Building bridges

Ca’ Foscari University of Venice, in the framework of the activities of its International Center for the Humanities and Social Change, is organising an International Workshop on the economic, social and cultural relations between Africa and Europe in a postcolonial perspective.

The Workshop Afropean Bridges: Identity, Representation, Opportunities organised in collaboration with the Italian NGO Progressi, will take place on 20th and 21st April 2018, in support of the United Nations International Decade for People of African Descent (2015 – 2024).

The inspiration of this Workshop comes from the very mission of the International Center for the Humanities and Social Change, which is to draw upon the creative power of the humanities to develop responses to the world’s most significant and pressing challenges.

We are more and more concerned about the difficult situation we experience all across the Mediterranean area, an ideal bridge between Africa and Europe. From the conflicts in Northern Africa to environmental challenges and poverty in Sub-Saharan Africa, there is urgent need for the international community to intervene, also to prevent rampant xenophobia in Europe due to rising migration flows from Africa.

However, we also see the many economic opportunities and the potential for sustainable development all across the African continent, in some strategic areas that can help and ensure true economic growth. We also acknowledge an unprecedented creative moment expressed by African and Afrodescendant artists and intellectuals, greatly contributing to an understanding of the world at large.

The Workshop aims to open a discussion about the goals and the achievements of the ongoing Africa-EU partnership, ahead of the renewed European Commission’s impetus initiative 2018-2020.

Alongside the economic relations and the geopolitical sphere, the Workshop will address social and cultural issues related to the post-colonial relationship between European and African countries, with artistic and literary events.

A group of writers and artists from both sides of the Mediterranean will try to analyse and understand the issue of Afro-European – or “Afropean” – identity and the representation of Africans and African descendants in Europe.

They will offer an alternative perspective to misleading clichés and portrayal, especially those related to migration, poverty, development, human rights.

Among the speakers at the Workshop, there will be representatives from the European Commission and European Parliament, from the United Nations and from leading NGOs working on development and poverty matters; there will be African, African-European, and European writers, activists, scholars and journalists.

This first Workshop aims to lay the foundations and establish a regular international forum about “Identity, Representation and Opportunities” within the African-European context.

We could not have found a more fascinating frame than Venice, a well known crossroads of trade and arts between the East, the West, the South and so an ideal bridge between Europe and Africa.