By Jeanne Frommer
Investing the Congress space. Beyond the multilingualism of these public spaces, the international congress comers have to take over the place. Visually, physically.
Ahead of time, through the signage and the communication mediums in many languages, in the seminar room with lists of usual words in every represented language. In investing the “environnement suscitant”, meeting and exchanging place for all congress comers, whatever their nationality is.
Physically, by familiarizing themselves with the campus. By starting their congress path by discovering the premises, understanding them, assimilate them. By seeing and being seen. Since Monday morning, we can see a group on the campus lawns, across the university restaurant. What are those people doing so early? They are acting funny: they are running, pointing at each other, yelling “zip” or “zap”… Group leaders are everywhere and conviviality is the queen. What is happening when education and youth associations from all around the world gather? They play. Before all. And they define at the same time the basis of those two days of seminar. The attendees form a circle. We can hardly imagine more equality, all of them at the same distance, or the same proximity to each other. In their approach, the Ceméa have to use the methods that characterise them so well: this seminar is like this circle. This is not a traditional and formal training situation, but an exchange and sharing time between peers.
They also position themselves, physically, in relation to the other congress members already there. By being a part of the overseas party. Because those attendees, who are they but representatives of an oversea? Beyond the Mediterranean for some, beyond mountains or rivers for others, terrestrial borders that are nonetheless gaps we have to fill or is it the other way around? Gaps we have to use, to highlight, to enhance. Magnifying this space and use it. Transposing, using this distance in the Congress space itself, as a way of exchanging, sharing and discovering from and with another… and so as a way of proximity.