After the reunification of Germany in the 1990s, right-wing extremist and neo-Nazi milieus sprang up significantly in Eastern Germany. Later, inner city districts were struck by migration-related ethnic and religious tensions. In 2005, Cultures Interactive (CI) started targeting both the sources of tension and the conflicts. CI has since developed and piloted innovative approaches to prevent and counter youth extremism/fundamentalism, group hatred and violence and to promote capacity building in view of a resilient human rights-based civil society.
CI’s approach is novel in that it surpasses the largely cognitive methods which most civic education and prevention programs apply. CI combines youth cultural and social media practices (graffiti, break dancing, skateboarding, DJ-ing, YouTubing, punk, electronic music, parkour, slam poetry etc.) with non-formal civic and political education (e.g. anti-bias, intersectional, gender-reflective approaches) and psychologically based narrative group work – thus including cultural and emotional intelligence in educational work. In addition, CI provide trainings and counselling for youth workers and other stakeholders in the field of prevention and youth work. The organisation is a part of various national and international networks and conducts empirical research.
The combination of hands-on, interest-based practices from youth cultures and (social) media with civic education modules enables CI to reach out to those young people who are often unresponsive or not interested in any of the traditional pedagogical interventions – and are at risk of turning away from schools, education and society at large. Youth cultures and social media do not only add practical and interest-based aspects. They also enhance pre-vocational skill training (team-based peer teaching) and vividly include civil rights, social justice and anti-racism history, e.g. through hip-hop culture, also spurring empowerment, civic engagement and participation which renders education less abstract and more related to the young people’s world. One particularly effective method may be the element of narrative exchange (rather than argumentative/persuasive) while clearly demarcating CI’s base reference in human rights. http://cultures-interactive.de/en/