A poster to express your citizenship

On the occasion of the European Year of Citizenship, an expression activity was offered to young people aged 3 to 25 as part of the “Show your citizenship” project of the FIFF Campus and Justice & Peace. Belgian citizen, European citizen, citizen of the world? What sense of belonging do these young people feel? And, more than a legal status, because citizenship also involves cinema!

Young people and European citizenship The rights offered by European citizenship [1]For more information : http://ec.europa.eu/justice/citizen/index_fr.htm or http://europa.eu/youreurope/citizens/index_fr.htm are sometimes unknown to its population. This reality undoubtedly comes from the lack of proximity that the European Union maintains with its citizens, sometimes leading to a slight indifference among them. Therefore, its institutions seem complex, and the perception of citizens' influence on decisions is minimal. Europe, aware of its lack of trust and links with its citizens, plans to make the democratic process more accessible, particularly to young people, to consolidate their sense of belonging. Citizens' impression of distance from the European Union may come from the lack of information in their possession. But belonging to Europe also means going out to meet it in order to assert your rights. Whether at the national or European level, the first step in understanding one's status as a citizen involves knowing one's rights, regardless of one's age. And the reference document at European level to inquire about this is the Charter of Fundamental Rights. These apply to everyone, without discrimination based on sex, national or ethnic origin, color, religion, etc. Adhering to this charter is a guarantee of greater tolerance and respect towards others. Our FIFF Campus workshop wanted to collect young people's relationship to citizenship and interact around the anchoring of this condition on a daily basis, particularly in their relationships with others. A poster creation workshop Questioning your citizenship fits perfectly into the context of a film festival. The proposed approach aims to stimulate citizen reflection through media education. This takes place at the FIFF Campus, namely the FIFF for young people. It is the opportunity for them to develop their critical sense in the face of the flood of images with which they are inundated today. It is an education in the image and through the image. This year, the FIFF Campus and Justice & Peace are inviting young people to create a poster in groups which respects the graphic codes of a cinema poster but which focuses on a civic theme. Two questions deserve to be explored: the citizen theme and the codes of the cinema poster. The animation begins with a collective discussion on the meaning of the word “citizen”. The answers poured in: “it’s a person who lives in a city, in Belgium, in the world! It's us. It’s having rights and duties…”. The students' interest is piqued, they feel that it concerns them. We arrive at shared meanings of the word. We are not only citizens of Belgium, but more generally, of Europe and even of the world. Everyone is therefore a citizen of somewhere, if only by their existence on this planet. And therefore, every citizen has rights and duties, from the moment he feels his integrity respected by the State supposed to protect him. This basic definition is validated. “But what does it mean to behave as a citizen? ". Depending on the age, reactions range from benevolence towards others to a more frank commitment to the general interest. Citizenship and media An attitude of perspective through the appropriation of media languages is essential for young people. Education for active citizenship is directly linked to critical media education. Being a citizen invested in social life also means understanding the role and power of the media on the behavior of citizens. It also means being able to use them responsibly and creatively in favor of respect and equal rights for everyone. The workshop continues with the “media education” part. Participants are encouraged to discover the different types of existing posters and their hidden meaning. Awareness campaign, advertising, propaganda poster, where does the film poster fit in? At the end of the in-depth analysis of a poster, the young person understands the proximity between the advertisement and the film poster. From this point, new avenues of reflection emerge. Am I really free to make my choices regarding images? How much am I conditioned by the media around me? What is the power of images on my daily life? With young people immersed in an environment of permanent images, critical education in contact with them is essential. The major place occupied by the media among young people raises questions. Faced with this vast media space, critical reflection is not always well constructed or exhaustive. However, the stakes are enormous. Never has an era seen media become so central to people's lives. Social networks, reality TV, the Internet, young people, lacking a point of comparison, naturally tend to perceive this occupation as normal. But abuses are frequent and the boundary with respect for private life is undermined. The blurred boundaries separating different social scenes can lead to disruptive situations that can cause significant damage, especially when they affect self-esteem and intimacy. What commitment for young people? The heart of the workshop sees young people looking for the citizen subject which will constitute the basis of their poster. The messages are varied and original. Young people, adopting the position of poster designers, think about strategies to highlight their content. Given the enthusiasm for the project (more than 350 posters), we hope that our activity will serve as a springboard towards future commitments. Work on citizenship must not stop there but find its place within schools to spread outside. The “Display your citizenship” workshop convinced us of the promising synergy existing between media and citizenship. Many initiatives aimed at young people exploit this potential. An illustration of the responsible appropriation of media by young people is the initiative MAGMA . MAGMA, MAGazine Mixité Altérité, is a magazine distributed on the Internet which aims to be a space for dialogue and meeting people from different cultural and social backgrounds. At European level, a program entitled Youth for Europe has been set up. The program includes different activities including exchanges between young people from different countries and social strata. Associations like Media Animation Or ACMJ also place citizenship at the heart of their media education. Citizen reflection must continue outside of a workshop like that of the FIFF and take place in the classroom through concrete actions. In today's globalized world, where the lack of references leads to frequent withdrawals into identity, young people must cultivate this global citizenship as a factor of peace. Demonstrating active citizenship must remain a choice, but we are convinced that everyone, at their own level, can contribute to a more harmonious world. Geraldine Duquenne



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