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Fostering inclusive values, policies, and identities through participatory cultural programming in the European Union

REPROGRAM-EU - Projeto Exploratório

PI: Sérgio Neto COORD. CIENTÍFICA: Joana Ricarte

Ciência ID: 7714-4D12-7E18 Ciência ID: 3D19-14AD-3784

ORCID ID: 0000-0002-1134-0321 ORCID ID: 0000-0002-5425-3746


REPROGRAM-EU (purposely a homophone for ‘reprogram you') will develop exploratory research aiming to analyse how young European citizens relate to the European Union (EU) and to test an intervention model in Horizon Europe Research & Innovation Action's fashion for counteracting the current rise of extremism in the continent through creative and participatory cultural programming. Taking Portugal as a case study, it will gather cross-national original data on European youth's viewpoints about the values and policies that characterize the Union, as well as their correlation with feelings of (de-) identification with/from the bloc. Epistemologically, this project deals with the relationship between values, policies, and identities from an intersubjective and interdisciplinary perspective, drawing from both quantitative and qualitative methods. It will assess university students' understanding of the interconnectedness between these dynamics, to analyse from the bottom-up how one influences the other, their impact on individuals' positionality regarding the EU, and on processes of identity (re)construction. Then, this research-action proposal will test an intervention model based on the potential of cultural programming, and more specifically, tailor-made theatre forum performances, for fostering debate related to contemporary societal challenges such as the rise of extremism, exclusionary politics, and the crises of democracy. To this aim, REPROGRAM-EU will provide an alternative training offer for University of Coimbra students with the implementation of participatory and disruptive theatre workshops followed by public performances headed towards the community inspired by the Theatre of the Oppressed techniques. REPROGRAM-EU's activities and results will contribute to building resilient societies, and fostering inclusion, democratic values, and human rights by providing a method for cultural, political, and individual reprogramming in the European Union, targeting academic and non-scientific communities alike.

This research is headed towards a practical policy impact, as well as societal transformation. It tackles current and important issues in the international agenda that go beyond the case study proposed, dealing with the connections between increasing inequality, precarity, and lack of perspectives at the individual level with the global tendency of rising extremism, marginalization of difference and promotion of exclusionary politics that have eroded democratic institutions and allowed for increasing distrust on this system. This research will promote debate on and raise awareness of these issues and the conditions for counteracting them, acting within the University of Coimbra's borders and beyond. Being also transformative INS in nature, as it is grounded on a research-action approach, REPROGRAM complies with, and answers to the Sustainable Development Goals number 4 - Quality Education, 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities, 16 - Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions and 17 - Partnerships for the Goals. Its results will foster inclusive values, political thinking, and identities within the University of Coimbra's community, as well as the city of Coimbra in general, promoting the usage of the arts as a tool for the co-creation of democracy, social inclusion, and human rights. Its outreach and sustainability strategy also points to the development of partnerships aiming to “strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development” (SDG17), insofar as it intends to be an exploratory phase for a wider research project application.