Letter to a friend

Since 2009, the Seine-Saint-Denis County Council has been backing “la Culture et l’Art au Collège (CAC)”. This project is based to a large extent on the presence in class for several weeks (40h) of an artist or scientist whose mission is to engage the students in a process of research and creation. 

 

Tutors: Ingrid Thobois, France Jolly and Emmanuel Viau/ authors

Project manager: Anna Mezey

 

Objectives:
This is a writing project in which each student is invited to speculate with the others. The story will take place in the year 2046. The work involves inventing a basic story then discussing it with research scientists from various fields and asking them to comment on it.

Workshops:

Speculation

The contributor sets the students several exercises in description so that they begin to imagine the world in 2066: the environment, travel, houses, jobs, games, etc. Using these initial elements, the students then have to give written answers to the following three questions: Where are they? How did they get there? How do they live and what do they live off?  

 

Letters for Tomorrow

The contributor compiles the responses to these questions so that they become micro-stories. Some of the responses are studied in more depth: the students awake after fifty years of sleeping, dreaming and unconsciousness and discover a new world in 2066. Amazingly, they haven’t aged – how is this possible? Did time stand still or had they been cryopreserved? The class identifies scientists that might be able to help them (physicists, philosophers, etc.) and sends them their initial project.

 

Between Fact and Fiction

The scientists’ replies arrive, and the students try and incorporate them into their stories. A writing workshop is organised to hone the situations evoked; some students develop the storylines (what happens without time, how does technology intervene in people’s lives, etc.) while others refine the characters and their relationships. The students also make use of other sources (internet, newspapers, parents and friends). To conclude, the class tries to organise the various directions taken by the different students into a single narrative.

Outcome:
The three classes’ stories are collected into an 80-page book (format 15 x 22 cm) and 100 copies are published. “Ecology”, “Artificial Intelligence”, “The President of the Republic”, “The Job Market” and “Cryonics” are some of the topics developed. The book includes discussions with scientists and a series of photographs taken by Pierre Antoine. 

Acknowledgements:Pierre Boisard, sociologist; Caroline Boulord, physicist; Michel Eddi, engineer, CIRAD; Jean-Claude Dutay, engineer, LSCE/CEA Saclay; Sophie Houdart, anthropologist, CNRS; Édouard Kleinpeter, engineer CNRS; Claire Larroque, philosopher; Philippe Lenouvel, ethologist; Alexis Metzger, geographer. 

 

Outings:
- "Terra Data, nos vies à l'ère du numérique " (“Data World – our lives in the digital era”) exhibition, Cité des sciences et de l’industrie
- " Mutations urbaines, la ville est à nous !" (“Urban Mutations – the city is ours!”) exhibition, Cité des sciences et de l’industrie
- "A Beautiful Planet", La Géode
- Salon du livre et de la Jeunesse (book fair), Montreuil

 

Participating schools:
- class 4è, collège ROBESPIERRE, EPINAY-SUR-SEINE
- class 4è 3, COLLÈGE PABLO PICASSO, MONTFERMEIL
- class 4è GA, COLLÈGE BERTHELOT, MONTREUIL

 

Photo: PIERRE ANTOINE

Letter to a friend
Letter to a friend
Letter to a friend
Letter to a friend
Letter to a friend
Letter to a friend
Letter to a friend