This online workshop was held during the 18th European Week of Regions and Cities in October 2020.
Cities across Europe have been developing strategies to address the rise in xenophobic populism and hate speech reinforced by traditional and social media, which often act to increase segregation and deepen divides. The key to this has been developing a city-wide approach combining strong political leadership with grassroots action and campaigns by dispelling misinformation and rumours and deconstructing stereotypes. The approach is about much more than a simple information campaign to counter incorrect and prejudice information. Numerous studies show that the simple dissemination of objective data has a minimal impact in influencing perceptions and beliefs.
The main themes explored in this workshop were:
- Developing Inclusive city narratives and using an asset-based approach to present a positive sense of place, including place identity, shared and alternative histories, shared values, city branding, changing external perceptions, shared history and values.
- Political leadership and creating a culture of tolerance and openness- uniting leadership and communities.
- Mobilisation at the grassroots- building strong local networks, supporting young people as community leaders.
- These themes were explored through the presentation of case studies from a panel of speakers from Amadora, Cardiff, Messina and Hamburg-Altona.