We love working with the techniques of the castellers because of their values such as solidarity, collaboration, respect, courage, trust … etc.
We realized the power of Castellers to create social cohesion when we built up the castellera colla (Castellers bxl Foyer) in Brussels with different nationalities and cultures.
When you are part of a human castell, you feel part of a family and you work all together to aim for the same objective: constructing a human castell.
The group of castellers that we managed to create was very diverse: refugees who came from the refugee center Petit-Château where we started the first workshops, persons without papers that had just arrived in the country, youngsters and children from the youth house Foyer des Jeunes, to people born in many different European countries living in Brussels…. The activity was a way to symbolize integration and to create a group of friends who made many contacts in a new city by undertaking challenges all together.
Castellers is interesting because of its intergenerational aspect: it is an activity where people of all ages are needed in equal collaboration to reach the objective. Young and old are depending on each other.
In this discipline everybody is always welcome because the more people you have the better it is for the group, which creates a very open-minded atmosphere for people to join the group. When you manage to raise a castell, everybody in the group wins without people needing to lose on another side. In a group of castellers EVERY person counts and is important but nobody can do something alone, which creates a positive dependence and a big solidarity among the participants. Castellers is a perfect anti-poison for an individualist society were people are pushed to think for themselves and forget the collective needs. For all these reasons we love to use this technique in our projects.
What we propose:
- Initiation workshops castellers / teambuilding (Fix group): warming up, confidence games, learning different techniques in group and build a castell in function of the possibilities of the group.
- Open workshop Castellers on public events where people can try different techniques of castellers.
- Acts. We love to combine castellers with other art disciplines like circus, music etc…
For the last Zinneke parade for example, we worked with a group of young musicians, where one of the musicians climbed to the 3rd floor of a Pilar and played a solo in interaction with the other musicians on the ground. Next,we involved an acrobatic choreography to build up the performance before building the construction.
Castellers Bxl Foyer
Working together to complete a castell is a good way to build community: cooperation is essential, and it takes people of all ages, shapes and sizes and a variety of skills – some will need to use their strength, others their flexibility or their sense of balance. Castellers Bxl Foyer was initiated by Marta Meix Garcia when she came to Brussels in 2013, in collaboration with Jonas Mertens and Kris Kaerts. The project started in the center of refugees ‘’Petit-Château” where Jonas and Marta were giving creative workshops every Sunday. Marta brought the project to Brussels to implicate the values into the social work. After one year, Foyer vzw started supporting us to organize the project and thus Castellers Bxl Foyer was born.
Every week we trained in Parvis de Molenbeek, which is a public central place in Brussels.
In the weekend we did performances in many festivals, street events, ignaurations, cultural events etc. Castellers Bxl Foyer participated in socio-artistic productions like Kastelli and Zinneke parade where the castellers where combined with other artistic disciplines.
Marta wrote the thesis of her Bachelor’s degree of specialized educator about the benefits of participating in building human castells. The club of Castellers did acts in Brussels from 2013 untill 2016. Jonas and Marta were also invited to go several times to Vienna, Austria to give courses and coordinate the final act with castellers/circus in the circus school “Kaos”. All ages are welcome and participants need not be athletes, since everyone can play a useful part by taking up their small but vital place within the structure.
Castellers Bxl Foyer were supported by the Castellers de Barcelona.