Interview with Christophe La Poster, Member of the Venetian Association: Espace Pandora. Poetry agitator, cultural mediator, academic speaker, he returned to his profession with us which requires patience and passion.
How did Space Pandora end up in Venice?
It is the current director who founded the place 37 years ago. Space was born in Venice and grew up here. I also come from Vénissieux, and it’s culturally complex, so we feel our work is necessary, we can’t find any more newspapers, the libraries are closing … we want to keep the city alive. We want to help children discover, through writing, a form of expression that they will one day be able to use.
How important is this work for the city?
It is often said that violence comes when you can no longer express anything. If everyone knows how to express themselves, be it in us, then in front of the boss, client, it is important to have a weapon. You may have languages around you, but you may have more common languages that let us go elsewhere. We can lock up quickly wherever we are, I’m not a great traveler and I’m also in Venice, I plan to stay there. But my openness got me out of here. I try to tell them that they should not censor the language around them, but should explain it to everyone.
Do you feel in writing that this dual culture can be present in some children from an early age?
We have several projects around this theme. We have a first project that mixes slander and more traditional French, as well as a second project that mixes the original mother tongue and French. We want everyone in the class to understand: teachers and students, this is a dual culture opportunity. Even if you have problems with French, having a second language is a weapon. Don’t be sorry for having gaps in French, it’s a beginner. Some students are 13 years old and already speak Arabic, French and English. It’s a huge asset. At the time of our parents we could only speak French.
Does your job force you to stay here in Vénissieux?
No, I have to move. If they call me to go somewhere else in Lyon, I’ll go there. However, one feels more useful here. We discover things we can’t see anywhere else. If we go to libraries, media libraries, bookstores, we realize that poetry represents a very small percentage. I try to arouse this passion here, to set up big projects. I’m not saying it’s not important to do it anywhere else.
Can your place fill the lack of MJC and school lessons in the suburbs?
The problem with these structures is that they are less frequent. At MJC we mainly find young people between the ages of 16 and 25, whom we can’t find anywhere else, even in EPJ (tools for youth). This is an audience that is no longer interested in what we have to offer MJC can be a springboard for many things: professional meetings, musical meetings … Today we want to be in our small neighborhood and not move around too much. Our dream would be for people to come directly into the Pandora space, because we are an open space, a place of life.
How do you manage to combine your passion for writing with the mediation projects you work for?
It starts not just from me, but from deeper. I did a lot of work with children in animation, I had the opportunity to mix two emotions. I adapt to school-wise requests: themes, resources, ideas, support. The post is always the same: Ask everyone to write! We work the same way young and old, we try to encourage everyone to write. Everyone has something to say, you just have to trust them.
Do you impose writing style?
Aside from the importance of writing, we all have something to say, the right to express ourselves regardless of the subject. I want everyone to write in their own way, I rarely impose form. If older kids want rhymes, they can do it. As a general rule, we leave the choice free.
How do you introduce your work?
Through poetry. I came to the workshop with this question: Do you like poetry? “Often, it’s something that scares, I show them that everyone can have their own poem. It’s a construction of what they can learn in school. They know how to learn by heart, they know how to recite, but they don’t know how to write.”
So what do you do besides being a teacher?
We are a plus, our vision is different. Teachers are not experts in everything they teach children. They give us the basics for editorial, structured writing, but they tell us to work for free-writing, because they don’t know how to do it.
What is your relationship with the kids?
I am the third person for them, the entertainment for someone. This is not a course, there is no right or wrong here. The absence of notes unlocks the fear. Although I always have students ask me if their work is good. I answer them. ” Is it good for you “They must have the right tools to learn something.
You also work with hip-hop and rap musical forms. Is it a new form of poetry?
We are slowly getting there. It’s a poem of his time, in everyone’s words, street swearing. Children are afraid of the expression “poetry” because they are old texts that we don’t understand. Baudelaire, Rimbaud It’s hard, they don’t speak the same language as us. Poetry is also a casual game that highlights the intricate twists of the phrase. There is a question of substance and form.
Are you trying to liberate young people in their writing? Among other things on suburban instrumentalization?
It’s true that I once had a student who wrote me a rap text in high school. He has done freestyle and has already called himself a rapper. We created a workshop on the theme of ecology, he wrote me a text where he talked to me like all the current songs: neighborhood, drugs, women, money … I understand, but I live in the same neighborhood as them, I know it Not everyday life. Of course some people live that life. ” It’s not for everyone, not even for you. If you don’t live it, don’t write it as if you live it. Tell me more about your life, even in song or rap, but work on real writing, so that we believe it. A
Does the theme of rap come to you?
I don’t take it as an excuse. Some groups prefer rap, so we will try to take them to another form. Other projects encourage singing, slam. For me, it’s a form of modern poetry that whether we like it or not, everyone can find their interest in it. We even see it with rappers who start writing books, especially autobiographies. We always talk about one of his writings.
Is rap a discipline that closes doors?
What’s limited is that everyone wants to fully define the genre: slam, spoken-world, song, rap … For me, you can express yourself because it’s an art. Gael Faye, along with Petit Pays, has recently broken a lot of code at this level, like Abdalmalik.
When we talk about Vénissieux, we talk about German and above all, a rapper from Les Minguettes. In the case of this relationship with writing, is it an encouraging path?
The little ones tell me a lot about him. Any success is good, we had footballers, we had musicians … you have to understand that these are hard things to access, but unless someone is inspired, that’s fine! I have only one piece of advice to give them. Enjoy what you do “
In your opinion, is the school unsuitable for the training you provide?
We are still trying to get students to read inaccessible books. When they give you specific references to school, you don’t want to read them, because it’s not an instruction and pleasure. All have the same progress, more contemporary books as long as we give them. By the way, it works. Some time ago I went to a college with a book, I read their first page and some students answered me. ” Where can I buy this book? In the end, it was the teacher who bought it and the students surrounded it to read it. It’s magic.
Do some students want to write after your visit?
We realize that there are already students who secretly write more perfect things in their home. The diary is a little too lost for the blog. There are many more kids who write stories, and that’s great.
Why are the associations moving, but there is no school environment?
That would be ideal. But it costs money and time, it’s complicated. On paper, we have projects that can be done in partnership with National Education. It was difficult for students to live together for 2 years at Covid, so mixing classes or schools is more complicated! We want to create more projects outside the walls. We are in contact with a village in the hills, where there is a dwelling. We want to exchange with them to show them different landscapes. We want to gather in a social center way, around sports or music. If you are a foreigner in the same city, how do you want people from the countryside to cross the Lyon border.
How do you work with the public service?
They don’t have too much scrutiny, but they are interested in our work, they encourage us. We’ve been here a long time, so they support us as much as they can. They are even the driving force, because my mediating position was created to respond to a strong demand related to youth. Previously, it was a location “ Tot 7, now, I’m really a cultural mediator. This is an opportunity, because we do not belong to them, neither in the town hall nor in the public service. So one day if the subsidy is cut, we will not have any problem to fight. The city of Veniceux is a culturally exceptional city: a concert hall (in Le Bizarre), a theater, a cinema, a library, a media library, a festival, an artist… it may simply be missing visitors.
As a subsidy issue?
This is a prominent political issue. If Pandora’s space can’t be theirs and they must be shared with other organizations related to culture: we will share. But if that means subsidies are dropped because we decide there’s nothing else: it’s a shame.
Do you only work with these funds?
Every work we do is funded by our subsidies: festivals, workshops, outings জন্য for the association to exist, our volunteers have to pay five salaries, rent, and even a fee for the artists who come. It’s hard to live without it.
We are coming to the end of the school year. Do you still have something to keep this summer?
Sure. We will continue to develop projects born during the Covid, especially in the summer. We set up a program like that Summer quarter, Where Take some fresh air. Cultural action that leads to people. I will be offering writing workshops, musical lessons, a concert by Jin Sangali in the Viviani district on 5 July. We should create a music and writing workshop with a musician who is with us. We also have an action that we want to set up in the Minguettes market.
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