Participative documentary workshops with inmates, Ministry of Education

Caravan project creates a Digital Map of Metaxourgeio with its residents

The main difficulty working with communities is to find ways for the projects to emerge from a process and evolve from within communities and with people rather than for or about them. At the same time managing to gain the support of the residents other active groups in the neighborhood and convince them that the project implemented is actually for the benefit of the community. We have worked with 60 residents of the Metaxourgeio in Athens  collaborating with schools with active groups and institutions of the area and finally creating a digital/ Storymap with 12 stories from Metaxourgeio- Keramikos. Τhe neighborhoods that our initiative is focusing on are neighborhoods under a constant transformation from poor small industrial areas in the past to gentrified urban areas in the present. The problem still for urban planners architects activists and researchers is still the same: how to create ground for cultural exchange how to strengthen the bond between different members of the community/ neighborhood how to enhance the quality of the inhabitants? In our days new inhabitants are settling in the neighborhood (Greek, immigrants, Europeans, Refugees) houses are renovated in order to address the rapid demand for housing and tourism. Together with the participants  through discussions and field research we first mapped the actions that will meet the criteria we have set: positivity heterogeneity and integration. In addition through documentary workshops the participating locals  received a basic cinematic education and will become familiar with the tools and syntax of audiovisual language. They had the opportunity to get familiar with the processes of researching managing organizing analyzing evaluating and understanding the overlapping components of a creative project. Project participants were able to create documentary videos with the media available to all such as their smartphone and they highlighted actions that interest them adopting a creative way of self-expression. The workshops will work also as a way to engage the local community and incorporate it more actively to the project. The whole creative process of the team in Caravan Project is based on a co-creation strategy. ‘Collaborative’ and ‘collective’ imply a shared vision and implementation process rather than focus on the ability of the most empowered people in the room to implement their own agenda. Our practise focuses on things like process rather than simply final privileged product What is important for us Is the constant evaluation of the process which is based on a formed but not rigid methodology. Our experience in the past working in difficult neighborhoods or with marginalized communities (Metaxourgeio, Roma, Prisons, Refugees) taught us that after a rigorous research on the community on the topic we form our methodology and practices adjusting every time differently to the needs of each community learning from them often improvising or create different dynamics on the project if necessary. So the ingredients of our collaboration are: trust in each other’s abilities research incorporating constantly members of the community we are working with flexibility practicality improvisation and realistic objectives.