“We and the Others” is Group 484’s programme for intercultural education. It focuses mainly on the attitude of citizens towards “others”, establishing contacts between “locals” and “guests”, and fostering intercultural dialogue. We cooperate with schools and cultural institutions, and one of our goals is their mutual networking, as well as networking with civil society organisations, social activists to create cultural and social competences among the youth, as well as to promote the human rights culture and the values of anti-fascism.
Through practice, we explore the activist potentials of art, social sciences, and culture. The methodology of work most often includes: research, design, and development of promotional and educational material, public presentation of the researched, which is always an advocacy action, whether it occurs in public institutions or in open spaces. Our areas of interest in working with the youth and their teachers are: local social history and the history of everyday life, with particular emphasis on community development through migration and encounters of different cultures; then, regional literature, mostly written in the common language of the Yugoslav space; as well as topics of contemporary migration, especially of refuge, life on the road, and integration into a new environment.
Participants in our programmes are educational and cultural workers, schoolchildren, students of social sciences and humanities, asylum seekers. We have intercultural education programmes for all of them, which we have implemented, adapted, and perfected since 2000, when the programme was established as the Club for the Promotion of Civil Society. The programme was later developed under the name of Alphabet of Democracy, and its present name We and the Others is a reflection on the processes of constructing identities and divisions in society.
Today, we offer educational and cultural workers an accredited vocational training programme “We and the Others”, within which we are dealing with strengthening competences for intercultural communication and cooperation. In addition, we are present in schools and cultural institutions through work with schoolchildren, exploring together the intercultural heritage of towns, or addressing the relationship of the youth towards multiethnic communities, through an alternative mapping of towns, free of ethnic divisions. The methodology of working with teachers and schoolchildren has also been noted through our publishing activities, primarily through the handbook for researching local social history We and the Others, the journal for literature at school called Texture and a collection of regional literature for schoolchildren Little Box, all designed in cooperation with the “Halfway” Literary Festival.
In our work, we pay special attention to students of social sciences and humanities – future educational and cultural workers and activists. For them, in cooperation with the Book Factory, we have developed the programme called Humanities in Transition, within which we address the role of education, social sciences and culture in transforming society. In addition, over the years we have developed a programme for students called School on Migration and Interculturalism, in which we review the existing approaches to migration and changes in the concept of citizenship and nationality, fuelled by debates on migrants and refugees.
When it comes to migration, the programme We and the Others is present in various ways at asylum centres and is active in working with migrants. Together with a group of engaged artists, we work with women, men, teenagers; we encourage the integration and participation of citizens and migrants in social activities; we support the education of migrant children in their new environments. Based on this work, documentary exhibitions “The Border is Closed” and “Common Denominator” were created, whose visits to different towns were always accompanied by public debates, film screenings, panel discussions, joint activities of “locals” and “guests” on the streets, on sports fields, in schools, in museums, galleries, and cultural centres.