A seminar on postcolonial city tours for/by young people
29 November – 5 December 2023 in Bern, Switzerland
Background of the seminar
The streets, buildings and museums of Europe are full of colonial heritage. European colonialism for centuries has exploited people, land and resources in Africa, Asia, the Americas and Oceania and the consequences of this are clearly visible until today. To this day, European governments and companies are contributing to and driving global injustices. European cities are still prospering thanks to their colonial wealth, while many countries in the Global South are heavily indebted because of their history of oppression.
Postcolonial city tours are an educational method that can bring awareness to European citizens. Many young people in Europe lack basic knowledge about colonial history and neocolonial power structures today. By showing buildings, street names, monuments, artifacts or stories that showcase the colonial heritage and neocolonial present of a city, youth can get motivated to hold their governments and companies accountable through civic action.
Our objectives with this seminar: While several cities in Europe already benefit from having offers of
postcolonial city tours, we want to broaden the spectrum and motivate more youth organisations to
start their own tours. Some thoughts we have:
- We want to exchange best practices around how to conduct postcolonial city tours.
- We want postcolonial city tours to be an offer in more cities in Europe, North Africa and Southwest Asia and support each other in creating them.
- We want to discuss how postcolonial city tours can be used as an educational method specifically for young people on a local level and in international youth projects (such as volunteering camps, youth exchanges, volunteer preparation, etc.).
- We want to discuss how postcolonial city tours can be used as a tool of empowerment for BIPOC youth.
- We want to discuss how postcolonial city tours can include intersectional perspectives (e.g class, gender, sexual orientation, dis/abilities) both in terms of content and methodology.
- We want to create a network of organisations and collectives that offer postcolonial city tours with young people and we want to stay in touch also afterwards, creating a bigger follow-up project after this.
Outcome: Apart from initiating new city tours and improving existing ones, we want to:
- Create a network of like-minded organisations working on postcolonial city tours
- Create guidelines in English for youth workers on how to do postcolonial city tours with young people
- Add a new chapter on postcolonial city tours as an educational method to the SCI toolkit „Picturing the Global South: The Power Behind Good Intentions“.
The participants will be awarded with certificates after participation and the practice phase.
About the organisers: SCI Switzerland is part of the international network Service Civil International
(SCI). SCI Switzerland organizes volunteering and educational projects that contribute to peace in a
broad sense: to social justice, sustainable development, equality, solidarity and non-violent conflict
resolution. While we have worked on colonial history before, we are currently only developing our first
own postcolonial city tour of Bern. Looking forward to exchanging ideas with you! 🙂
The project has space for 25 participants. All participants selected for this project should meet the
- Be 18 years old or older
- Live in one of the countries of our partner organisations: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jordan, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland, Tunisia
- Be able to work in English
- Have experience with postcolonial city tours OR be active in an organisation and motivated to start a postcolonial city tour
- Be able to attend for the full duration of the seminar
- If somehow possible and feasible, be committed to come to the training without flying, and to travel instead by overland route.
We explicitly encourage participants of all classes, educational backgrounds, genders, sexual orientations, abilities and ethnic backgrounds to apply.
Logistics, financial conditions and sustainability
Simple life: The seminar will take place in a scouts center with very simple living conditions. You will sleep in a room shared with other people. We will ask you to bring your own sleeping bag + pillow and we will do our best to provide them for those for whom it’s not possible to bring. Showers are shared with other people as well, we will make a shower schedule.
Money, money, money: We can cover all essential costs of the program (including food, travel costs up to a maximum amount, visa costs, accommodation and seminar) through a grant by the Swiss government agency Movetia. Your sending organisation might ask for a small participation fee.
Sustainable food: The food we provide will be vegan. This is not just a practical decision, but also an ideological one: SCI believes in the values of sustainability and climate justice – and if we want to contribute to a more peaceful planet, we need to give up on industrialized animal agriculture and its destructive effects on our planet.
Sustainable travels: This is also why we ask you to come to this training through more sustainable means of transport rather than flying (e.g. by train or bus), if somehow possible. We will give you more guidance on how you can reach the venue, once you are accepted to the seminar.
How to apply?
You can apply by filling out this application form. All those accepted will later receive a detailed infosheet (incl. info on how to get to the venue, how to book your travels, more info about the agenda of the project). First deadline for applying is 30 September 2023.
Contact: If you have any questions regarding the project and your application, don’t hesitate to contact
Sara and Thomas at firstname.lastname@example.org. We are looking forward to your application 🙂
The coordinating team
Sara, Thomas and the SCI Switzerland team