How can communities benefit from their own cultural diversity? The answer is our following project ‘Tour of arriving’: Beginning in 2017 a lot of special projects in seven communities have been created: Mayors, local associations, voluntary refugee carers and immigrants worked in the areas of culture, education and art together. Beside those community specific projects, the project bearer developed an annual program to support exchange and networking.
School workshops, theatres, information tours concerning profession and education, discussion tables about immigration, regional effects of the EU or about tourism is just a small cutout of the created result.
In summary this project
- brought different cultures together,
- rejected prejudices,
- developed perspectives for all people living in our area,
- created a positive way of thinking about cultural diversity.
Presentation of the project
Tour of arriving
Nowadays almost every community is confronted with the challenge of how to support immigrants in general and in the next step how to benefit from their own cultural diversity.
This project started in 2017 for 7 communities of the Salzburger Saalachtal in Austria. Shortly after the start the refugee crisis came up. This was the reason why this project became even a lot more important than planned at the beginning and all the volunteers played a big role in supporting the communities to handle this problematic situation.
But how did this support look like?
On the one hand a lot of special community projects in the areas of culture, education and art were created. Within those projects mayors, local associations, voluntary refugee carers and immigrants worked together. In summary over 2.500 people met, discussed and experienced diversity in a positive way. Examples for those kinds of projects are:
- workshops with schools, topics were racialism, extremism, radicalization and prejudices of immigrants
- school exhibition and workshops about Anne Frank with 1.500 students
- information tour about education and profession
- discussion tables about immigration, tourism, etc.
- discussions between politics and citizens about EU and its regional effects
- networking between immigrants and citizens who have been new to the community a few years ago according to the motto ‘my way to this region’
- intercultural painting and theatre workshops
On the other hand, an annual program was developed by the project bearer to support exchange and networking between all participants. For example:
- there was an annual presentation of all projects and results (theatre performance, painting exhibition, etc.)
- a film was created by a journalist from Syria together with a local filmmaker about all initiatives in 2017
As a summary this was the right project about the right topic in the right place at the right time. The planned objects were outperformed by the positive effects of this project:
- reunion of different cultures
- support of local communities during the refugee crisis
- reduction of prejudices, social anxiety and worries
- perspectives for all people living in our region
- a positive way of thinking about cultural diversity throughout all areas (mayors, citizens, regional managers, locals, immigrants, volunteers, etc.)
Emblematic character of the project
Regarding our LEADER strategy this project fulfilled our aim ‘common good’ and was an important topic to our action plan : it aimed the integration of people and developed actions to support the community. Especially equal opportunity and the reduction of interhuman barriers have contributed to the success of this project.
The innovative aspects of this project were :
- the involvement, the networking and the development were implemented in a dynamic and flexible model
- communities, organizations, associations and locals were involved and all participants were able to present their ideas, interests and support
- immigrants were directly asked about their educational and cultural interests
- networking meetings established an intercultural platform for regional development
Remains to mention that this project and its concept was already established in one other LAG (Pongau, Salzburg).
Saalachtal, Salzburg, Austria