Some of us met in Cape Town in May 2017 at the World Congress. Some of us never before had experienced the unbelievable power and beauty of African performing arts and artists. These impressions are still in my heart. Some of us, like me, went back to their home countries and had the strong feeling: Cape Town must be the beginning. Beginning of a new way to cooperate amongst countries, continents, cultures.
Many projects in the past have been „charity“- projects in an open or hidden colonial style. I think its time for Fair Co-operations. This means: It is important for both sides. It is a two-way-street to enrich your and my culture in the same way in order to create interesting new mixtures. To learn for example, other techniques to tell stories, other perspectives of stories, different heroes and diverse representation, other ways to approach and produce and present stories. It means new narratives which are not driven by a dominating white-western-middleclass-middle-old-male-style from Europe, like me.
More than ever we have to ask: How can we share power? How can we understand more about the structures and other contexts of producing? What are the expectations and goals? What are the taboos? How can we create confidence and trust? What are the conditions of success? How can we learn to be better through the impulse of others’ cultures and traditions?
The world is in a big process of rapid transformation. We have the option to accept the backlash of nationalism and segregation. We have the option to answer these strong powers by celebrating instead, “Diversity”, “Inclusivity” and “Fairness”. That's what ASSITEJ is about – internationally and in each of our countries: explore this idea step by step, create opportunities and “best practice examples”: travels, researches, placements, residencies, international workshops, accessibility, translation, projects, performances, documentations, budgets and resources: fair co-operations worldwide, between east and west and especially between the global south and the global north.
A globalized world urgently needs more fair exchange and learning from each other. This is also an answer to the last 150 years of political and economical and cultural colonialism.
Let us start a long term investment: have a look at the structures in our theatres, in our national Assitej centers as well as in the international community: How and where can we implement “Fairness” in a global sense? What holds us back from starting a “fair” project?
Let's meet in August 2018 in Beijing and create opportunities to imagine the future: Everybody is welcome to start more and better and deeper projects of Two-Way-Street-Fairness. That would be a fascinating start of our journey towards the Unknown…
Photo: Jeremiah Ikongo