Past Projects – Europe

Photo Credit: Project Phakama



In 2002, Project Phakama UK embarked on a two-year research project with cultural and community organisations in Germany, Gran Canaria, Northern Ireland, Poland and Portugal. Funded by the EU’s Grundtvig Programme, we explored the question: ‘How can art act as a catalyst for social inclusion and shared inter-cultural learning?”

The project fell into four phases:

  1. In Gran Canaria we explored the similarities and differences between work undertaken in each country
  2. In Poland we focused on work undertaken in rural communities
  3. This phase enabled participants to experience working in a different community
  4. Finally, Phakama participants hosted learners from each country in London

Message in a Bottle


It is estimated that by 2025 more than half of the world’s population will be facing water-based vulnerability.

The presence of water is essential to the creation of life and beauty; its lack leads to destruction and socio-political unrest. These realities inform Message in a Bottle.

This project started in November 2011 and has enabled young people from six European countries to investigate, creatively and practically, how water (or the lack of it)

has an impact on their lives. Water was used as a metaphor for cultural exchange, creative dialogues and environmental learning.

The project facilitated collaboration between young people from the UK, The Basque Country, Poland, Portugal, Turkey and Ireland through virtual dialogue, exchange visits and local small-scale performances. In June 2012 Phakama UK hosted 64 young people from all the six countries over two-weeks to create a site-specific performance inspired by all the learning that took place.

After two international exchanges in London, Phakama embarked on a third phase of the project entitled Tributaries. In the Spring 2013 we worked with Archaeologist Mike Webber and a team of young artists investigating artefacts, stories and histories of the river Thames and its tributaries.

The young artists then turned the findings into music, poems, drama, painting etc. This format was implemented through science and arts workshops at Guardian Angels primary school leading to a shared public outcome.We aim to roll this project out across London involving larger number of primary schools actively engaging with the river Thames and its’ tributaries.

For more information on Message in a Bottle initiatives around Europe visit: