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The aim of the FREIRAUM (Free Space) project is to assess the state of freedom in Europe’s cities. What are the issues that come up when residents, sociologists and creative artists think about the concept of “freedom” in very local terms?

Man met bal© Goethe-Institut / Caroline Lessire


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. Scepticism towards the EU, such as was expressed in the Brexit referendum, for example, is not confined to Great Britain.
Freiraum Dublin 2018 Eng Freiraum Dublin 2018. (Foto: Vanessa Ifeoiore) | © Vanessa Ifeoiore The Goethe-Institut sees itself as an institution with a European mission. It stands for a vision of European integration, propounds a common European cultural space based on multicultural diversity and autonomy, and is committed to a corresponding set of values embracing inclusiveness, openness, generosity and justice. At the same time, it is conscious of the processes outlined above and the present situation, widely felt to be critical. Against this background, clinging blindly to the erstwhile narrative of European unity can easily be taken for a denial of reality. Europe has got to rise to this challenge, and in the same way, the Goethe-Institut must stress its continuing Euro-political commitment.
One contribution to this new orientation is the important "Freiraum" project which takes place from 2017 to 2020, during which each participating location developed a question related to the concept of freedom. As well as developing these local projects across Europe, each Goethe-Institut is partnered with another in order to encourage the cross cultural exchange of ideas and solutions at a European level.

After the first phase ran until the beginning of 2019, autumn 2019 marks the beginning of the second phase of the Freiraum-Project. The initiated projects in the respective cities and countries are intended to be continued and establish themselves sustainably.


I AM DUBLIN © Goethe-Institut Irland


Creative Arts, community and improving access to higher education – a path to freedom in Europe?
As part of this Europe wide programme Freiraum initiated by the Goethe-Institut, Dublin is looking at economic inequality and the limits to freedom in Europe. Within this context, this project builds on a new partnership between the Trinity College Access Programmes and Dublin City Council to address inequalities in access to higher education in Dublin’s city centre. 
Dublin’s city centre is home to a diverse set of societal and educational challenges characterised by a progression rate to college which is less than half that of the national average. This project empowers second level students in areas underrepresented at third level by enabling them to participate in leadership projects which focus on increasing awareness and engagement in the community with the creative arts and European languages and cultures.

Within the framework of the cooperation for Freiraum, two independent projects have been developed: the Creative Arts Programme and the European Languages and Cultures Programme. Each project involves 30 pupils from partner schools across Dublin. The programme began in 2018 and is currently in its second year.

Creative Arts Programme
A day at Fishamble Theatre A day at Fishamble Theatre, Freiraum Dublin 2018 | © Goethe-Institut Irland Trinity Access Programmes and the Goethe-Institut Irland in conjunction with Dublin City Arts Office provide a cultural arts programme to introduce students to new ways of thinking, to using their creativity and to inhabit the spaces which cultural institutions in Dublin provide.
This project introduces students to the spaces they may have thought of as not for them and not their own. Theatres, galleries, writing centres and concert halls are all on the city's doorstep yet many of us feel these places aren't for us nor are they a place to feel at home or comfortable.
This programme is ideal for…

This series of workshops are aimed at fourth year students. Each workshop provides an interactive introduction into different aspects of the creative arts. These workshops take place on the last Thursday of the month from October 2019 to April 2020 (excl. December). Students partake in a morning session, lunch and an afternoon session at each cultural institute. The dates for these events are as follows:
23 April 2020 A day @ the Abbey Theatre
The Abbey Theatre is Ireland’s national theatre. They make urgent theatre. Inspired by the revolutionary ideals of the Abbey Theatre’s founders and a rich canon of Irish dramatic writing, their mission is to imaginatively engage with all of Irish society through the production of ambitious, courageous and new theatre in all its forms. They commit to lead in the telling of the whole Irish story, in English and in Irish, and they affirm that the Abbey is a theatre for the entire island of Ireland and for all its people. In every endeavour, they promote inclusiveness, diversity and equality.
26 March 2020 A day @ Fighting Words
Founded by Roddy Doyle and Seán Love, Fighting Words aims at helping children and young people, and adults who did not have this opportunity as children, to discover and harness the power of their own imaginations and creative writing skills. At its core, Fighting Words is also about something much broader and more inclusive. It is about using the creative practice of writing and storytelling to strengthen our children and teenagers – from a wide range of backgrounds – to be resilient, creative and successful shapers of their own lives. 
27 February 2020 A day @ the Royal Irish Academy of Music (RIAM)

The Royal Irish Academy of Music is a home of musical excellence and dynamism, a place of teaching and learning which consistently achieves its objective of transmitting and maintaining the highest standards of performance and appreciation in all musical disciplines. Your day at RIAM will include music appreciation workshops, introductions to music theory and hands-on interaction with instruments. 
23 January 2020 A day @ Fishamble Theatre
Fishamble is an Olivier Award-winning, internationally acclaimed Irish theatre company, which discovers, develops and produces new work, across a range of scales. Each year, Fishamble typically supports 60% of the writers of all new plays produced on the island of Ireland, through its extensive programme of Training, Development and Mentoring schemes.
28 November 2019 A day @ Goethe-Institut Irland
On the second day of the programme, the students will be visiting the Goethe-Institut Irland in Dublin. They will be shown around the newly refurbished spaces and the library, they will be introduced to filmmaking and German film, and get the chance to shoot their own short film with their smartphones.
24 October 2019 A day @ Trinity College Dublin and the Galleries of Dublin
The first day of the Creative Arts Programme introduces the students to creative arts and the Freiraum-Project within the walls of Trinity College Dublin. In the morning they will be touring the Douglas Hyde Gallery, followed by lunch in the Dining Hall of Trinity College. A little stroll through the city centre leads the students to the LAB-Gallery, where they will be touring the exhibitions in the Gallery and attend a workshop with Jane Fogarty, residential artist in the Gallery.

1.2 European Languages and Cultures Programme

A day @ the Istituto Italiano di Cultura, A day @ the Istituto Italiano di Cultura, Freiraum Dublin 2018 | © Goethe-Institut Irland This project introduces fourth year students to the European cultural institutes around the city of Dublin. Trinity Access Programmes and the Goethe-Institut Irland are proudly working in conjunction with a number of the European Union National Institutes for Culture (EUNIC) to curate a number of programme days for our TAP-linked schools.
Travelling the continent has never been this easy, with plane tickets to mainland Europe costing less than a taxi ride home.
This project delves into the cultures and languages which inhabit the countries of Europe. Throughout the programme, students will get the chance to explore the food, language, literature, theatre and cinema of European cultures.
This programme is ideal for…

This programme is ideal for fourth year students who are interested in exploring new cultures and arts. The language classes cater for those who have already studied the language to Junior Cert. level as well as absolute beginners; the taster classes are a great opportunity for anyone thinking of studying French, German, Spanish or Italian at a university level.

This series of six workshops provides an interactive introduction into different aspects of European cultures and languages. These workshops take place on the second Thursday of the month from October 2019 to March 2020. Students partake in a morning session, lunch and an afternoon session at each cultural institute. The dates for these events are as follows:
12 March 2020 A day @ the European Commission
The representative of the European Commission in Ireland is part of the network of the all representatives of the Commission in the member states of the European Union. It is the Commission’s voice in Ireland and aims to communicate the EU’s matters on a national, as well as a regional level. The commission considers as its job to explain the impact of EU policies on people living in Ireland and to offer information relating to the EU to governments, civil services and other interest groups.
13 February 2020 A day @ Instituto Cervantes
The Instituto Cervantes is a global non-profit organisation that was founded by the Spanish government in 1991. The institute was named after Miguel de Cervantes, author of Don Quijote – possibly the most important figure in the history of the Spanish language. The Instituto Cervantes, a government agency, is the biggest organisation in the world to provide education in the Spanish language and culture; in 44 countries and 87 centres, the institute offers Spanish classes and cultural events.
16 January 2020 A day @ Istituto Italiano di Cultura
The Istituto Italiano di Cultura is the cultural institute of Italy and provides useful information about the country’s society, politics, economy, etc. The institute is an essential actor behind a lot of cultural initiatives and collaborations. It is the basic point of reference for Italian communities abroad and the centre for the growing demand for Italian culture in the whole world. With the support of the Italian embassies and consulates, the network Istituto Italiano di Cultura wants to promote Italy as a centre of production, preservation and enhancement of culture.
5 December 2019 A Day @ Alliance Française
The award-winning Alliance Française Dublin is the third biggest in Europe and the first in a non-francophone country. The Alliance Française in Dublin aims to promote the French culture and to create a space for intercultural exchange between Ireland and the cultures of the francophone sphere. This exchange reaches back to more than a hundred years, while the Alliance has existed for almost 60 years.
14 November 2019 A day @ Goethe-Institut Irland
The day at the Goethe-Institut in Dublin began with an introduction to the work of the institute and with a taster class in the German language. The students were shown around the library via a scavenger hunt and learned about the history of German literature. After lunch, the students did a workshop on film and language. Here, they explored non-verbal communication and watched the German-Irish short film ‘Rhinos’. The day was concluded by a walking debate on ‘Democracy and Freedom’.
10 October 2019 A day @ Trinity College Dublin
On their first day, the students were welcomed to Trinity College Dublin and were introduced to the Freiraum project and the European Languages and Cultures Program. They got to know the college campus via an insta-tour and had lunch in the Dining Hall on campus. In the afternoon, they learned of the possibilities of learning languages at third level, followed up by a German quiz with the TCD Germanic Society. The day was concluded by a poster making session on the topic of ‘Freiraum’ and ‘Freedom in Europe’ 

2. Previously on Freiraum

2.1 June 2019: Freiraum Theatre Summer School Presents: I AM EUROPE

Theatre Summer School Theatre Summer School - I AM EUROPE, Freiraum Dublin 2019 | © Goethe-Institut Irland In June 2019, the Goethe-Institut Irland and the Trinity Access Programmes invited Transition Year secondary school students in Dublin to a unique four-day workshop with Tatjana Pessoa and Gabriel Da Costa.

With the theatre-makers, both performers in the international touring I AM EUROPE theatre piece by theatre director, Falk Richter, the workshop was designed together with our tandem partner, the Goethe-Institut Strasbourg/Nancy for the Freiraum Programme. After Strasbourg and Nancy it took place in Dublin from 4-7 June.

This summer school addressed a transition year cohort. These students came from under-represented backgrounds within Dublin’s inner-city. This highly motivated group of fifteen students had previous experience with Trinity Access Programmes and the Goethe-Institut Irland from their discussions of European identities through their engagement with the Freiraum programme from 2018 to 2019.

The workshop was inspired by the creative process used in Falk Richter’s plays, as well as by the choreographer Nir de Volff. During four days the participants met through discussions, improvisations, physical work and creative writing and used theatre as a tool to embody their own stories.

And who we have been working with….

Gabriel Da Costa, 33 years old, was born in France. His parents are Portuguese. At the age of 18 he left his parent’s home to live in Brussels, and since then he lives and works in Italy, France, Belgium and Germany. He has a French passport, a Portuguese identity card, a Belgian residence permit, an Italian tax code and an English social security card. To him nationality is a strange concept whereas being European, regional or local makes perfect sense. He is an actor and a director.

Tatjana Pessoa, 37 years old, was born in Brussels. She grew up with her Portuguese mother who herself grew up in Angola. Later Tatjana met her father who is Swiss German and went to live with him in Germany. For nearly four years she travelled through West Africa. There she realized that she is not a citizen of the world. From then on, she started calling herself European. Though being of Belgian and Portuguese nationality, she hasn’t got a Portuguese passport. She is not sure if being European makes sense any longer. She writes her own shows and she performs from time to time when she really feels like it.
2.2 September 2018 – February 2019: Creative Arts
28.02.2019 A day in the Royal Irish Academy of Music
31.01.2019 A day in the Abbey Theatre
29.11.2018 A day in Fishamble Theatre
25.10-2018 A day with Fighting Words
A day in the Goethe-Institut, Trinity College and the LAB Gallery
2.3 October 2018 – February 2019: European Languages and Cultures
14.02.2019 A day in the European Commission Dublin
10.01.2019 A day in Instituto Cervantes
13.12.2018 A day in the Istituto Italiano Di Cultura
15.11.2018 A day in the Alliance Française
11.10.2018 A day in the  Goethe-Institut
2.4 August 2018 – ‘Taking Spaces, Going Places‘
23.08.2018 A cultural exchange between Irish and German students.
The day was filled with workshops and activities for students from Trinity College Dublin and German students, who visited Dublin through the meet!-Europe tour organised by the Mercator foundation.
The Mercator Foundation is one of the largest private foundations in Germany. It aims for a society built on open-mindedness, solidarity and equal opportunities.
3. Our Local Partners:
Trinity Access Programmes (TAP)
Trinity Access Programmes’ mission is to work in partnership across the education sector and with students, teachers, families, communities and businesses to widen access and participation at third-level of under-represented groups in Ireland.

City Arts Office, Dublin City Council
Dublin City Arts Office is a specialist service within Dublin City Council that represents a strategic investment in the arts by the City Council. Leading, developing and working in partnership, they support artists, arts organisations and the city’s communities to deliver quality arts experiences that contribute to Dublin’s cultural life.

European Union National Institutes for Culture (EUNIC)
The European Union National Institutes for Culture (EUNIC) is a network of European national institutes of culture and national bodies engaged in cultural and related activities beyond their national borders. EUNIC brings together organisations from all 28 EU member states and adds value through its global network of clusters. By pooling together the resources and expertise of its members and carrying out joint work on common areas of interest, EUNIC is a recognized partner of the EU and its stakeholders in defining and implementing European policy on culture inside and outside the EU. The overarching purpose of EUNIC is to create effective partnerships and networks between the participating organisations, to improve and promote cultural diversity and understanding between European societies, and to strengthen international dialogue and co-operation with countries outside Europe.