‘Our future looks the same’

‘Our future looks the same’

28 November 2022 Andrea de la Cruz 2240 views

Question! Encounter! Play! is an inclusive arts project that aims to bring together young asylum seekers in Switzerland and young people from Europe.

From 9 to 16 of October participants with and without experiences as refugees, lived and worked together close to the Goetheanum. Guided by members and co-workers of the Youth Section, the participants created a theatre play that considered their biographical journeys. Parts of the script and music, the stage and costume design were developed out of the weaving of talents and collective initiative.

In 2021 the first project was realized in collaboration with Movetia, the Anthroposophical Society in Switzerland’s Initativforum für Geflüchtete, the Friends of Waldorf Education and Caritas’ Degenbalm Centre for Asylum Seekers (CH). In 2022, the Youth Section also teamed up with The Necessary Teacher Training College (Denmark) and Monte Azul Community Association (Germany/Brazil). This year’s cohort was made up of 24 people aged 17-30. Participants came from twelve countries in Asia, Australia, Europe, South America, North America, and the Middle East.

Living in between

During the preparation months, the team of facilitators worked on post-pandemic questions. The recognition of life unfolding at thresholds or ‘between worlds’ as a result of living ‘before and after moments’ appeared as a central theme. ‘What (or who) guides us in these moments?’ became a leading question for the process.

The exploration of the complexity of biographies, our digital global societies, the nature of relationships to oneself, others and the spiritual world, inspired in the team a process of imagination, in which we tried to develop respect for the uncertainty and delicacy of human life — and a draft playscript.

In the last weeks before the participants’ arrival, during Michaelmas, members of the team also worked with Steiner’s indications for a possible Michael Festival in the future. The question as to how we practise recognition of the dignity intrinsic to each individual, regardless of race, ethnicity, nationality or cultural belonging, carried them through the process.

Without prejudice, without pity

The week’s work unfolded in artistic and biographical sessions. Participants were guided through the process of grasping what brought them to the present moment. ‘Our biographies are completely different, but our future looks the same – it is unknown,’ said a participant from Argentina after the biography work with a peer from Afghanistan. In the creative workshops, participants worked together towards the shaping of a common future (the final performance) out of their enthusiasm and commitment to the project.

On 15 October, just six days after the participants got to know each other for the first time, the Goetheanum community attended their ‘work in progress’ performance at the Felsli [Swiss German for ‘little rock’ – a rocky area on the Goetheanum Campus. Translator’s note].

An audience member attending the performance said, ‘It was very inspiring to see that in only one week, one could feel the deep connections that participants had made with each other, without prejudice, without pity. It looked like a meeting to build from, where language differences, abilities and special needs were included. From this encounter, a special friendship is born, based on knowing that the other is there. They are not superficial encounters; this project truly weaves people together.’ The project is expected to take place again in 2023.

A documentary of this year’s process will appear on the Youth Section’s website. For the time being, a report and video of the project in 2021 can be seen there.

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