In conjunction with NGOs in the city, ‘Stichting Kunstzinnige Vorming Rotterdam’ (SKVR, Education in Arts Foundation Rotterdam) organizes low-threshold cultural activities, for the specific purpose of fostering the artistic talents of residents of Rotterdam.
Cultural Workshop Hillesluis uses many different art forms, ranging from photography and video to theatre and performing arts. The story-telling project entitled I Have a Dream (Ik Droomde), for instance, comprises workshops in theatre, visual arts and writing. Parents and children share their dreams for the future, improving their communication in the process.
The intensive training programme by the name of Listen Up (Luister Dan) illustrates SKVR’s approach. Children and young adults learn to develop their own opinion as well as to present their opinion and develop convincing arguments. The participants conclude the project in a public debate with local residents.
The Cultural Workshop Hillesluis has been the basis for the development and launch of innovative projects that will eventually travel to other communities as well. One example is the Dream Shed, a mobile meeting place for children and young adults to describe and photograph their dreams. The shed is actually a bus, which will eventually tour the entire city of Rotterdam.
For young people between the ages of twelve and twenty, the Cultural Workshop Hillesluis has developed a Media workshop. This very versatile programme creates a permanent location for adolescents and young adults to contribute actively to discussions on the community and their position within the community. Workshops, group meetings and other activities are organized to help young people – often from vulnerable families – to develop their talents and skills.
The radio shows, theatre performances and debate nights these youngsters work on in the Media workshop fly in the face of popular conceptions of Hillesluis as a deprived district. More importantly, these joint initiatives provide a positive boost to social cohesion in the community.