Drama, Diversity and Development programme (DDD) is funded by the European Union under the regional programme “MedCulture”. This project aims to support the efforts of the Southern Mediterranean countries’ in building deep-rooted democracy and to contribute to their sustainable economic, social and human development, through regional co-operation in the fields of media and culture. It supports activities fostering cultural policy reform and reinforcing the capacity of cultural policy makers, as well as promoting investment and the development of cultural operators’ business capabilities.
MedCulture is a 4-year (2014-2018) regional programme funded by the European Union to accompany partner countries in south of the Mediterranean in the development and improvement of cultural policies and practices related to the culture sector. The approach is consultative/participative and takes place in partnership with civil society actors, ministries, private and public institutions involved in culture as well as other related sectors.
What is the programme about?
This new exciting programme uses culture to promote diversity and challenge discrimination against minorities. Leading edge theatre stirs the streets of Jordan, Egypt, Palestine and Israel; performances that demand your attention in the cities of Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia – in seven countries local artists will promote diversity through theatre to the general public in a fast changing environment. This cultural and rights-based venture will use powerful theatre whose content is driven by a pioneering idea-sharing network across the region. Groups will have opportunities to unite ensuring that the drama is non-exclusive, has perspective and engages all levels of society.
The work will have immediate contact with audiences, as post performance debates between actors and public will trigger dialogue about multiplicity, difference, discrimination, equality and justice. The programme will raise awareness of the role of culture in social cohesion in a wide-ranging but profound way.
What are we going to do?
The programme, which started in March 2014 and will last for three years, will implement the following main activities:
- An open call for proposals for street theatre projects in Middle East and North Africa. There will be two rounds of calls for proposals, one in 2014 and one in 2015.
- Two regional training events to strengthen the capacity of the grantee organisations in delivering projects of this kind.
- Commissioning a regional film.
- Open call for tender for feasibility studies on litigation/remedies for cultural rights abuses.
- Open call for local, provincial, regional or international advocacy projects on abuses of / increased respect for cultural rights.
See more under the ‘Activities’ section.
Why we are implementing this programme?
Our research showed that matching minority- and artist-led organisations would bridge the need for drama, technical, marketing, media and project management skills in the former and the need to build knowledge/trust of minority communities in the latter. In many places discussion of the existence and positive integration of minority communities is just beginning to happen as part of transition processes (e.g. Egypt, Libya, and Tunisia). This means arts organisations are interested in minorities but do not necessarily feel able to take this forward.
Links between artists from different countries are still very limited for the most part – regional festivals allow exchanges (e.g. film and music festivals) however there is much more limited exchange in terms of drama. Some links do exist between minority communities because of common heritages, however, these minority based links are at the level of either families, personal relationships, or political activism, and rarely involve collaborations, joint work or sharing by artists (some exceptions involve music and film).
Finally, ministries of culture are often ambitious in their National Strategic Plans as are Ministers of Culture in their public statements (e.g. Khalida Toum of Algeria or similar) and may be positive about theatre as a medium (e.g. OPT). However, national budgets for culture are very limited (e.g. less than 1% of PNA budget) and thus, may struggle to make significant progress.