Background and Overview
Everybody’s Song was an international youth project in Bulgaria, Cyprus, FYR Macedonia, Greece and Serbia which lasted from December 2006 until August 2008. The project was conceived by Future Worlds Center leonardo scholar Reinhard Eckert under the idea that music can be a powerful tool for intercultural understanding and peace. Music allows people to communicate and share emotions even when they don’t speak the same language. It can unite people or divide them. All over the world there are songs spreading messages of peace, humanity and solidarity. But everywhere one will also find songs with nationalistic, militaristic, racist, sexist or other discriminatory contents. The project was implemented and coordinated by Future Worlds Center (CNTI). The people who participate in the projects came from more than 20 countries: Albania, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, France, FYR Macedonia, Greece, Hungary, India, Italy, Montenegro, Romania, Russia, Slovenia, Serbia, Slovakia, South Korea, Spain, Turkey and the UK. The project was affiliated to the European Youth Campaign for Diversity, Human Rights and Participation "All Different All Equal" (2006–2007), and to the European Year for Intercultural Dialogue, 2008.
The project used a participatory approach related to both the working and the evaluation methods. The three angles of the project were: education/training, arts/creativity and technology. The training methodology was multidimensional, interactive and creative. It was based on a constructivist, learner-centred approach addressing not only cognitive but also emotional and social dimensions. Art, especially music, was the element which made this intercultural learning project specific compared to others. Technology played a significant role for the facilitation of the communication between the partners and for the documentation of the project on the DVD and website.
Aims and Objectives
The general aim was to reflect on the role of music in intercultural understanding and to identify ways to utilise it in youth work.
The objectives were:
- to raise awareness about cultural diversity
- to train youth organisations and musicians in cultural diversity and project development
- to establish partnerships between youth NGOs and musicians
- to attract new target groups to youth work and the arts
- to facilitate cross border cooperation between five different countries
- to promote and increase the visibility of the Youth in Action programme in South East Europe
By exploring shared and diverse cultural heritage in the region, the project wanted to scrutinise simplistic constructs of ethnic or national identity and culture. The aim was to contrast nationalistic or exclusively folkloristic approaches with “ethnic” music. Realising that those who used to be regarded or treated as “the others”, “the foreigners” or even “the enemies” sing the same songs but in their language or listen to the same melodies but in a different style can be irritating. It can be either shocking or relieving because hidden aspects of one’s own identity suddenly appear on the surface. People might react with anger or aggression as it was the case in the documentary “Whose is this song?”, the award-winning film by Adela Peeva of Bulgaria, which was one of the main inspirations for this project. But such a reaction is not the only one possible. In advantageous conditions, it might also end with enjoying the common language of music and the shared heritage of tunes in a joyful atmosphere where for example one verse is sung in Greek and the second one in Turkish. Therefore another aim of our project was to explore ways in which such advantageous conditions for intercultural dialogue can be created in youth work with diverse groups. Finally, musicians can reach out to an audience which is much bigger than the one usually attracted by civic organisations. The cooperation with musicians added new creative elements to the work of the youth NGOs involved and helped to increase their visibility and popularity.
- International seminars in Cyprus and FYR Macedonia
- Community development activities and intercultural festival in Bulgaria
- Cyprus bi-communal concert in Cyprus
- Everybody is dancing Struga, FYR Macedonia
- First SEE Mini Jamboree Thessaloniki, Greece
- Sixth International Art Camp Kosjerić, Serbia
- New arrangements for ethno songs
- Film screenings and panel discussions in Cyprus, FYR Macedonia and Greece
- Multimedia website in seven languages: Albanian, Bulgarian, English, Greek, (Slavic) Macedonian, Serbian and Turkish
- Multimedia DVD
- Documentation booklet
- Raise awareness about shared cultural heritage in South East Europe
- Improve cooperation between youth organisations and artists (musicians)
- Increase visibility of the participating youth organisations and the Youth in Action Programme
- A set of elaborated tools and well documented good practice examples using music as a tool in intercultural understanding and youth work for the promotion of diversity, tolerance and non-violent conflict transformation; this set is mainly aimed at youth workers, NGOs, music and arts teachers and musicians working with young people. It will be accessible in 3 ways:
- on an interactive website (partly available in seven different languages) including a download section
- on a Multimedia DVD including audio- and video-files
- in a booklet summarising the project results
Sponsors and partners
The two main financers of the project were the Youth programme of the European Commission and the European Cultural Foundation. Significant financial contributions came from CNTI, CPDD, CYC, ESYN, WCIF, YFE and the K-Town Group, (Serbia). Local activities were supported by the Municipalities of Nicosia, Kosjerić and Sofia, by Eurofootball (Bulgaria), the Goethe-Zentrum Nicosia and others. The partners of the project are: