The 3rd transnational meeting and event of the Open European Societies project was successfully organised and hosted in Thessaloniki, Greece, by ADDART in cooperation with JKPeV on 23 & 24 November 2019 in Warehouse D, at the port of Thessaloniki giving the participants the opportunity to join a series of art and cultural activities with focus on the refugee crisis and its impact on Europe, the fear of the “other”, the rise of discrimination and hate speech whilst promoting solidarity and unity in times of crisis, diversity, acceptance and multiculturalism.

During the first day, the representatives of the project partners from the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, North Macedonia and the United Kingdom joined the partners’ meeting coordinated by Myrto-Helena Pertsinidi – JKPeV. The partners presented and discussed the local workshops they implemented, they explained the methods they used and presented the learning outcomes of their workshops.

All representatives of the project partners participated in the interactive storytelling workshop led by Dimitris Savvaidis – Addart, who introduced the basic principles of storytelling through the use of non-formal learning tools. The participants worked in teams creating a story altogether and then presented it.

In the evening, both visitors and the project partners attended the transnational event at Warehouse D, where Mrs Myrto-Helena Pertsinidi – JKPeV, the project coordinator spoke about the project, its aims and activities. Guest speaker was Babis Papaioannou (General Secretary of Youth in Greece) who gave a salutation speech and referred to the current migration crisis in Greece, followed by a short presentation by Thodoris Diamantopoulos (Praxis) about the difficulties that refugees and migrants face in Thessaloniki and the work of Praxis, an organisation that supports migrants and refugees.

The event started with Divarco, a group of young talented jazz musicians who played live gypsy jazz music. Gypsy music has always been connected to migration, since it represents the migrants’ culture and struggle over the years. The exhibition “1000 words against Hate Speech” by illustrators from all over Greece at the foyer gave food for thought and discussion regarding the power of art to convey messages against discrimination and Hate. The photo exhibition “The Others” by Nopi Ranti depicts different characters living in the city of Thessaloniki seen as “others”.

Animation movies and short films about human rights were projected within the framework of the Select Respect Festival. The audiovisual performance ‘Dystopia/Utopia’ by Die! Goldstein, creating a mixture of feelings and impressions about the reality we are experiencing in the 21st century inspired the audience to reflect and share their viewpoints on the current global issues that were showcased.

On November 24th, the partners’ meeting continued with the presentation of the video campaign and the video interviews that each partner conducted. The partners discussed also the working process and the challenges they encountered.

After lunch, a guided tour was facilitated by the journalist Kostis Zafeirakis regarding the migratory history of Thessaloniki and its dark memories. The meeting was successfully completed in the evening with a farewell dinner.

Many thanks to the team of Addart for hosting and organising the 3rd transnational meeting and event in Thessaloniki, the network of ‘Select Respect’, the artists whose work was presented at the event, the volunteers who supported the event organisers and all the people who joined the event!