The Intercultural city aims at building its policies and identity on the explicit acknowledgement that diversity can be a resource for the development of the society.

The first step is the adoption (and implementation) of strategies that facilitate positive intercultural encounters and exchanges, and promote equal and active participation of residents and communities in the development of the city, thus responding to the needs of a diverse population. The Intercultural integration policy model is based on extensive research evidence, on a range of international legal instruments, and on the collective input of the cities member of the Intercultural Cities programme that share their good practice examples on how to better manage diversity, address possible conflicts, and benefit from the diversity advantage.

This section offers examples of intercultural approaches that facilitate the development and implementation of intercultural strategies.

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Cuisine ta ville and other projects promoting positive intercultural interaction

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“Cuisine ta ville” (City cooking) is an art and citizenship festival that aims to promote better understanding of the migrants who have made the social fabric of Montreal, from the past to the present.  In 2019, the festival offered a multidisciplinary experience as a means of getting to know refugees and migrants from all generations.  The event addressed the issue of migration from the angle of the various stages in life.

The scenography for the event involved a set of 10 tents that evoked both refugee camps and Montreal’s urban visual identity (as with winter car shelters), where one-to-one meeting places were provided for getting to know other people better.  The programme was divided into three sections, comprising performances and works by migrants or individuals addressing migration issues, a series of talks and testimonials and cookery workshops in which migrants cooked Montreal-style home-made soups in front of the public, while talking and sharing their experiences.  Given the success of the project, “Cuisine ton quartier” (Neighbourhood cooking) is to be held as the local, small-scale version of “Cuisine ta Ville” in eight neighbourhoods where over 62% of newcomers live.  Assessment will take the form of testimonials, general surveys and before-and-after polls.

1.      Afrique au féminin – what women can do

These are contemporary jewellery workshops in which women practise jewellery-making skills (beading, metal, felting), the aims being to break down language barriers and the isolation of migrant women, build trust, help empower the women and encourage them to make full use of their skills.

2.      Prima Danse, dance workshops and performances on assertiveness and stereotypes

The aim here is to stage dance workshops as a means of developing assertiveness and capitalising on differences, whether cultural, bodily/physical or economic.  Participants are involved in the creative process and put on interactive mini performances before audiences, with the aim of sharing their experiences of recreational culture with other citizens.  The target groups are people from marginalised and vulnerable groups and ethnocultural communities.

Examples of cultural mediation projects:

1.      The LatinArte foundation establishes ties between Latin American digital creators and Montreal families through collective creative workshops;

2.      The Native Immigrant collective fosters closer ties between Native artists and people with migration backgrounds through exchanges involving various art forms characteristic of Native culture;

3.      The Ahuntsic-Cartierville cultural centre runs contemporary art day camps during the summer for young people from diverse cultural communities with a view to promoting exchanges and co-creation;

4.      The “La démarche” artist residency programme in Parc-Extension performing arts theatre involves dozens of encounters between artists from diverse backgrounds, local partners and culturally diverse audiences.

Examples of projects as part of the Accès culture network:

1.      Since 2017, intercultural outreach days have been held in municipal cultural facilities and cultural centres to reach out to the various cultural communities, welcome them and share experiences with them.

2.      Since 2010, Ahuntsic cultural centre has staged a performance called “Des Mots sur mesure” (Tailormade words) showcasing newcomer artists singing a selection of the most beautiful texts from Quebecois and French songs.  The idea is to put the texts to their own music and sing them in French in public for the first time.  This also provides an opportunity to meet enthusiastic audiences and engage in real exchanges that foster greater togetherness and belonging.

The library network runs various intercultural mediation activities, including reading and conversation workshops for parents and children and workshops for adults.  Under the heading, “Les Mots partagés” (Shared words), the workshops for adults encourage the participants (some newly arrived, some already settled in Montreal for some time) to share their experiences of daily life in the city and elsewhere.  Story time sessions in various languages are held in some neighbourhood libraries.


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