SZENO-FORUM. Participatory research-action process.
On August 20 we lived in NAVALAFUENTE an inclusive and participative experience. After 2 years of work and travel between Vienna and Madrid, Theater for Inclusion takes another step towards an INCLUSIVE CULTURE in the Sierra Norte of Madrid, and we would like to express our deepest gratitude for this writing.
SZENO-FORUM: Voces Excluidas / Excluded voices
Voix esclue / Voci excluse / أصوات مستبعدة
Głosów wykluczonych / Ausgeschlossene Stimmen
Navalafuente celebrates diversity and citizen participation
Thanks to the more than 100 people who came and stayed to watch theater in the square. We can celebrate the diversity with which we met and enriched us:
- Diversity of age, from small to old
- Linguistic diversity: German, Dutch, Romanian, Spanish, Ukrainian, Chinese, Argentine, ...
- Diversity of life environments, education and experiences.
- Most of us lived in Navalafuente, but also people came from Madrid and other towns.
In Navalafuente, the number of children who were present and in connection with the work has been especially gratifying.
Thanks to the work's previous experience (Phase I - Vienna 2016, Phase II - Madrid 2017, Phase III - Vienna 2017) we know that this is an open and accessible work for everyone. However, we also observed in the previous phases of the project that the children who had been present at the work, did not participate or participate very briefly in the subsequent forum. What was happening? Why were they not interested in participating? What was their barrier?
Supports and adaptations to listen to all Voices
From the recognition of our diversity, Theater for Inclusion proposes to find the common among people, and from there to open the dialogue in the forum, for all people.
What united us in Navalafuente? We were aware of:
- Everyone has voice. We can use it to express ourselves.
- Everyone has emotions, although sometimes it is difficult to express them.
- Everyone wants to "be part" and live with others, but we all have barriers that prevent us from accessing, participating, and learning with / from other people.
Specifically in Navalafuente, our team focused on listening to the voices that are not usually heard, or those who prefer not to use their voice because of embarrassment, fear or lack of understanding.
As every time we perform, we support with Spanish Sign Language and with pictograms, to make visible the importance of other communication systems and to facilitate visual access in the forum-dialogue. In addition, this time we managed to adapt our oral language so that children, and other people with diverse language skills, also felt included and could participate if they wanted.
And what a beautiful experience it was to listen to their voices, and see in their action, the alternatives of change that they proposed to us!!
Make visible personal barriers to transform them collectively
The play "Excluded Voices" asks us a question: Wich are the barriers that you/ we have to participate and feel part of something? And actually, in wich situations do we experience them?
Each person can see his/her own barriers in the play, then, the first step was to make them visible to everybody. Afterwards, we opened the community dialogue. The participation in Navalafuente was very high.
Many voices expressed that fears did not allow us to change these situations of integration, communication, participation or respect for one's identity and diversity. We counted on five brave people who showed us how to face them: from a girl around 5 years old who overcame the shame barrier flying, to a man of about 60 who faced his own fears with a delicate dance.
What steps can we take to move towards social inclusion in our community?
After each intervention, we asked ourselves again: what is the alternative that was proposed? and, how does it allow us to transform or overcome our barriers?
The most important thing we all connected in Navalafuente was that, in almost every alternative, we are not alone, we can ask and accept help from others to overcome our barriers.
A successful participation at all levels
The play "Excluded Voices" is only completed with the participation of the people. The whole team from Theater for Inclusion greatly appreciates this participation at all levels: the people who met there, those who spoke, those who acted, those who created, those who facilitated, etc.
Thanks to all the voices (inner voices, wisper voices, shouting voices, body talk...) we could feel the diversity in Navalafuente!!!
We share here some Participating Voices, which told us not only the personal impact that day, but the reflections in later days:
"I had my reluctance, but the play hooked my son and me too."
"Surprising the quantity and diversity of people from the town itself."
"Congratulations! I did not expect there to be so much participation."
"I take with me the depth of the human being, joy and openness."
"My son has been talking about the play for two days."
"A great lesson on how to overcome fears and difficulties."
"Great team work."
"Thanks for the enthusiasm, the work and the courage invested in your play in Navalafuente."
"Bravo for the way you implicated the public."
"Participating as a spectator in the work is not something that you have to be afraid of, it's fun and you learn differently.
Thanks for making me part of it. "
For all of this, and for the support and affection we have received, THANK YOU NAVALAFUENTE!!
We want to bring the VOICES back to the square, help us spread the word and find new places to listen to the Voices of Sierra Norte!
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