Freedom As A Project

Film Still Carlisle Video © Goethe-Institut London

Freedom in Europe - what is it based on and what endangers it?

Europe is poised to change. Populist and nationalist parties are gaining support in many countries. Skepticism towards the EU is not confined to Great Britain. Drastic austerity measures afflict Portugal, Spain and Greece. And the process of integration proceeds at varying speeds, so that countries like Romania or Bulgaria find themselves playing a marginalised role. In short, Europe is facing challenges on many levels and is engaged in a quest for solutions.

During the first phase of this project each participating location developed a question related to the concept of freedom.

"Freiraum": Carlisle

Carlisle is one of 38 cities taking part in the project “Freiraum”. During a one-day workshop, organised and moderated by the local organisation “Awaz Cumbria”, citizens of Carlisle and surrounding areas identified problems relevant to their own city which challenge the concept of freedom. They came up with following key challenges: a high number of people with no qualifications and a low-income; many young people claiming out of work benefits; a considerable percentage of child poverty; and a 60 to 40 divide between Brexit supporters and Remain voters. Reducing their discussions to one key question, the group agreed on the following:

How can we understand isolation and how can we overcome it?

This question is expressed in a short film which will be presented in Warsaw at the beginning of December when the participating Goethe-Institutes and partner organisations from across Europe meet. The cities will then be paired and will be encouraged to find answers to the questions of their tandem-partners over the course of the next months.