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Output and perspectives
The interviews, exposés and intense discussions outlined dense positions, ideas, expectations and perspectives around following issues:
Issues of spaces, belongings and identities: This remains the most controversial point where positions are still encompassed by given discourses, especially the essentialist discourse and the cosmopolite approach. While all artists highly appreciated the importance of mobility and migration experiences and outlined the importance of foreign cultural centres like the Goethe-Institut for their personal evolution and the maturation of their artistic skills and vision, some were asking themself if the contact with the other did not result in loss of originality, authenticity and purity. Many workshop participants stressed the need to remain attached to their original culture. Other advocated the need to overcome different borders and spaces in which artists are enclosed, be it territorial, ideological or cultural. They defended the transnational room they are moving in as prefiguring the future of a world where they are positioning themselves as individuals but also as representatives of their spaces of origin. Mobility and migration appear thus as a modus of life which is substantially inspiring and rewarding.
Another group of artists tries to overcome these dichotomies, local and global, by insisting on the dialectical meaning of migration which creates a tension between different aspirations: belonging to a community-affirmation of one’s individuality, anchoring-emancipation, disruption-continuity, contact-withdrawal, invention-preservation, projection-retrospection, transformation-memory etc. These dialectics are claimed as a basis of creativity. Images and memories of native and foreign countries are transformed and reinterpreted in the light of artistic experience. The dialectics of being “in between” presents thus vital impulses for the artistic work which expresses the development and the reflection of the self within a society in permanent movement between different countries, mentalities and perceptions. The experience of displacement, of contact with the “other”, of syncretic situations are fundamental valuable and rich themes and motives of artistic creativity.
These confrontations of different positions was considered as fruitful. It implicated self-reflexive exercises within a process of self-evaluation and self-restructuring.
Therefore the participants of the Denkfabrik insisted on the necessity to develop a permanent forum of discussion between so called diaspora artists and cultural creators and those working in Cameroon in order to create more reciprocal understanding of their different aspiration as well as synergies which could be profitable to development and international cooperation.
The Alumni Denkfabrik tries to re-think “development” of a country in a wider context by integrating cultural and intercultural issues and positions. The Alumni Denkfabrik contributes fundamentally to the vision and design of future concepts of development cooperation and international cultural and educational policy in the context of an increasingly globalized economic, political, cultural and social exchange.
The Alumni Denkfabrik focuses on migration as a process of global transformation and phenomenon of development and moreover enables an interdisciplinary exchange.
It encompasses art and culture as an expression and a factor of “development”. Alumni and creative artists of the Diaspora are actively involved in their role as mediators between cultures in the process of discussing new positions and discourses of future development, educational and cultural policies.
Artists are in this context especial stressing the necessity of a holistic conception of development where they can play a preeminent role at least at three levels:
- At the individual level: Development is in this regard perceived as individual transformation. Art offers recipients the opportunity to broaden their mind, to reflect on themselves and to transform themselves within a society.
- At the collective level: Art reflects different forms of self- representation, values and meanings within a social context. Initiating and reflecting transformation processes within societies art opens spaces of resistance, renegotiation and adaption in permanent confrontation with new challenges imposed by the globalization. Art offers space for the development of collective self-esteem and self-confidence by creating objects of collective identification as well as imposing reconnaissance by others.
- At the social and economic level: Artists and cultural managers stress their commitment to the cultural and economic development of their countries by supporting the foundation of cultural centers which play an engaged formative, exchange role and play thus a pole connection between locality and the world. Two of these centers have been created by Barthélémy Togouo and Joël Mpaah Do
Artists open thus new perspectives on conceiving development and of creating innovative development projects.
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