Show Support to The Complete Freedom of Truth

Following the news, it’s become commonplace for us to hear about Brexit, fractured relationships in Europe, Trump wanting to ban immigrants from the USA and many other examples of conflicts throughout the world.

We live in a world and a society overrun with conflict and struggles to live together peacefully – harmony seems like an impossibility.  This makes it all the more important for initiatives and exchanges to take place, which will bring individuals from different aspects of life and different parts of the world together.

This is exactly what The Complete Freedom of Truth (TCFT) does.  You will have seen me write posts about TCFT before on this blog, as I have been blessed enough to take part in the project over the past few years.

TCFT is a five-year project which aims to “develop global youth citizenship through culture and the arts”.  Time spent embracing creativity, as well as learning about policies and democracies, through various workshops, presentations, activities and sharing evenings is a rewarding experience.  It enables all participants to develop skills, build friendships and grow into change-makers that will have an impact on their communities, Europe and hopefully the world as a whole.

The Complete Freedom of Truth, Srebrenica, Bosnia and Herzegovina, August 2015 from robert golden on Vimeo.

It is an environment where experiences and views are shared without judgement, prejudices are eradicated and everyone is seen as equal.  Age, race, nationality, sexuality, religion and level of ability does not matter – each of us is human and that is all that matters.  Wouldn’t the world be a much better place if we all thought like that?

The project can also be a life-changing and thought-provoking process.  A young person from Bosnia, who was self-admittedly lazy, is working on developing on organisation in their country.  A young Romanian, who said that she was previously a little racist, has changed the way she thinks and is apologetic about it.  And I know that I probably would not have taken Young People Insight further without TCFT – I was able to develop my confidence, shake off some of my fears and it was there that I performed my first piece of spoken word.

TCFT is a truly special project that more people should be aware of, because we are slowly trying to repair some of the cracks in Europe through unity and creativity.  Instead of constantly reporting on Brexit, why doesn’t the media report that?

However, projects like this cost money and TCFT is in need of some funds for this year’s residency in Italy.  We are going to continue our creative practices and have further discussions on EU policy, which we as young people need a greater understanding of.

There is currently a crowdfunding campaign running throughout the month of February, which needs your support.  Please donate as little as £5 (more would be great) and then share it with others.  Raising money is not only important, but raising awareness is a vital aspect of the campaign.

You can donate to The Complete Freedom of Truth’s campaign on the Crowdfunder site: http://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/the-complete-freedom-of-truth/

tcft-sarteano-crowdfunding

Returning to The Complete Freedom of Truth

On August 1st 2016,

I returned to The Complete Freedom of Truth,

This time in UK’s Bournemouth,

Rather than Bosnia,

Reuniting with friends of old,

Ready to meet the new.

Last year was amazing,

In some ways,

This year was even better,

Pushing us further as artists,

Even further as youth leaders.

We engaged in workshops,

Animation, theatre, radio, parkour,

Which is just a small selection,

As there were a lot more;

We contributed to discussions,

Listened intently to presentations,

Talking about Europe and the EU,

Learning more about refugees, the media

And Black Lives Matter too.

Talent found around every corner,

Art created behind every door,

Collaborations were a constant,

Bringing beautiful work to the fore.

We were treated to regular showings,

I even hosted a poetry/spoken word event,

All leading up to the final showcase

That brought TCFT close to an end.

Over 100 young people gathered together,

United by a common cause,

Wanting to create a better future,

A better Europe for us all.

We may be from seven different countries,

We may come from the East and West,

We may be of different ages, races,

Have different sexual orientations,

Different beliefs,

Or what the world calls a disability.

None of that matters though,

Because we know that we are the same,

Individuals, human beings,

With red blood running through our veins.

TCFT is one big family,

Allowing me to show my vulnerability,

I feel comfortable in their presence,

Feeling able to just be me.

Those two weeks in August

Got my creative juices flowing,

Repaired my connection with writing again,

I can’t wait for the next phase in Italy,

I’ll just have to create change in Croydon until then.

Me, Nomes and Sandra

Taking Part in The Complete Freedom of Truth

From the 11th to the 23rd of August, I was fortunate enough to be in the gorgeous town of Srebrenica in Bosnia & Herzegovina with over 100 other young people.  We had come together from seven countries across Europe for the first stage of The Complete Freedom of Truth.P1140439

The Complete Freedom of Truth (TCFT) is a five-year project which aims to “develop global youth citizenship through culture and the arts”.  The website goes further to say: “The project aims to raise consciousness and encourage a vision of an equal, inclusive and truly democratic society.  The project is led through a process of non formal learning, combining the highest quality of cultural and arts practice, inspired and facilitated by highly gifted and experienced partners, practitioners and artists.”

During the first week, we were able to take part in a number of taster workshops, which enabled us to choose the workshop we would stick with the following week. I decided to get a taste of poetry, making choices, ensemble theatre and music, which were enjoyable and insightful in different ways.  They also allowed me to explore various aspects of who I am.

The music workshop provided some truly beautiful, emotional moments that I will treasure forever, but it was the poetry workshop that had the biggest effect on me.  Our workshop co-ordinator, Amy, emphasised that “the power of words is really important” — which I think is very true — and we discussed the possibility of our words making a change.

I’m all about words making a change, so this was a perfect fit for me, but it was amazing at how much I learned about myself in those few hours.  The main thing I realised is that I’m actually better at writing poetry than I think and that poetry, particularly spoken word, has the ability to say a lot and possibly influence change.

After the tasters, everyone had the opportunity to choose between music, ensemble theatre, dance, street theatre and Parkour.  There was also the option to take part in a workshop to help people get a better understanding of the world we live in, and what we can do as politicals and artists to relate who and what we are to the world we live in.

Each of these workshops resulted in a showcase of performances on the final Friday, which allowed everyone to display their creativity and the skills they had developed.  However, we had also been treated to various performances and presentations throughout the two weeks, including a film night, a finger puppet show and a stunning collaborative dance performance.

‘Collaboration’ was the key term during our time in Srebrenica, with numerous individuals using their teamwork skills and collaborating to create special pieces.  Amy, Eilis, Dave, Zoe, Izzy and Emma, six young individuals from the UK, came together to create a beautiful short film — they also took their collaboration further by bringing in some extra help from others.  I also enjoyed collaborating on a poetry and imagery piece with my two roommates, Naomi and Ellie, who are also from the UK.

My favourite moment though, was a musical spoken word collaboration by eight individuals with differing creative talents.  The whole performance gave me chills, as they recited emotive spoken word verses and sang a stunning chorus with the words: “There is light at the end of the tunnel, I will rise and take my place”.

There were a number of things that made TCFT an incredibly special experience, but for me, the best thing was watching all of the young people get fully involved in the process.  Everyone wanted to be doing something and have some sort of purpose, which is not always the case when it comes to youth.

It was evident that each individual wants to make some sort of difference and progress forward in their life, which was great to see.  Time spent working with each young person was a good experience and I want to be able to bring this spirit to Croydon.

Being a part of TCFT was like being part of a big family with a common goal and a common purpose.  It was amazing to be around so many inspiring, talented young people and watch them grow throughout such a short space of time.  I know that I grew and gained a whole lot, which I will be taking forward in all that I aim to do here in the UK.

Photo by Naomi Gabriel.
Photo by Naomi Gabriel and used with permission.

All I can say now is bring on next year.