A European “network of cities” aiming at integration and dialogue: Townlab_MEET Project starts
Inclusion, participation and comparison: these are the three common denominators of the international event that will be held from 24 to 26 October at the Meeting Centre for Cultures in Chiesanuova, the first in a tour of travelling meetings in France, Germany, Slovenia, Serbia and Bulgaria.
A three-day event full of events for promotion of democratic engagement and civic participation of European citizens, fostering of inter-cultural dialogue and mutual understanding and struggle against stigmatisation of migrants and minority groups, these are the priorities of the “Networks of Cities” of the Europe for Citizens Programme.
After the press conference on Wednesday 24 October and the presentation of Townlab_MEET, on Thursday 25 October, a seminar and participatory project workshop will be held with working tables, aimed at sharing proposals and opportunities on the theme of social integration, law and hospitality. The event will end on Friday, October 26, with the educational workshop of creative thinking with “citizens of tomorrow” – the protagonists of primary schools of Valle Sacra area, Marnaz and Quincinetto.
The very promoter of the model of widespread reception for over fifteen years, i.e. the municipality of Chiesanuova is the leader of the Townlab_MEET initiative, which is a project joined by the cities, universities and non-governmental organizations from six different European countries: the municipalities of Quincinetto, Marnaz (France), Novo Mesto (Slovenia), Subotica (Serbia) and Kostinbrod (Bulgaria), the University of Turin, the University of Speyer (Germany) and the non-governmental organisation LDA Subotica (Serbia).
The Townlab_MEET work programme will run from 2018 to 2020 and will be characterised by an interdisciplinary approach, the exchange of good practices, the application of participatory methodologies and the use of unconventional languages. Public events and international meetings will alternate with a focus on legal and legislative research, musical performances, community social theatre performances, storytelling and brainstorming activities and guided tours in reception and training centres.
And in the era of web 2.0 and digital technology, the communication on “socials” cannot be omitted (news and updates will be available on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and You Tube), as well as the experimentation of the electronic platform of participatory democracy “Livinglab”, useful to facilitate the dialogue of public & private subjects and of citizens by means of creation of a community that can interact within an ad hoc created discussion forum.
This innovative and articulated journey which will culminate with the participative drafting and signing of the “Townlab_MEET position paper”, – i.e. of the document of intent containing proposals, guidelines and good practices on integration and struggle against the stigmatization of immigrants, which will be a preparatory paper for signing of agreements between local administrations, universities and NGOs and for continuation of economic, cultural and social relations at the end of the project.