Culture, Heritage and Diversity

 

Lyon - The "Fabuleuses traversées" of the final year pupils at Jean Giono primary school

 

In an effort to find out more about their origins and their present identities, the pupils of a final year class (CM2) at Jean Giono primary school in Lyon put on a show in April 2014, after six months’ preparation in the form of workshops. The show consisted of the projection of pictures and photographs, the reading, recital and singing of texts etc. in what they chose to call "Fabuleuses traversées" (fabulous crossings) – the history of their families and the different stages in their lives.

 

How did this project take form? In Lyon, which is a member of the Intercultural Cities Network, civil society is working very actively to promote "living together" through its associations. For example, La Maison des Passages is conducting a cultural project based on intercultural activities. In the context of its partnerships, the association supports numerous initiatives aimed at fostering shared knowledge, respect for diversity and democratic values. It also intervenes in schools in the form of workshops that are run in co-operation with the teachers, and in which "otherness" is explored through different types of artistic expression. A project was set up at Jean Giono primary school at the request of the headmaster and teachers, who were having to deal with conflicts between pupils. The idea was to create the conditions for pupils’ "reconciliation" with their own history and with that of those who are different.

 

The work carried out in the final class workshop was based on themes such as: objects and their symbolic role; fairy tales and oral transmission; voyages: across the world; the history of my family; France, a country of many cultures; France, a country of many colours; Today’s France; Tomorrow’s France; What does it mean to be French?; My dreams of Tomorrow…

 

In this search for plural identities, the pupils were invited to consider what made them think about not only their own culture but also the culture of others, and this constituted the originality and the value of the project. When all these discoveries had been shared, they led to a show where "everyone mixes, rubs shoulders and invites their classmates to discover and get to know one another better".

 

La Maison des Passages has conducted several other similar activities at Jean Giono primary school: also in 2014, the pupils in the last class but one (CM1) set out to discover countries and poets in an activity entitled "Poèmes … au ciel de la terre" (Poems … in the heaven of earth); in 2013 a CM2 class presented their idea of a shared future in a show entitled "Traversées: nous sommes l’avenir!" (Crossings: we are the future), while a CM1 class expressed its hopes, aspirations and sorrows in a poetic register in a show entitled "Mon cœur bat sans hésiter" (My heart beats freely").

 

Following the different workshops conducted by La Maison des Passages, the educational team at Jean Giono primary school noted a distinct improvement in relations between the pupils. The Association has published booklets on these powerful experiences. If you would like to obtain any of these booklets, please contact:

Maison des Passages

44 rue Saint Georges,

69005 Lyon

+33 (0)4 78 42 19 04

maisondespassages@orange.fr

 www.maisondespassages.org

 

Joëlle Bouteiller