Personal Borders

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 (40 hours) of an artist or scientist whose mission is to engage the students in a process of research and creation.



Project Manager:
Mathieu MArion


The first question this project examines is how to create a narrative or story with what is known as reality. This project requires students to consider the notion of what we call “hospitality”: what does it imply to allow someone to come here (or into one’s home)? And who? The students have to imagine this stranger and address him or her in images and sounds. 

Did you say documentary?
The workshop begins with a heartfelt presentation of documentary filmmaking. The contributor explains the reasons why he made it his profession and his passion. Using his own work and extracts from the work of others, he leads the students through a series of questions: the difference between documentary and fiction, the diverse ways of showing reality, the principles of writing, etc.

The terms of the debate
During this phase, the students think about and discuss the meaning of hospitality: how to comprehend it on an individual level, and how to think of it on the scale of the entire class. To develop the discussions, the students and contributor start by commenting on selected resources; they discuss current affairs, historical debates, personal accounts and authors’ creations – films and photographs – as well as more anonymous documents. What vision emerges from this material, what problems seem to be most frequent and which of them attract the most attention? Immigration? The question of living together, being attentive to others, or a lack of goodwill? The students select the situations that affect or move them the most and must then envisage some kind of response.

Stranger, foreigner, Other…
What should we say to the person we must one day receive into our home or to our country? Or to those who receive us? The students and filmmaker draft a response as though it were a letter addressed to someone we are welcoming or someone who is welcoming us, “the exile, the uprooted, and the displaced.” This is then devised in sound and images using the codes of documentary cinema: showing and reproducing something important and “based on fact”.  


Participating Schools:
- Théodore Monod, Gagny
- Federico Garcia Lorca, Saint-Denis
- Gustave Courbet, Pierrefitte-sur-Seine
- Roger Martin du Gard, Epinay-sur-Seine
- Simone Veil, Aulnay-sous-bois



Personal Borders
Personal Borders
Personal Borders
Personal Borders