by Teona Goderdzishvili. Video by James Cropper. Photos by Guillaume Kerhervé
Nantes, France – This western city has never felt any lack of visitors; but in the end of October, it brought together 42 youngsters from different countries for the same purpose. They gathered for Nantes Creative Generation Forum, which takes place for the ninth time this year, and gives the participants an opportunity to present innovative and inspirational projects from France and abroad.
During the three-day event, youth attended the workshops, focused on specific skill-gaining, worked in groups, and participated in live discussions for Euradionantes. Anita Silva, the Portuguese host, welcomed the attendees at the informal dinner and suggested ice-breakers and energizers. You could easily distinguish not a small group of youth participants from Nantes. They came for the same purpose – to bring their ideas – starting from dancing battle and ending with a story-telling recording. The following day, 18 more French youngsters presented their projects at Nantes Metropole exhibition center.
Andre Sobczak, counselor and vice-president of Nantes Metropole, made a speech at the exhibition place and hosted the visitors at the city hall afterwards. “Nantes Creative Generation as a project aims to bring young people from different European countries together with the people from Nantes to connect the projects, related to different kinds of transitions’, he said.
Vincent, Robin, and Leslie (originally from Nantes) came to the forum with a unique idea – to collect local stories as well as lyrics from different people, mainly elderly, from all over the world. In the frames of Globeconteur – Histoires vivantes de territoires, they have already recorded several videos from different spots of the planet. The team plans to create a mobile application, so anyone can share a memory from a certain location simply by clicking a button. At the forum, they set up their own tent in case somebody had a story to share.
Sisters from Croatia, Katarina and Marina, are running a Solidarity Sandwich project, whose main aim is to exchange sandwiches for food products to support homeless shelters. Georgian team – Taso and Nika – came up with an idea for an alternative educational tool called ‘Walking Encyclopedia’. This project enables participants to exchange knowledge or skills simply by registering on a web page.
Some countries – such as Ukraine and Greece – were lucky to have two local projects presented at the forum. Nika, a participant from Odesa, presented Precious Plastic Ukraine, which promoted an open workshop for recycling plastic into interior and exterior items. Anna from Lviv introduced a cross-border media platform called NOUA; the website gives a voice to youth and covers the topics mainstream media often ignore. The journalists are all volunteers and work solely based on their own enthusiasm. “We would like to make the platform sustainable. Right now, it works with volunteers, but it will be very good to have a clear business model and an understanding of how the medium can work and sustain itself,” said Anna.
Greeks Anastasios and Ioannis managed to involve one percent of the country’s population – 109 thousand volunteers – in the project ‘Let’s do it Greece’; the main idea of the initiative is to gather a large group of people, who clean up the space around them during one day. The other Greek team represented by Zafeiris and Dimitrios worked on promoting youth work and social participation in their city called ‘A book of proposals for political and social awareness of youths’.
Three days seemed like a very short time although the attendees managed to explore the city. Jules Verne’s homeland appeared to be one of the youngest urban areas in France where two out of three inhabitants are under 40. Besides being a city with a long history, Nantes can easily be called a place where talented ideas meet reality.
While NCG 2017 has ended, the participants keep in touch with one another and are working on joint applications for 2017-2018 Cooperation Award, which is given to the teams from Nantes and two other locations working together on one initiative. As for the future plans, NCG will have a special celebration in 2018 due to its tenth anniversary.