N.E.O.N. – Not Excluded from Our Neighborhood

N.E.O.N. - Not Excluded from Our Neighborhood
Main Topic
Solidarity - Civic Activities
Additional Topic(s)
Empowerment and Inclusion – Cultural Identity
Empowerment and Inclusion – Diversity
Empowerment and Inclusion – Ethnic Identity
Other - Art
Duration
1+ day
Implementation Mode
Indoor F2F
Goal(s)
The objectives of the activity are:


- to promote social inclusion in the neighbourhood by transmitting values of acceptance, tolerance and sharing


- to generate valuable interventions with effects that could last over time, through social commitment of young people

Overview of Activity
N.E.O.N - Not Excluded from Our Neighborhood - was a project funded by the European Solidarity Corps. The project aimed to intervene in a suburb (called District 5) of Turin, Italy, to make it a place where spaces for social inclusion are better marked.The protagonists were young people, their families and friends, and was open to all the residents of District 5. Social inclusion was the primary objective of the initiative, which tried to include migrants, who were lodging in the suburb/district.
Description of Activity
The N.E.O.N project initiative used artistic expression as a tool to counter hate messages and was characterised by a mix of artistic techniques (photo-editing, comics, street art). In addition, the project included outdoor activities, such as an exploratory walk through the neighbourhood and a subsequent performative action on the walls, as well as the use of digital tools, such as the FirstLife platform, for the online mapping of hate messages. FirstLife is a civic social network in Turin designed to support new forms of collaboration in the territory of cities at multiple scales through sharing of information and construction of proposals, projects and initiatives.



<b>Materials: </b>

- cameras and smartphones to photograph hate messages

- a digital platform (such as First Life) for mapping the hate messages

- stationery material

- PC with photo-editing programme

- materials for making murals



<b>Preparational work:</b> Prior knowledge of the neighbourhood where the intervention will take place is needed, so as to lead the young participants on an exploratory walk through the neighbourhood in search of hate messages. For the realisation of the art workshops, in addition to procuring the necessary materials, it is necessary to enlist the help of experts in different artistic practices (photo-editing, comics and street art) to guide the young people in developing artistic responses to the messages of hatred.



<b>Steps: </b>

1. exploratory walk around the neighbourhood and search for hate messages on the walls

2. photo mapping of hate messages (e.g. ex racist, homo-transphobic, misogynist messages)

3. organisation of three art workshops (comics, photo-editing, street art) for the reworking of hate messages

4. performative action on the walls of the neighbourhood for the realisation of artistic responses to hate speech

Sources & Additional Materials
Additional Notes
Thanks to the N.E.O.N. project, young students from Turin's District 5 (in particular, students from IIS Giuseppe Peano) were involved in researching and mapping hate messages expressed through graffiti in their neighbourhood. Then, through three art workshops led by three experts in comics, photo-editing and street art, the young participants not only learned new artistic skills but also developed innovative and artistic responses to hate speech. The N.E.O.N. project tackled some very topical issues including racism, xenophobia, intolerance towards diversity, and social exclusion. These phenomena might have been exacerbated by the economic crisis caused by the pandemic. The theme of light is recurring within the N.E.O.N. project, guided the outline of all project activities. During the first preliminary research phase, an attempt was made to 'shed light on the shadow zones' of the area, i.e. the abandoned public spaces and the phenomena of intolerance in the neighbourhood (mostly expressed as offensive graffiti on the walls of the territory) but, in general, all activities were aimed at 'enlightening the consciences of citizens' and combating the ignorance that produces hatred towards those who belong to different peoples and cultures.

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