7 Countries • 12 Professions • 45 Photographers
It all began in 2014 with an idea from Christel Feldhaar, the deputy mayor at the time: How can we express in words and colour that for many years good relations have been cultivated between very different towns and cultures across the whole of Europe and also far beyond? Could a cross-border project provide a worthy celebration of the longstanding links between Bocholt and its friendship and partner towns?
From this starting point, Christel Feldhaar and Petra Taubach (from the town of Bocholt) invited professor of photography Joop van Reeken (of the GrenzBlickAtelier) to consider the project. The flame of enthusiasm was immediately lit. It was quickly agreed, with the help of photography and teamwork to bring young people together to get to know each other and their different cultures. Without much deliberation, the title was born: TeamWork-ZusammenArbeit.
This title brought the theme of work against a background of youth unemployment in Europe “into focus”, so to speak. A base of 12 jobs was agreed, which were to be photographed in the partner towns primarily by young people, to represent the worker at the centre of his/her working environment. What is so typical about a baker in Bocholt? And what about a baker in Aalten, Rossendale, Wuxi, Aurillac? What does a car repair workshop look like in Akmene? How is rubbish collected in Bocholt, Belgium?
Teamwork was presented to the Committee for Town Partnerships, which approved it without hesitation. The next step entailed finding young people from Bocholt who were about to complete their professional training, to take the 12 core photographs in Bocholt. Bocholt-West Technical College agreed immediately, as did Professor Christine Rakoczy. Her students from the course for technical presentation assistants not only took splendid photographs of the professions, but also outlined the basic design for the TeamWork promotional flyer.
The European Photographic Youth Camp took place in Bocholt in the summer of 2015, at which participants from schools in Aalten, Akmene, Bocholt, Belgium and Rossendale successfully completed a photography workshop. Participants from Aurillac, Arpajon-sur-Cère and Wuxi accessed the course through a tailor-made video, to be able to join in the project.
In 2017 the threads from all the partner towns are being drawn together. With the exhibition of the TeamWork Photography Project at the Kunsthaus in Bocholt, we acknowledge the cultural characteristic of the towns, the cross-border cooperation and the commitment of many enthusiastic young people. And – it has all been great fun.
So, to all those who have taken part, we extend a big thank you.