Art and music have the power to connect and inspire people. Peace movement MasterPeace uses that power to give youth in Europe's neighbouring countries a greater local perspective. Creative Twinning allows them to encourage creativity even more. Musician Roel van Velzen will show us how great such creativity sounds on 5 May 2020.
MasterPeace focuses on youth in 40 socially and economically disadvantaged countries. The organisation runs projects in Morocco, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Albania and Georgia with the Creative Twinning project 'Artists Create Together' (ACT!). MasterPeace has been working with local teams for years. The organisation aims to achieve a complex transformation with many challenges, which will take a lot of patience. Trust is the cornerstone because minority youths are wary of outsiders.
The first part of ACT! is storytelling. Aart Bos of MasterPeace: 'This part is quite difficult. The youth have never been asked for their opinion, and they aren't used to sharing their feelings. This process requires long-term support to build trust. The next step is for youth to talk with each other about a topic they care about. Then, they paint a mural on this topic: a way to make their feelings public in their community.'
MasterPeace wants to set up projects in each country, allowing youth communities to be truly emancipated. For example, Berber youth in Morocco are setting up an online portal to sell dates. MasterPeace also organises conferences to connect with governments and companies for the support needed. 'An example is female leadership', says Bos. 'Young Berber women said they wanted to become entrepreneurs. While they continue to respect their parents, even ones who disapprove, these women keep going to realise their dream.'
Roel van Velzen
The last part is where Roel van Velzen comes in. He wrote the song Wildfire, especially for ACT! Each country contributed its verse to the song, written and played by a local musician who acts as a role model. The song will be performed on several stages in the Netherlands on Liberation Day (5 May).
'We would never have been able to realise these plans without the support of Creative Twinning. While the cultural sectors in countries surrounding the EU hardly have any funding, we can now have a real impact, directly reaching 12,000 youths. We can even reach 20 million people through the media. There is also a snowball effect: youth will contribute new projects to our local teams. With ACT!, we are planting a seed that will grow soon.'