“The City Ghettos of Today”
Exploring the memory and the present-day reality of migrant communities in the European cities

1 September 2013 – 28 February 2015

“The City Ghettos of Today” is a unique artistic initiative organized by 24 non-profit organizations, theaters and public bodies from 7 European cities: Paris, Warsaw, Helsinki, Berlin, Milan, Bologna and Antwerp. International in scope and interdisciplinary in method, this project will unite artists from around the world with local communities through a series of artistic workshops, performances and exhibitions across Europe.

“The City Ghettos of Today” is a collaborative European project that began in September 2013 and will draw to a close in February 2015. During this period, each participating city will host debates and creative workshops led by artists from Italy, Finland, France, Poland and Germany. These collaborative artistic residencies will culminate in a multimedia installation.

By incorporating both migrants and citizens from each partner city into the project, The City Ghettos of Today also aims to encourage the social integration of marginalized populations into local communities across Europe. In order to achieve this goal, adult migrants and European citizens will collaborate on performances and exhibitions that will subsequently be presented to large audiences in major museums and exhibition spaces in each partner city.

Alongside the project’s installation-performances, each local team will organize debates and seminars in collaboration with leading European universities and will conduct research throughout the duration of the project, with publications in prestigious academic journals projected following the project’s conclusion.

“The City Ghettos of Today” primarily aims to explore migrant districts in different European cities in order to re-examine and redefine the concept of “ghetto” in the context of today’s closed migrant communities. In this vein, local project leaders in seven European cities will organize artistic workshops in such communities prior to the artistic residencies described above. A group composed of citizens and non-nationals will attend each local workshop to create performances and other artistic material that will become a part of each city’s installation-performance.  During the artistic residencies, local workshop participants will spend ten days taking part in theatre, video, literary and photographic workshops under the supervision of the project’s international staff. True to the project’s interdisciplinary objectives, workshop leaders will invite participants to create work using the following methods: interviews, theater improvisation, street art, storytelling, photography, video art, sound art. As such, all workshop participants will be actively involved in construction of the final installation-performance event in their city.

The ghetto according to F. La Cecla is “a boundary, another space, where the place is subverted and reversed – where you are in front of a dislocation, a displacement. The border to those inside and those outside is a feeling of loss, but it is also a mirror of each other’s identity, a threshold that allows us to refine our identity and filter the others.” Using this definition, the ghetto itself bears many parallels to the artistic process, an act of creation which helps define one’s identity and distinction from others. The partners of the project are both artistic and sociologic organisations. In every city one artistic organisation is involved and this will be the organisation responsible for coordinating the workshop in that city, for organising a venue as well as for elaborating the research materials for the purposes of the workshops in their city and for coordinating the network organisations in their city. The artistic partner organisations are the cultural actors that work on projects with migrants from their local communities and who face the problems of integration and intercultural dialogue in their everyday work.

“The City Ghettos of Today” in Paris 10th- 22nd March!


Meeting in Paris local organized by Check Points Association and Museum of the History of Immigration opened the artistic part of the project. During the first days of residency artists met and recorded interviews with residents Quartier du Parc in Nanterre. The collected video and sound materials become the inspiration to create the drama of the final performance. The project also held workshops (theater, video, sound) with the community of migrants and refugees. The culmination of the workshop activities was a multimedia installation “The Caliban’s Voices” directed by Italian artist Pietro Floridia, which was presented at the Museum of the History of Immigration.
After the interactive installation took place a debate “In Search of the Ghetto Inlets”, which was attended by project staff and the public.

More information about the project:

Strefa WolnoSłowa Foundation (Warsaw, Poland)

Evens Foundation
The State Ethnographic Museum in Warsaw, Foundation for Development „Beyond Borders”, Foundation “Ocalenie”, Sociology Institute of the Warsaw University,
Bologna: Scuola Superiore di Studi Umanistici, University of Bologna, Teatro dell’Argine, Youth for the Development Alchemy YODA, Sopra i Ponti Association, Compagnia dei Rifugiati, Department of Sociology and Business Law, University of Bologna, Centro Interculturale „Zonarelli”
Milan: Teatro degli Incontri, Olinda Association ONLUS,
Berlin: European Alternatives Berlin, Onelf Theater Company
Helsinki: Helinä Rautavaaran Museo, Ptarmigan rekisteröity yhdistys, National Theater of Finland, Arts Promotion Centre Finland, HUMAK University of Applied Sciences, Pacunet, TEAK, Cultural Centre Stoa
Paris: University of Paris 8, Check Points Association, La Veilleuse de Belleville, Centre Social et Culturel “La maison”, Museum of Immigration, Centquatre, Mairie du 18ème, Atouts Cours, Nanterre Town Hall, P’Arc-en-ciel social and cultural centre in Nanterre, Adam Mickiewicz Institute

“The City Ghettos of Today” in Warsaw 6th-17th May!

Poster "Miranda gazes upon the sea"


“Miranda gazes upon the sea” situates “The City Chettos of Today” in a Polish environment, using artistic exploration as a means of exploring the multiple meanings that the term “ghetto” evokes in the context of contemporary Warsaw. Over the course of the event, participants and members of the public had the opportunity to took part in the numerous theatre, music, sound design and video workshops that make up the programme. Led by members of the project team in collaboration with the State Ethnographical Museum in Warsaw as well as with the Refugee Centre in the Targowek district, this dimension of the project placed the voices of refugees and migrants at the heart of this process of artistic discovery. By conducting interviews and artistic workshops in groups, “Miranda gazes upon the sea” created a space in which to reflect upon the presence of immigrant minorities in Warsaw: do these immigrant populations form inaccessible enclaves? Or, on the contrary, do they form relationships with Polish nationals easily? This project also considered how Polish populations see foreigners and examined their reactions to the presence of migrant communities in Warsaw. As such, events taking place during the first stage of this residency equally provide d a space in which both Ukranian and Vietnamese, immigrants, minorities and refugee populations living in Warsaw was able to add their voices to this debate, namely, through participatory artistic workshops.

Additionally, artists from the artistic team of the project met a journalist and activist, Jan Gebert. The meeting enriched the project research by addressing topics concerning the Jewish community living in modern and pre-war Warsaw.

Combining theatre, visual arts and music, the workshop’s crowning moment were an interactive installation entitled “Miranda gazes upon the sea,” which took place on 17 May at the State Ethnographical Museum as part of The Night of Museums.

The Warsaw-based part of the project is organised in cooperation with The State Ethnographical Museum in Warsaw, the Sociology Institute of the Warsaw University, Foundation for Development “Beyond Borders”, Foundation ‘Ocalenie’, Heinrich Boll Foundation and is co-funded by the European Commissione, the Europe for Citizens programme and by the Evens Foundation.

Partners: Cie Check Points, Paris’s Musée de l’histoire de l’immigration, Centquatre, Université Paris 8, Mairie du 18ème, Atouts Cours, Mairie de Nanterre, Centre social Nanterre, Compagnia dei Rifugiati/Cantieri Meticci (Bologna, Italy), Teatro dell’Argine Società Cooperativa Sociale (San Lazzaro di Savena, Bologna, Italy), European Alternatives Berlin (Berlin, Germany), Onelf Theater Company (Berlin, Germany), Youth for the Development Alchemy YODA (Bologna, Italy), Helinä Rautavaara Ethnographical Museum (City of Espoo, Finland), Ptarmigan rekisteröity yhdistys (Helsinki, Finland), Sopra i Ponti Association (Bologna, Italy), Teatro degli Incontri (Milan, Italy), Scuola Superiore di Studi Umanistici, University of Bologna (Bologna, Italy), ARTS PROMOTION CENTRE FINLAND – TAITEEN EDISTÄMISKESKUS (Helsinki, Finland), HUMAK University of Applied Sciences (Kauniainen, Finland), Olinda Association ONLUS (Milan, Italy) Centre Social et Culturel “La maison du bas Belleville”, La Veilleuse de Belleville, L’Accademia di Belle Arti di Bologna, National Theater (Helsinki), Department of Sociology and Business Law, University of Bologna (Bologna, Italy), Centro Interculturale Zonarelli (Bologna, Italy), Adam Mickiewicz Institute (Warsaw, Poland), Pacunet (Helsinki, Finland), TEAK (Helsinki, Finland), Cultural Centre Stoa (Helsinki, Finland)


Project is financial supported by European Commision – Program Europe for Citizens and co-financed by Evens Foundation

Media partners: TVP Kultura,, Radio dla Ciebie,

This project has been funded with support of the European Commission. This communication reflects only the views of the author, and the Commission can not be held responsible for its content merits.