Is community possible in great diversity?

© Sebastian SeiffertA multicultural walk through Brussels’ Saint-Gilles quarter

Institute: Goethe-Institut Brüssel
Location: La Tricoterie, St.Gilles
Date: 08.12.2013, 4pm - 8pm

© Sebastian Seiffert

Most of those who participated in the EUROPE LIST survey associated Europe with “cultural diversity” and “community.” The Goethe-Institut Brussels wanted to find out if these two terms can go hand-in-hand and what this means in reality for a multicultural city like Brussels.

Therefore, on 8 December 2013 a joint event by the Goethe-Institut and La Tricoterie was held to ask the question “Is community possible in great diversity?” La Tricoterie in Brussels’ Saint-Gilles quarter is a newly opened cultural and meeting place that is also called fabrique de liens, or “connection factory.”

First, an intercultural walk through the Saint-Gilles quarter of Brussels was held to make contact and overcome inhibitions. In small guided groups, the approximately 40 participants were given insights into culturally very differing organizations and institutions that actively shape the life of the community in their quarter, ranging from Brazilian, Spanish and Greek cultural associations to a Belgian bakery with halal food to the Mosque organized by volunteers and its physical education and scout troop.

Later the walkers gathered in the Tricoterie to reflect on what they experienced and on the possibilities and limitations of intercultural coexistence.
The dialogue, held in French, was moderated by Maïté Maskens, anthropologist at the Université Libre de Bruxelles and Philippe Van Parijs, philosopher and professor in Louvain-la-Neuve and Oxford. 

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