Lead partner: European Union National Institutes for Culture Brussels (EUNIC), Belgium
Artform: Multi-disciplinary, Youth arts
Year funded: 2008
Funding strand: Culture Programme 2007-2013
Amt fur Kultur und Bibliotheken Bezirksamt Neukolln von Berlin (DE), British Council (LT, LV, NL, PL, SE), Bundesministerium fur Europäische und Internationale Angelegenheiten, Kulturpolitische Sektion, Bureau international de Liaison et de Documentation BILD, (FR)
Imagine you were born in another European country. Who would you be? Where would you go? How would you behave? What would interest you? What would you look like? What languages would you speak?
The Alter Ego project, submitted by the European Union National Institutes for Culture, Brussels (EUNIC) and chosen as one of the seven flagship projects for the European Year of Intercultural Dialogue 2008, invited European citizens aged between 14 and 18 from 22 EU-countries to take part in an exciting pan-European competition: to create a double portrait of themselves and their imagined alter ego from a different cultural background using film, photography, painting, music or mixed-media.
Alter Ego aimed to promote intercultural dialogue, cross-cultural understanding and the active European citizenship of young people through collaborative art projects that would encourage them to reach beyond their normal social circles. The project provided the young contributors with an opportunity to reflect on intercultural dialogue and their role in it during a particularly formative phase of their lives.
Alter Ego and the media
The press launch of Alter Ego, on 16 April at the BELvue Art Museum in Brussels, marked the beginning of the pan-European EUNIC youth project. Each component of the project was introduced by the project team and its ambassadors, the promotion clip was premiered, and the website, the centrepiece of the project, was revealed. Bert Anciaux, Marc Tarabella and Isabelle Weykmans, the ambassadors of the project, Ronny Mosuse, Hadise and the band Joshua, and speakers from different fields, among them Dorian Van der Brempt.
From 16 April to 5 September 2008 participants were able to upload their work onto the interactive website for the Alter Ego project. Over 750 works were uploaded on www.alterego-europe.eu. All website visitors were able to see the uploads and to comment on the works.
A Workshop for the winners
A jury of artists and media professionals selected two winners per country. The 44 winners met up in Denmark for an intercultural art workshop and were able to work with 14 European artists, among them actors Olivier Cherki and Elena Crisanti. The intercultural workshop for the 44 winners focused on the European dimension of cultural diversity. The participants worked together in international teams guided by professional trainers, and created joint projects on the topic of cultural diversity and dialogue.
Whilst the official press launch of the 2008 flagship project Alter Ego was held in traditional style, press coverage and publicity for the winnersʼ workshop was undertaken by a media agency focusing on youth communication: pictures of the workshop were shared on Flickr, a blog commenting on interesting situations from the workshop and video films were uploaded to YouTube on a regular basis allowing the audience to experience the atmosphere. The resulting work from the winnersʼ workshop will be selected to travel through Europe as part of a major touring exhibition (virtual and physical) encompassing DVD presentations, workshops and talks led by the winners to disseminate the ideas they developed and lessons they learnt.