Origins of the project

Prejudices and stereotypes linked to immigration and cultural diversity in general, play a vital role in the creation of an environment more or less suitable for positive intercultural coexistence as well as in the prevention of racism. Rumours make-up one of the most influential means of disseminating said stereotypes and prejudices, reinforcing hostile attitudes towards cultural diversity and certain groups.

In 2010 Barcelona’s City Council implemented a strategy to counteract negative rumours related to cultural diversity, combining a series of strategies including the creation of an “antirumour citizen network”, a public relations campaign, the creation of antirumour agents and variety educational activities. The impact this campaign has had both locally and internationally has highlighted the importance of tackling this reality at grass roots through innovative approaches and methodologies.

The ACSAR Foundation presented the project "antirumours strategy to prevent racism" to the “Open Society Foundations” in order to export the Barcelonan strategy to other cities like Sabadell, Getxo, Fuenlabrada and Tenerife island. All the cities and territories involved in the project are members of RECI-Spanish Network of Intercultural Cities, linked to the Intercultural Cities project of the Council of Europe. The Council of Europe and the Obra Social de “la Caixa” (“la Caixa" Foundation) cooperate with and support the project. UPF’s GRITIM has been charged with the external evaluation while Barcelona’s City Council provides support drawing from its experiences during the implementation of the antirumour strategy.

Objectives

The “Antirumour strategy for the prevention of racism” project’s main objective is the long-term promotion and consolidation of a public relations and education strategy across four Spanish cities. This is based on the experiences of the “antirumours strategy” implemented by Barcelona, which aimed to counteract negative stereotypes, commonplace and false rumours, which abound regarding immigration and cultural diversity, making interaction and coexistence difficult and which can lead to discriminatory attitudes and racism.

Specific goals:

  1. Identify and analyse the main stereotypes and false rumours which circulate throughout four different Spanish cities, while collecting objective and rigorous information to disprove these.
  2. Build a network of social actors in four cities, coordinated by the local council committed to jointly implementing a long-term strategy to combat and counteract stereotypes, commonplace and false rumours regarding immigration.
  3. Design, implement and evaluate an education strategy through a shared methodology tailored to each city, based on Barcelona’s experience, with the aim of consolidating these strategies so that they continue beyond the duration of this project.

Phases and Actions

The project will be implemented throughout 2013 and is divided into four phases employing the series of actions outlined below:

Phase 1: The Rumours

  • Analysis of Barcelona’s antirumour strategy
  • Identification of main negative and false rumours in each area.
  • Rigorous collection of information disproving any false rumours which may be detected.

Phase 2: Antirumour networks

  • Creation and encourage “antirumour” networks
  • “Antirumour Agent” training

Phase 3: “Antirumour Campaigns”

  • Laying-out of antirumour education strategy in each city
  • Preparation of material of the education strategy
  • Implementation and evaluation of education strategies

Phase 4: “Evaluation and dissemination of the project”

  • Project evaluation report
  • Results dissemination strategy

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