project function, to really facilitate the learning process of students and to bring a smile to their face!
In summary, The Beit project was an amazing journey of laughter, stress, joy, discoveries, support, sharing, learning and many more feelings and stories. A positive humane experience of re-discovering the city, the history , the stories in public space.
All the above along with great partners and people who desire and claim a different society and a different school system that builds experiential learning and gives more opportunities to connect with the environment, co-citizens and help promote joy in the learning process!
In this journey I keep the eyes of people, the equal trust shared between the team and its members, students moments of breakthroughs, with realizations such as “” I feel less scared to ask people”, “ I never expected to be able to do anything, and today instead of doing nothing, I did so much: I built a house, I made a video!”, “We come here for coffee but never actually see and feel this area”, “I wish that school
was like that every day, we learn and have so much fun”.
I believe the project succeeds in creating the experience of living together, sharing and learning. We create this project together with facilitators, partners, teachers, students, and passengers. Thank you for fighting discrimination. Thank you for your trust and support. Special thanks to the generally amazing coordinator Marie Heilman for her constant support and guidance and all the rest of the Beit Team. The combination of a goal, will, decisiveness and good organization, support and trust are the perfect ingredients! Let us all copy and paste this experience many times and remember that being courageous in acting supportively, inclusively can make the difference for creating the society we want.
By Katerina Kataki, local coordinator
Dimitra is one of the facilitators in Athens. The teams in each city accompany the reflections of the young people throughout the project. The team members have diverse backgrounds including film directors, painters, photographers, actors, dancers, and social theater workers. These individuals enable the Young people to reflect on the city and the community, allowing them to learn by becoming actors in their own reflections. They also work on the memory of the places and the current social issues.
For this reason, I chose to use the image of a tree, which is present in all cultures and symbolizes life in constant evolution. It also conveys the idea of planting small seeds of questioning and knowledge among young people that will help them grow in the society they are creating. A nod is made to mythology, as it is a recurring symbol in ancient art. This portrait honors the work of The Beit Project teams.
When I was in Athens, the participants came from a private institute located on the outskirts of the city and a public institute located in the center of Athens. The latter institute serves young immigrants who have recently arrived in Athens and some of whom speak little or no Greek.
This portrait pays homage to the young people who come from Syria, Afghanistan, China, and who have gone through challenging experiences. They must now integrate into a new society.
I chose to mix this portrait with images of abandoned buildings in the city, which are abundant in Athens. Many old houses are not well-maintained due to the lack of resources of both the owners and the government, and the country’s crisis has only made things worse. As a result, many Athenians have moved to the outskirts of the city to find better housing. The city center is a mixture of trendy cafes for tourists, ancient sites, ruined houses, and graffiti.
Katerina is one of the local partners of the project in Athens and a member of an archaeology association. She welcomed the project and allowed the Young people to set up the nomadic school in her location, which is situated in the heart of the ancient site of Kerameikos. When I took her portrait, she explained to me that «being involved in the future of the young generation is a given». She makes the connection between her work and the project by saying that «in archaeology, it’s always a matter of excavating, peeling back the layers of the past, and asking questions, making hypotheses, and working together to understand the social stakes of different times. This is similar to what the young people are doing».
Layers of history that have shaped Athens are superimposed around her portrait: Ancient Greek, Roman, Ottoman, Byzantine, neo-classical, and contemporary periods.
«Things are small remnants of individual and collective history» *. This portrait of an antique dealer represents the connection between humans and their objects.
Photos, paintings, trinkets tell the social history of humans and evoke their memories. In ancient times, objects were used to give meaning to life and death, and are mentioned in many texts, including Pliny the Elder’s Natural History.
During World War II, the Nazis took art and possessions from Jewish families, which was part of a dehumanization process that had been in place since the beginning of the war. These «antiques», sold not far from the Thissio neighborhood, bring to mind the memories of those who once owned them.
This portrait honors all the stories hidden behind these objects.
* Excerpt from the text of the «Les Choses» exhibition at the
Louvre Museum, Paris, 2022
The participants went to discover Liberty Square and Union Square, located near Victory Square, in the city center, where Timișoara was proclaimed in 1989 the first city free of communism in Romania, the starting point of a revolution which liberated the country from the dictatorship of Nicolae Ceaușescu.
The urban sessions and video editing workshops took place in January and February 2023. The Final Presentation took place at the Cinema Victoria, on February 26th.
150 youth and their educators participated in the project from the following educational institutes from Scoala Gimnazială nr 27 Timișoara, Scoala Gimnaziala nr 1 Timișoara, Scoala Gimnaziala Rudolf Walther, Liceul Teoretic William Shakespeare, Liceul Tehnologic de Vest.
The coordination of the Beit Project in Timisoara is an honour. The work has begun many months before anything became visible in our city. Imagining, planning, collecting resources, calling people closer, organising and re-organising dates, places and ideas. Communicating a lot, mostly through frequent “visios”, as Marie, our European coordinator, likes to call them. But nothing could really prepare me for what I would be feeling once the youth encountered us, the Beits, the city, its inhabitants and each other. This work is so rewarding!
To bring together a team of wonderful people who masterfully lead processes of self-discovery, exploration of the city, reflection on what connects us as Timisoara inhabitants and as humans beyond all borders. To learn from and with students, every single day, precious lessons about what it means to be seen and heard, taken seriously, invited to contribute, welcomed with kindness and respect. To discover and overcome my own prejudices. To see how people’s eyes light up when they are given the opportunity to understand that they matter. To feel connected with people in Europe you have never met and never will, just by touching the same objects or by sitting in the same Beits, and to realize that this is also the European dimension of the project. To know that someone has been here before you and someone else will be here after you, to feel connected with past, present and future. All these and much more are constructing the «Nomadic school of European Remembrance» experience for me.
Next time you go outdoors in your city, I encourage each and every one of you to look up and look around, and try to connect with this huge feeling that you belong to this world, and then connect with the huge feeling that we all do.
By Oana Bajka, local coordinator
Anna works as a facilitator and is also an actress and theater manager. In her words, the most important thing for her is to make the invisible visible.
This portrait, merged with fingerprints, was inspired by her words. The fingerprints were created by visitors to Belu-Simion Fainaru’s exhibition «The Void of Silence,» which dealt with the theme of absence.
The other image is a map of the city, which has the shape of an eye. Timisoara, a significant cultural city, offers a variety of shows, exhibitions, and concerts. This image also honors the diversity of cultures.
When I met Marius, a facilitator who works in theater and culture and is also a helicopter pilot, we talked about the importance of movement.
This image highlights that idea with a view of the city from the sky and circular elements related to the city’s geography, reminding us of the interconnected cogs.
Iunia is a facilitator. When we met, she talked about what touched her most about this project: witnessing the moment when Young people realize that they have the power to shape their future and the future of their city. Iunia is also passionate about women’s causes.
This photograph combines three images: Iunia’s portrait, a photograph of the 1989 Revolution that overthrew the communist power, and the cloak of a sculpture in Union Square, called «Supermam,» which honors mothers and women.
This photograph is a tribute to light both literally and figuratively. Timisoara was the first European city to electrify its streets in 1760.
Oana is a partner in the European project and the coordinator in Timisoara. Like all teams in the 6 partner cities of the project, she works to bring light to young people, to shed light on certain points in history, and to awaken them to the society of today and tomorrow.
The filaments between the lights symbolize the connections created by the project: the meetings between young people, teams, urban spaces, and links between the six European cities.
THE BEIT PROJECT : David Stoleru, Marie Heileman, Océane Laboudie, Virginie Manuel, Haider Cano, Lucy Winkelmann
MAVPACA : Julie Danilo,
Fédération Wallonie Bruxelles : Benjamin Van Cutsem,
Tania Kusikumbaku, Samera Rghioui,
Mémorial Democratic : Gemma Simon Muntane and Vicenç Villatoro,
SHALOM, the Organization of the Jews in Bulgaria : Alek Oscar,
Julia Dandolova and Anna Mezan,
Motus Terrae : Spyros Andreopoulos,
Institutul Intercultural Timișoara : Oana Bajka.
Chloé Ettori, Nina Chastel, Florine Cruel, Lorena Puerta Hernandez, Esra Alaca, Mathias Ben Achour, Valentina Viettro, Hara Kaminara
Emmanuelle Motte, Emmanuel Moreau, Olga Riverode, Deborah, Mortali Sabrina, Karima Akacha, Nada Ben Salem, Salsa Amiar, Vincent Hedde, Denis, Agnes Guelle, Fadila Mouisette, Jenny May Ablard, Nadine Lario
MAVPACA, Maison de Provence de Jeunesse et des Sports,
Département des Bouches-du-Rhône, Ville de Marseille,
Mémorial des déportations, Musée d’Histoire de Marseille,
Maison départementale de lutte contre les discriminations
DILCRAH, Région Sud, DPMA,
Ville de Marseille, SNCF
MERCI ! BEDANKT!
Camille Vercruysse, Paul-Emile Baudour, Elise François, Quentin
Huez, Chrisanthi Kasimat, Manon Charlou, Mederic Mondet, Rinant Bergel, Louise Hansenne, Arthur Bourguignon, Loïc Rey
Mister Kerroum, Julie Stevens, Manuel Vantyghem, Veronique Garretta,
Alice Kazantzidis, Rossano Rosi, Martin Pirotte, Christian Michel, Delphine
Dubois, Valérie Lega, Mrs Snaps
Halles Saint-Géry, Bibliothèque Bruegel, Bruxelles ville, Muyira
art et mémoire, le cinéma Palace
Fédération Wallonie Bruxelles, Fondation Rothschild, SNCF
Alessia Cominato, Consuelo Santillán Costantini, Daniela Longobardi,
Emmanuela Bove, Laura Casassas Coromina, Hajar Fawzi Minoun,
Vanessa Roca Forné, Denisse Dahuabe, Vanessa Roca Forné,
Joan Carles Berrocal, Núria Viladepla, Sergi López, Elisenda
Balcells, Dan Guillamón, Roger Guerrero, Pablo Moro, Maria José Guzmán Roa, Fatima Woodward, Gemma Ventura Mustiens
Memorial Democràtic, Adif Estación Abierta, Centre Cívic
Barceloneta ,Associació Joves Gitanos de Gràcia,
Consorci d’educació deBarcelona (Marta Ponti)
European Union, Fondation Rothschild, SNCF
Natalia Todorova, Silvia Behar, Stela Hristova – Sachi, Ina Balli, Iren
Levi, Ivelina Panicharova, Gergana Ivanova, Ivaylo Evtimov, Anita Nakova, Victor Troyanov,
Maya Kochiyasheva, Valentin Hristov, Victoria Yankova, Irina Filipova,
Angelina Atanasova-PetrovaEvgenia Gergova, Neli Petrova
SHALOM the Organization of the Jews in Bulgaria,
Regional History Museum Sofia, House of cinema
Municipality of Sofia,
Katerina Kataki, Penny Eleftheriadou, Vasilis Klisiaris, Stelios Gavriilidis,
Dimitra Dermitzaki, Ira Spagadorou, Eleni Papaioannou,
Gerasimos Georgatos, Κατσαραγάκης Ιωσήφ, Μητσάκη Αγγελική,
Δάφνη Γαβρίλη, Λυράκη Μαρία, Ελένη Κάργατζη, Φωτεινή Μαρκάκη,
Σεβαστή Μαύρου, Ευτυχία Κάβουρα, Διονύσης Τζώρος & Γεώργιος Δαμίγος, Μπιτάκου Μαρία
Motus Terrae, Association of Greek Archaelogists,
Serafeio Athletic & Community Complex,
The Jewish community of Athens
Fondation Rothschild, SNCF
ΣΑΣ ΕΥΧΑΡΙΣΤΩ MULȚUMIRI
Oana Bajka, Corina Raceanu, Timea Ciora, Adrian Jivan, Marius
Lupoian, Iunia Pașca, Oana Suvăială, Ana-Maria Ursu, Edina Meca,
Leucuța Rafael Bogdan, Marius Cimpoae, Angela Sandu, Crina Fibișan, Alina Păuna, Mihaela Luminita Kiss, Anca Radu Basarab, Adina Nasta,
Natalia Ocneanu, Ana-Maria Bublyak, Marian Alin Liuba, Janeta Iuga, Claudiu Crepcea, Adina Muntean, Mariana Lengher, Georgeta Horelu, Bianca Similie, Matei Bobi Ionuț
Intercultural institututul Timișoara, Centrul de Proiecte Timișoara,
De-a Arhitectura, Cinema de Victoria, Facultatea de Arte și Design,
Universitatea de Vest,
Finanta de Municipiul Timisoara prin Centrul de Projecte
Fondation Rothschild, SNCF
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