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To Believe or Not To Believe toolkit

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The toolkit TO BELIEVE OR NOT TO BELIEVE provides a theoretical framework on interconvictional dialogue and Theatre of the Oppressed, practical examples and insights from applications in Italy, Spain and Belgium and 10 concrete exercises to start working.

Aims of the tool

This toolkit aims at being an engaging guide in setting up new projects on the topic of interconvictional dialogue. It aims at fostering meaningful conversations between convictions, thereby growing understanding and respect in a diverse and complex world.

Description of the tool

This toolkit is the result of the project "To Believe or Not To Believe, Why Not Living Together?", carried out by three organisations in Belgium, Italy and Spain (Axcent, Giolli Cooperative and Red Incola).

During the period September 2022 - June 2023, Axcent, Giolli and Red Incola experimented together around the use of Theatre of the Oppressed as a function of promoting interconvictional dialogue. In this toolkit, we present some tools to promote dialogue around religions and convictions. The toolkit is primarily aimed at youth workers who want to work with young people around interconvictional dialogue in formal and non-formal settings. But groups working with the methodology of Theatre of the Oppressed and wanting to explore interconvictional dialogue can also use it. This project targets young people, but the toolkit can be used equally well with adults.

This toolkit came about through a combination of literature research, exchange with experts from academia and in the field, but also through the application of the methodology in practice through 3 trajectories with young people in Spain, Italy and Belgium. Thanks to practical experience, we have discovered a methodology that can facilitate encounters between young people of different convictions, stimulate profound transformations in participants and generate dialogue that contributes to coexistence and social cohesion.

Exchanges between different convictions can help young people become more open, develop empathy and understanding for others, and prevent the emergence of extreme ideas and hate speech. Educational spaces, formal and informal, are fundamental to promoting this kind of dialogue and exchange. In Chapter 1 of this toolkit, we explain what exactly we mean by interconvictional dialogue and how it differs from other forms of exchange such as controversy or debate. We also discuss the possible forms of dialogue and the challenges posed by the concept of interconvictional dialogue.

In Chapter 2, we give an introduction to Theatre of the Oppressed, an innovative approach that uses theatre to understand and change the world. This theatre focuses on helping oppressed people and groups understand and address their own problems. It encourages them to question things that are taken for granted and offers various techniques, such as Forum theatre.

In Chapters 3 and 4, we first discuss the three field experiences in Spain, Italy and Belgium. In each, we give an overview of the target group, the working forms and formula used and the choices made. Then, in chapter 4, we analyse the experiment and the outcomes of using Theatre of the Oppressed to promote interconvictional dialogue.

In Chapter 5, we have selected 10 exercises that have proved valuable for organising interconvictional dialogue based on Theatre of the Oppressed.

Our experiences have taught us valuable lessons for facilitating effective conversations between people with different views. In Chapter 6, we summarise some key conclusions that can help in setting up new projects. Despite challenges, such as dealing with sensitive issues and cross-cultural groups, these lessons provide clear guidelines for meaningful conversations through suggested activities. We stress the importance of creating a safe environment, understanding power relations between participants, and addressing power imbalances before real dialogues can take place. We suggest adding other methods to better understand convictions and to further develop facilitator skills.

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SALTO cannot be held responsible for the inappropriate use of these training tools. Always adapt training tools to your aims, context, target group and to your own skills! These tools have been used in a variety of formats and situations. Please notify SALTO should you know about the origin of or copyright on this tool.

Tool overview

To Believe or Not To Believe toolkit

This tool is for

Youth workers, teachers, adult trainers, groups using Theater of the Oppressed, people involved in interconvictional dialogue

and addresses

Social Inclusion, Group Dynamics, Project Management, Intercultural Learning, Religion

Behind the tool

The tool was created by

Axcent, Giolli and Red Incola

in the context of

Erasmus+ project TBNTB

The tool was published to the Toolbox by

Fien Ingelbrecht (on 8 February 2024)

and last modified

8 February 2024

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