The first edition of the Diversity Days 2016 has been a great success. More than 1000 visitors have assisted to the events organised during the four days. The public, the speakers, the associations who assisted have been captured by the quality of the agenda. For the first time, the main actors speaking out for diversity in Lorient have met together. An initiative claimed by the whole community: 200 participants in the conferences, 800 visitors onboard the VOR60, 300 people in the introduction to archery games and 250 people assisted at the night concert organised by MAPL Studios in the local hall, le Manège (Lorient).
To watch the Diversity Days clip, click here
With its action on diversity, Team Jolokia aims to make a significant impact and bring to the foreground the associations in the area of Lorient promoting community spirit and living together. The main objective of this event was to create new bonds within the local actors, by setting up meetings and facilitating exchange. On Friday, the work done by local associations and institutions was highlighted. The topics covered a range of subjects, including integration of different social groups, such as refugees, mental or physical impaired people, and the protection of their rights. On Saturday, the conference room was packed by the participants who assisted to the two conferences ‘Our differences’ and ‘Diversity wealth or how to determine the value of diversity’. » ont fait salle comble avec pas moins de 130 personnes dans le public. In the first part of the afternoon meeting the participants who took the stage told us about their powerful stories and life experiences. Their overwhelming interventions captivated the 130 people in the public, creating a private atmosphere.
During the coffee break, Jolokia put together several working groups comprised of speakers, people from the public and representatives from the associations, to reflect together upon the question ‘What will we be doing together in our future?’ . To wrap up the day, the floor was given to the representatives of four national associations, Passeport Avenir, Coexister, l’Arche and ECTI. A conference with high level speakers, who have the public a master class in citizenship and humanity!
On Wednesday 4th May, diversity was in the limelight in Le Manège, a concert hall in Lorient. More than 250 people had come together to assist to the night concert and launch the Diversity Days. As a starter, the MAPL Studios introduced Leila, a 17 year old local artist who plays folk/rock music. The second band to enter the stage was Otala, a blues group with rock influences. The two musicians of Otala carried the audience in a folk/rock universe of French lyrics and bucolic melodies. The closing act was performed by Mollo, an artist that combines very different styles, going from hard rock to more melodic music. He’s two and only companions: the drums and a guitar. Three local bands performing in one stage to show how powerful and wealthy the artistic diversity of the region is.
On Friday 6th May, another concert was organised nearby to the boat, at the bar-restaurant La Base, located in the harbour. The guest band was Archi-Deep and the Monkeyshakers, a rock group from La Rochelle (west of France) who set the crowd alight.
Visits onboard the VOR60 – Team Jolokia
Between Thursday 5th and Saturday afternoon, more than 800 people made their way through the docks to visit Team Jolokia’s VOR60. The crew members guided the visits telling ordinary and unexpected stories, giving technical advice, explaining how their act together and, of course, speaking about diversity awareness. Everything was made available to the visitors.
About 300 people participated in the archery workshop, held Thursday and Friday afternoon. Many thanks to the ASAL archery association for their engagement in the Diversity Days.
Life painting and book signing by Guillaume De Bats
Guillaume, the author of ‘Marins d’Audace’, the graphic novel illustrating life onboard of this particular boat and crew, has captured in his sketchbook several moments of the Diversity Days. During events organized in the conference room, he has illustrated the situations with a touch of humour, offering his particular vision of the talks and workshops. On Saturday, he was at a book signing in the bookshop Le Vent des Mots (Lorient).
Exchanges between EPSM Charcot and Team Jolokia
As part of the farewell activities, EPSM Charcot, a institution for mental health and partner of Team Jolokia, chartered a boat to accompany the team in its departure to the French Antilles in the Caribean. Although the trip was no longer going to take place, the 70 patients of the institution, together with their families and staff, have gone on a boat excursion for the day with Team Jolokia. Two vessels were booked provided by the company Escal’Ouest, financed by ASTRE, an association closely linked to EPSM Charcot. The agenda for the day included a boat cruise around the bay of Lorient and a pick-nick at the neighbour town of Port-Louis. A day full of souvenirs for all, specially for the patients, their families and the pupils from the primary school Louis Aragon from Niort (western France). Putting together a boat in the same spirit than Team Jolokia is just a brilliant and sound idea!
It was the occasion to mix the public, facilitate new meetings and sharing opportunities among people, but most importantly, it was the right time to work against difference and physical stigmatisation.
See you next year for a new edition of the Diversity Days!
Copyright photos © Benjamin Simon Lohezic