Drobečková navigace: HomeNews > Cultures from Around the Block

Cultures from Around the Block

13 May 2008

Project "Culture Block" was organized by Multicultural Center Prague as a part of European Year of Multicultural Dialogue 2008. Its aim was to rediscover and thoroughly understand the principles and character of local communities present today within large European cities.

Each partner organization from various parts of Europe created local media projects with the participation of students from two different high schools. The students´ goal was to examine and capture the image of their surroundings using chosen media, which could be photography, sound, written word or film. Thus, the students were expected to get to know both the place they live in and the world around them better while developing a deeper insight and broader outlook.

The projects of participating organizations created a territory for the exchange of information about diverse groups that are currently present in Europe. This contributes to mutual understanding among various cultures, which is the leading idea of European Year of Multicultural Dialogue 2008.
"Culture Block" included a wide spectrum of creative activities, e.g. documentary film shooting, creating a web site informing people about the process of local integration and finally, presenting the results arising from the local projects. Project Culture Block was supported by non-profit organizations from Prague, Offenbach, Bucurest, Bratislava, Warsaw, Brussels and Vienna.

Methods that were used in the project were based on the fact that the sense of collective activity and the joy arising from products of such activities help the young people to overcome prejudice and social barriers. This enables interpersonal interaction and communication that break the stereotypes and wall built by their own cultures.

The final works of art were presented to the wider public in various cities and lastly at the Dialogue of Cultures festival 2008.

The Project activities include
  • Local media projects in Bratislava, Brussels, Bucharest, Coventry , Offenbach, Prague and Warsaw.
  • Creation of a website about local integration (http://www.europeancity.cz/). Making use of the media items from local workshops and providing additional background information, users are offered a vivid picture of European cultural diversity by strolling virtually through diverse European neighbourhoods.
  • Production of the documentary film "Your Street. My Street" with direct involvement of students from local media projects. 
  • Presentation of the project results in the Festival "Dialogue of Cultures".
  • Public presentation of project results in Brussels. 
  • The active encouragement of cross-country partnerships between all actors involved.

Project's partners 

Local projects

The project “Cultures from Around the Block” aimed to bring together young people from different ethnic groups living in the same city and, through workshops where they will document their surrounding with various media, facilitate intercultural dialogue with an aim to build long-lasting ties between those in different communities. There were seven local projects across Europe in Offenbach, Bratislava, Brussels, Bucharest, Coventry, Prague and Warsaw.


Children selected from a school in an ethnically diverse part of town, working with those from a youth group in a different part of the city made a series of short documentary films under the guidance of the Brussels Centre for Intercultural Action. Upon choosing the films thematic focus the children were trained by professional journalists and technical specialists, and attempted to create professional final results which may later be used on Belgian television.

Czech Republic

Together About Ourselves – the local media project of Multicultural Center Prague
In Prague, representing the Czech Republic, was chosen as the main medium classic black and white photography. There were two groups that participated in the project that lasted from February to June 2008. The first group consisted of pupils from the Secondary School Havlickovo Namesti located in Prague´s district Zizkov known for its significant size of Roma community living there. The second secondary school was based in Modrany, one of the biggest housing estates of Prague.

Under the expert guidance during the workshops they learnt not only how to handle black and white photography, its technique and composition as well as possibilities that this traditional medium brings along. But the black and white photography was also perceived as an important medium in the processes of mutual communication and self-expression. The aim of the workshops was to give children an interesting new skill and means to introduce the world to people outside their community and to establish contact with them.

The workshops – as the vital part of our project – took place at the schools under the leadership of David Kummermann, Simon Chang and Karel Tuma, professional and experienced photographers. Every other week, the kids gathered and met up with the photographers. During their lessons they discussed their own photographs, problems that emerged in the process of taking the photographs and their further ideas where to aim the attention. In the meantime, the kids worked on their „homeworks“ that consisted of such tasks like taking a self-portrait, trying to capture the typical situation in their homes and among friends groups.

The resulting photographs coming from the workshops are shown to broad public through the exhibition called „Together About Ourselves“ that is taking place in Prague – railway station Masarykovo nádraží from October 7th to November 5th 2008. The exhibition will move in November to the DDM in Prague 3 – ULITA and in December to the Community centre ANGEL in Prague 12.


Interaction between different groups is even more challenging when faced with language difficulties, but Rejs e.V. (Plotki) hope that artistic means can help overcome these problems and facilitate intercultural dialogue. This summer a group of refugee teenagers in Offenbach, met their middle-class German peers for a week long intensive photography workshop. The tangible output of the workshop was a series of screen printed designs, put onto t-shirts and bags which can be worn as well as displayed in exhibitions.

Great Britain

Coventry is a diverse city, and children with migratory backgrounds mixed with children of second or third generation migrants as they photographed symbols of culture in the local neighbourhoods. Sessions on the meaning of intercultural dialogue as well as photographic techniques did allow the children to explore both cultural concepts as well as their artistic sides. The results of the work were shown in the schools as well as at a local carnival in the summer.


At the end of the intensive film workshop, a group of ethnic Vietnamese and ‘white’ Polish children have produced their own film, set in the Praga district of Warsaw. Fundacja Nowa Ameryka selected children from different ethnicities and started them working together in groups. These young people acted as directors, camera operators and protagonists as they created a series of short films which were cut by a professional editor under their guidance to produce the final film. The film will be premiered in the Vietnamese Cultural Centre before moving on to be shown elsewhere in the city and abroad.


Utilising either the medium of sound-scaping or photography in three different schools, the Bucharest part of the project took children from the Roma community along with ‘ethnic Romanians’ and over a period of many months introduced them to the different methods of documentation as well as to each other. The different schools and media will come together for common exhibition in the local communities and city center in the autumn.


Children from the Panenská neighbourhood in Bratislava did not only enjoy inter-cultural but also inter-generational dialogue as they delve into the past of their neighbourhood. Throughout the year they started to develop a portfolio about different aspects of their city, made up of a collection of aural testimonies as well as photographic and material evidence. The results of these investigations facilitated by Milan Šimečka Foundation will be displayed during a neighbourhood barbeque, scheduled for the end of summer as well as in local cafes.

The project "Cultures from Around the Block" was realised from January 1st, 2008 till December 31st, 2008 with support by the European Union within the European Year of Intercultural Dialogue.

Project co-ordinators:
Lada Vyhnánková, project co-ordinator
phone/fax: +420 296 325 347 
e-mail: education@mkc.cz

Anna Činčerová, co-ordinator of czech activities
e-mail: antidiskriminace@mkc.cz

Ondřej Daniel, redactor of www.europeancity.cz
e-mail: europeancity@mkc.cz