VIENNA/SERBIA RAW – OUR NEW NEIGHBOURS
The project VIENNA/SERBIA RAW – Our New Neighbours used art practices of documentary photography in the context of one of the most relevant social issues nowadays – asylum seekers problematic – mutual for both Serbia and Austria, in order to enable higher visibility and awareness of their cultures and heritage, but also their everyday problems. Due to lack of activities, which would enrich their isolated lives, this project had the aim to encourage the participants to deal with their past, fears and hopes in a creative way, both among themselves, but also with the other side – local community members in Serbia and Vienna.
By offering to asylum seekers a creative platform (workshops) as well as opportunity to be visible (exhibition in a public space, catalogue), the project encouraged communication between asylum seekers with their local community. Having both sides as active target groups, the project contributed to the process of overcoming xenophobia and suppression of prejudice towards other race and ethnicity.
The project was based on artistic practice of the established photo collective “Belgrade Raw” from Serbia, who provided methodological and artistic know-how in using the medium of documentary photography in workshops with with asylum seekers. VIENNA/SERBIA RAW – Our New Neighbours consisted of two rounds of photography workshops in Serbia (Subotica and Belgrade) and Vienna (Ute Bock Haus and Macondo). Through analysis of their current situation in both countries, the participants tried to present the most relevant problems, disseminate good practices and create space for an open dialogue with the aim to overcome language, racial and cultural barriers. They had the opportunity to reflect upon/exchange their experiences, create new photographic material and work with their already existing personal archives, which depicts their background stories on one hand and the environment and community of their current place of living on the other.
The workshops took place between May – July 2015. The workshops resulted with exhibition in a public space, shown in Belgrade (Nikola Pašić square, Ocotber 2015) and in Vienna (Mariahilfer Straße, November 2015). A catalogue on the project was published in 3 languages (EN/SR/DE).
The project is supported by ERSTE Foundation, The 10th District of Vienna and Austrian Federal Chancellery.