Young people from Plymouth are being given the chance to communicate directly with children affected by the Ebola crisis in Sierra Leone and the ongoing disputes in the West Bank.
The digital link-ups will be part of a week of creative and cultural activities – designed to promote understanding and build international relationships – running from July 5-10 at Plymouth University.
The week is being promoted by the Indra Congress, a global network of artists, educators and young people who share a passion for using the creative arts as a resource to challenge prejudices, encourage empathy and build positive relationships across seeming boundaries and barriers.
It will see an enterprising group of young people from Plymouth’s Voices for Change group, based at the city’s Barbican Theatre, hosting a series of dance and visual arts workshops and performances with peers from across the UK and the world.
The event will take place in The House – the University’s performing arts building – and as well as groups from Plymouth, Lancashire and Northern Ireland, it will be attended by delegates from India, South Africa, Greece, Brazil and Nigeria.
With the help of a team of professional artists and technical experts from the University’s Institute of Digital Arts and Technology (i-DAT), the young participants will link up digitally with their peers in Palestine, isolated through conflict, and in Sierra Leone, isolated through Ebola.
The week will culminate in a special public celebratory performance and presentation at The House on Friday 10 July at 7.30pm, which is open to the public.
David Oddie, Director of the Indra Congress, said:
“This week of events will unite young people across the world, and those in ‘Voices for Change’ are a true inspiration. Plymouth should be proud of their ambitions to reach out and help create a more just, creative and compassionate world.”
On the evening of Thursday 9 July, another group from the Barbican Theatre – Arts Force – are hosting a young people’s Question Time, also at the House, with young people from around the world on the panel.
The event is called Mitra’s Questions, inspired by the Hindu God of friendship and connection. This is also open to the public and provides a unique opportunity to learn more about the hopes, fears and aspirations of young people around the world.
Plymouth University recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Indra Congress to support its important community work.
Professor David Coslett, of Plymouth University, said:
“There are many global challenges facing the world at the present time, and we should welcome anything that has the potential to break down both physical and cultural boundaries. I have followed the work of Indra Congress since its inception and over the years it has carried out amazing work, both in the South West and beyond. I'm delighted we are working closely together to further its mission to use the arts as a means to unite and inspire.”