At a press breakfast on Thursday, the organisers of European Capital of Culture - Esch2022 unveiled details about what the programme has to offer children and young people.
Esch2022 comprises around 140 projects, about half of which have a special component for children and young people or offer this young demographic exciting things to discover.
"Through our programme we want to strengthen the interest that children and young people have in their native countries. The sooner and more often that children, their families, and friends, come into contact with culture the better. This could be as observers, participants and even hosts”, said Delphine Harmant, Project Manager of the programme for the young public at Esch2022. "We do not see children and young people as an isolated target group, but rather as a part of other groups. Culture unites generations".
Three project partners presented their projects in person at the press breakfast, whilst three others did so via video conference calls. Each of the projects offers schoolchildren the opportunity to either get to know the history of the Esch2022 region in a new way or help shape projects themselves, even across borders.
As well as being the location of yesterday's press breakfast, the Schungfabrik cultural centre in Kayl forms part of the "Den neie Mineur" (The New Miner) project. The Esch2022 partners are developing, together with the SCRIPT (department for the coordination of educational and technological research and innovation) of the Ministry of Education, Children and Youth and the Zentrum fir politesch Bildung (centre for political education), a graphic novel about the life of Jean Schortgen, a Luxembourgish miner, trade unionist and politician who was born in 1880 in Tétange. It is through his story that the organisers hope to get young people more enthusiastic about the history of their homeland. In addition to the life of this Luxembourgish miner and later MP, the graphic novel presents the significance of history for the present and the future. In the future, the comic has a place in classrooms alongside the classic history or social studies book.
The National Theatre of Strasbourg presented its project "Un territoire de theatre pour demain" (a territory , which is also dedicated to young people and intended to spread throughout the entire cross-border territory. The project is composed of two parts: "Mix Up" and "Troupe Avenir Transfrontalière". Through the art of theatre, the project aims to “work towards inclusion and social and cultural cohesion, focusing specifically on the youth, the most important asset to our future", according to Stanislas Nordey, Director of the National Theatre of Strasbourg. "Mix Up" proposes that 120 students from four secondary schools, working in tandems, collaborate through a theatrical journey. The students will discover a travelling theatrical form in their school, before taking part in a theatrical practice course with the actors of the show. "Troupe Avenir Transfrontalière" offers 20 young people aged between 16 and 25, who have no theatrical experience, the opportunity to participate in the creation of a show. For four months, the young people will be accompanied by two artists for joint rehearsals, taking place in several places in the region, until the performance at the Arche, Pôle culturel de Micheville.
As part of the project "Déi Well danzen am Bësch", aimed at primary school pupils, a part of the forest will become a place for fantasy and art as well as a real stage on 9 and 10 July 2022. Although the final production will take place in the forest, under the direction of primary school students from Pétange, Differdange and possibly other municipalities, the preparations will begin in the classroom. The children’s thoughts and ideas are reflected in the final production and it will incorporate as many cultures and families as possible. Some will also perform along with the artists.
The three projects presented via the video conference calls also promote cross-border exchanges. Poppespënnchen a.s.b.l., the founders of "Marionnettes sauvages", an international puppet theatre festival that will take place in September 2021, see it as an interesting way learn about other countries and their cultures. The pieces are often performed without speech, thus helping to overcome language barriers. During the festival, several productions will be shown under the headline "From Orpheus to La Sauvage – European legends from past to present". The presentations of "Orpheus" will be performed by professional artist groups from all over Europe. Puppet theatre productions regarding the legend of the "Wild Woman”, “La Sauvage – European legends of nature", will be performed by local artists, youth groups, school classes as well as groups from other institutions. Preparatory work is already under way.
MASKéNADA a.s.b.l.’s project: "E roude Fuedem duerch de roude Buedem" brings together six of Luxembourg's Pro-South municipalities. Six old stories and legends from the south of Luxembourg are going to be retold, focusing on female characters, and they will be presented in six shows throughout the participating municipalities. Over the coming months, this is how the new "legend trail", made up of different paths through Esch-Alzette, Bettembourg, Sanem, Dudelange, Mondercange and Differdange / Lasauvage will be created. This is a place where both old and young explorers can experience history, long after 2022. The first official event will be multilingual and will take place in Esch-Alzette in April 2022. There will be QR codes along the way and it will be an exciting event for the whole family. Some of the trails and paths will also be used for the cultural presentation of the Minett Trail. In 2023, these stories will also be published in the form of an audiobook called "Lauschterrees".
The Rëm.xx project, from the municipality of Rumelange, consists of three parts: cultural heritage, art and people. It focuses on the future while at the same time enhancing its past. The opening of the first part of the development, which includes the residence of the Luxembourgish sculptor and restorer Albert Hames, is planned for autumn 2022. Special media workshops for children will take place there. In order to respond to today’s challenges in the education sector (digital disparity, accelerated job development, digital inclusion, etc.), young people and school audiences will have access to workshops with digital kits like "Arduino", through which interactive, electronic objects can be created using electronic maps, and "Makey Makey", an invention kit designed to connect everyday objects, like a banana or a flower to computer keys. "Ozobots", small programable robots, may also be used.
In addition to the modernisation and expansion of the National Mining Museum of Luxembourg (Musée national des mines de fer luxembourgeoises), an innovative project with significant value for all generations is to be developed in its immediate vicinity.