“HOW MANY PATHS TO FLORENC?”
– Call for photographers, journalists and researchers –
Deadline: 10th of May 2006
The Central and Eastern European magazine PLOTKI, the Multicultural Centre Prague (MKC Prague), the Prague School for Film and Television (FAMU) and Ostrava University are looking for photographers, journalists and social scientists interested in migration from Europe, who want to participate in the project “How Many Paths to Florenc?”, an international exhibition focusing on the theme of “labour migration” into and out of the Czech Republic.
The exhibition “How Many Paths to Florenc?” will be realized as part of a larger project, by which the Multicultural Centre and its partner organisations aim to stimulate a public debate on labour mobility in Central Europe.
Realized within the “European Year on Labour Mobility”, the envisioned debate should point the public attention to potential benefits and costs of labour mobility and the existence of legal, cultural and economic obstacles.
Being the very core of the entire project, the exhibition and its accompanying materials (catalogue, virtual exhibition, DVD, articles for the internet portal www.migrationonline.cz) will contribute to the above-mentioned aims through the focus on the examples of 16 labour migrants, whose lives are linked through Prague’s central bus station FLORENC. We understand this crossing station in the heart of the enlarged European Union as a symbol for the meaning of “mobility” in a continent, which is characterized by enormous disparities in income and unemployment rates. This symbolic quality is stressed by the fact that Florenc is in the same time final destination and place of departure for labour migrants. Every day there are hundreds of buses arriving from Central and Eastern Europe’s disadvantaged regions to supply the Czech capital’s booming economy with commuters and temporary migrants. Since salaries in Prague are still way below the ones paid in Western Europe, many people from the Czech Republic use in the same time buses departing in Florenc to reach places of employment in Western Europe.
The photographers and journalists/ social scientists (in the following called “writers”) participating in the project will pair in teams of two and begin their research by travelling with long-distance buses from Florenc. Their common task will be to document the lives of mobile workers. The selection of persons to be portrayed will be done in close collaberation with partners and contact persons to ensure that the selection of portrayed persons will reflect the very different sides of labour mobility in today’s Europe (in regard to factors such as: age, gender, country of origin, integration in social networks, length of
stay, type of work …).
Photographers and writers will focus in their work on the following three aspects of the phenomenon of mobility:
A. Forces that drive mobility
What is the motivation of people who decided to leave home for employment purposes? Do people have the choice to be mobile? How does the decision to be mobile affect the home environment? Does the price paid for this decision make up for the benefit?
B. Barriers to Mobility
What kind of legal, economic and cultural obstacles do mobile people
encounter at home and in their new environment? How do they cope with
C. Mobility and Identity
Mobile people need to relate to two different social environments, the place of home and the place of employment. Often, the individual migrant’s social status differs quite radically between these places. How do the labour migrants cope with the different environments? Which strategies do they use to remain connected with home?
At the centre of the writers’ interest will be the story of the portrayed individuals. However, to fully understand how the portrayed individuals deal with the above-mentioned aspects of mobility, it will be necessary to put their story in the context of their social environment. For this purpose, the research will also document the opinions and thoughts of non-mobile persons, who constitute the mobile person’s social environment (both at home and at the place of work). To clearly distinguish the portrayed people from their non-mobile social environment, the research teams will use different visual and textual means of documentation. This should allow in the exhibition to clearly divide the presented information into portraits / stories of mobile people (displayed in photographs and texts) and their social
environment (displayed in form of videos and / or audio documents).
We are looking for enthusiastic social anthropologists, sociologists, journalists and photographers with experience and interest in the topic of labour migration, who are able to work responsibly and professionally. Good knowledge of English is necessary, because the seminars will be held in English. Knowledge of other languages and specific regional knowledge is very much welcome. We would also like to encourage the participants to combine their work on this project with their own journalistic or scientific projects.
PRACTICAL PROJECT REALIZATION:
The chosen photographers and writers will be participating in an international preparation seminar in Prague (Thu 1st of June – Sun 4th of June 2006) where they will get a deeper insight into the topic of labour migration from various perspectives.
There, the participants are pairing up into teams of two (photographer and researcher or photographer and journalist). The research team will have to conduct their individual research trips within the three months till the next meeting of all project participants. They will be producing a piece of artwork on a personal story of a labour migrant, which will be presented as a combination of photography and text. There are some guidelines to follow, but you will have full artistic freedom in expression.
During a second seminar in Ostrava (Thu 31st of August – Sun 3rd of September 2006) the artwork and additional research results will be finally selected and the text material edited.
The exhibition opening will be in November 2006 in Prague and then travel to Ostrava and Berlin. It will be accompanied by a virtual online-exhibtion and an exhibition catalogue. Additional materials will be presented on www.migrationonline.cz, the Multicultural Centre’s specialized website dealing with migration issues.
Each participant will have a travel-grant, which should cover most of your expenses for material, accommodation and food. However, participants who seek to realize research that is very time-consuming are encouraged to seek additional funding.
Please fill in the following information, attach your CV and mail your application until the 10th of May 2006 to florenc(at)plotki.net
*Field of studies and/or occupation
*Experiences within the field of migration
*(If you apply as a PHOTOGRAPHER) Please attach a small selection of photographs of a previous project (jpeg format) or refer to a website link.
*(If you apply as a WRITER) Experiences within the field of journalism and text work and research interests
*Motivation for participation
*Mobility to me means …………
I would like to participate as a
( ) photographer
( ) researcher
( ) journalist
I work with the following camera (only to be answered by photographers)
( ) analog
( ) digital
( ) I can take part in both seminars (1st of June – 4th of June 2006 in Prague & 31st of August – 3rd of September 2006 in Ostrava)
*How did you hear about the project?
The Multicultural Center Prague is a non-profit organization interested in issues related to the coexistence of different cultures in the Czech Republic and abroad.Since our founding in 1999, we have been busy working on new educational, cultural and information initiatives. We organize workshops, courses, international seminars, debates, film screenings and book readings for children, students, teachers,librarians and just about everybody else and also run a website devoted to the issueof migration (www.migrationonline.cz). We also have a well-stocked public library designed for those with interest in
PLOTKI is a project from around the bloc. PLOTKI brings together writers, photographers and graphic artists from Central and Eastern Europe in order to create a magazine that investigates our cultural sphere.
PLOTKI was founded in 2000 by a group of students from Berlin, Warszawa and Praha. In the meantime plotkisty from all over Central and Eastern Europe have joined us. Our goal is to increase and intensify the contact between former East and West, between neighboring countries and people.
FAMU (Department of Photography, Prague)
Ostrava University (Department of Social Geography and Regional
Development/Faculty of Sciences)
EURES (European Employment Services) Czech Republic
Counseling Center for Citizenship, Prague
Faculty of Humanities at Prague Charles University
The project is supported by the “Year of Workers’ Mobility” grant by the EU and by the Czech-German Future Fund (Fund budoucnosti).