|The main focus of our project work is the production of a documentary, which shows a small section of atopic’s work and philosophy.
We accompany small-scale fishers at the coast of Ghana and talk to them about their life and work. The fish is their life. It means food and work. Ghana’s coastal regions depend on it. Whether smaller fisher associations go fishing along the coast or people employed in the larger fish industry take their boats out into the open sea – cities such as Winneba live on fish. Sometimes that’s good, sometimes not so much as industry and small-scale fishermen are increasingly getting in each other’s way. We observe, ask questions and document how the living and working conditions of the traditional fisheries look like these days.
We also visit the city of Emden in East Frisia, Germany. Emden used to live on fish as well, similar to Winneba. But for decades, fishing cutters have been casting off for small stuff only. The fishing hub Emden has long ceased to exist. Competing seaports and new branches of industry have changed the region’s economic structure. Emden has lost part of its culture, hence its identity, in the race for economic boom and location improvement. The only thing reminiscent of deep-sea fishing today is the city’s annual „Matjesfest“ (Matjes Herring Festival).
Can cities such as Winneba and Emden learn from one another when it comes to improving their economic situation, preserving cultural identity and having a fulfilled life? Because of the immense pressure of the fish industry, Winneba could soon be in a similar situation as Emden. The fishermen won’t be able to completely avoid a process that has already begun. But what kinds of experiences did Emden’s small-scale fishing businesses make to keep their century-old tradition alive and how could they be made more aware of their history and tradition?
Cities such as Winneba and Emden, which traditionally have a similar structure and economic culture but don’t share the same history, can definitely learn from each other. Networking in a global world is not mere economical but rather human nature. Ghana as a part and a poster child of the „African Renaissance“ (Thabo Mbeki, former president of South Africa) can only take full advantage of the opportunities in transnational networks. And only these networks are presenting the outlook for a globally just world.
The experiences that Africans living in Europe, in Germany, make and have made in the past in terms of interculturality in their daily lives are very important to atopic’s work. These experiences show what has been achieved in terms of transnationality and tolerance so far and what still needs to be done. Our film promotes transnational cooperative networks between European states and countries such as Ghana. Atopic’s tasks are an example for exactly this kind of networking activities. By strengthening and intensifying city partnerships between Europe and Africa, people are getting more involved and are able to realize that they in fact are global citizens.
For this we are looking for people who have a story to tell – their own story. And for those who want to be part of the documentary so that the stories and examples will reach the audience effectively. Are you interested and do you have a story to tell? If yes: Please don’t hesitate to contact us!