From September 25 to 28, 2023, the ACCR and several members of the CCR network met with Nantes-based associations committed to citizen emancipation, cultural democracy and the promotion of transculturality.
The participants were welcomed by the Hérons nantais, an association offering an alternative tourist and cultural experience to the traditional route, which emphasises encounters with local people as the real wealth of the area. This approach is dear to the CCR network, and the mobility provided an opportunity to continue the discussions begun in 2022 on the theme of alternative tourism and the participation of local residents. Among other things, the aim is to show the beauty of moving away from the centres to discover an area and the lifestyles that develop there in a different way.
The many urban walks experienced by the teams and the discussions with Nantes' community players have highlighted the similarities between so-called sensitive, priority urban areas and isolated rural areas. The same problems can be observed in the face of territorial inequalities. Here, so-called peripheral urban areas and rural areas come together around common themes: integration, regeneration, co-production, etc.
The question of how to reclaim these areas as places where people live, create, innovate and take initiatives is central. The aim is to create a welcoming environment that fosters self-esteem, a sense of legitimacy and pride, as well as the development of skills and the sharing of culture and knowledge.
Renewing our ways of living together and collectively building for tomorrow means looking at these issues and thinking in terms of socio-cultural mediation. As part of this process, we need to think about how the cultural and artistic project fits in with the specific characteristics of the area, and how residents and their multiple cultures are taken into account in both the creation and reception of the project. The aim of these projects, set up by and for local people, is for everyone to find their place.
The issue of borders and barriers to access to culture was raised. It was pointed out that access to culture does not necessarily mean access to a cultural institution. The term culture should be understood in its broadest sense. In an attempt to overcome this issue of borders, a number of players in Nantes are offering, for example, shows in the homes of local residents or right outside their homes. The challenge here is to move from "yes, I know" to "yes, I do".
By working together in this way, local residents become more involved in the life of society and have more direct means of changing it. Culture is intended to be more democratic by allowing everyone to participate in decision-making. In the same way as CCRs, neighbourhood centres and social centres can take on the role of resource centres open to debate. As landmarks in isolated and under-appreciated areas, they help to create meeting habits that foster social cohesion and a sense of community.
The local players we met :