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28/02/2023 News

The association Auteurs Solidaires helps young people learn about their history

“Tell me your life story!” is an original artistic creation experience initiated by Auteurs Solidaires for high school students in socially vulnerable situations or with educational difficulties. TotalEnergies Foundation supports this initiative which contributes just as much to the young people’s fulfillment as to social cohesion.

Since 2014, in partnership with local players, Auteurs Solidaires has designed and proposed artistic creation workshops spearheaded by professional authors from many sectors (the cinema, the Internet, literature, theater, music, radio, etc.). These innovative, socially-oriented cultural actions are more specifically aimed at the territories and priority audiences (schools, retirement homes, prisons, etc.)

This is how Auteurs Solidaires came to create the “Tell me your life story!” project which enables young people to enjoy a shared creation experience by reconnecting with their family history. Each year, general education, vocational, and agricultural high school classes or training centers answer a call for projects proposed by their regional educational authorities. The classes participating are involved in the project throughout the academic year.

First of all, the students, with the support of a professional author, are invited to look up their family history and put it down in writing. They are free to keep the story to themselves or share it. Two texts are then presented to a reading committee (composed of representatives of the Region, National Education, partner sponsors and professional authors), which decides on the direction to take: either adapting them to make a short screenplay, setting them to music, making a voice recording for a script or for the radio. This is the start of a second writing phase to give life to the project. Alongside this, each school attends a master class held by a two-person team of professionals (decorators, lighting engineers, chief operators, etc.) to learn about audiovisual professions. Finally, at the end of the academic year, the students present their work to the public in one of the Region’s symbolic locations and a book compiling all of the young people’s stories is also published.

“I think it’s incredible to give high school students the opportunity to try their hand at writing. We encourage them to write just for the pleasure of writing, rather than writing for homework or to prepare a presentation,” enthuses Cesare Capitani, an author and actor who has hosted 20 or so hours of workshop sessions at the George Brassens high school in Courcouronnes. 

TotalEnergies Foundation and Auteurs Solidaires share the firm belief that cultural practice is a factor of personal fulfillment, individual wealth, and a means to boost self-confidence, integration and social bonds. This is why the Foundation chose to support the initiative as part of its cultural dialogue and heritage priority area. 

Since October 2020, the partnership has made it possible to propose “Tell me your life story!” in 39 schools of the Haut-de-France and Auvergne-Rhône Alpes and Île-de-France regions, involving 720 students. 

This adventure, which is both collective and personal, gives young people the opportunity to broaden their horizons, acquire certain technical skills, nurture their imagination, and get to know their own culture. These workshops are also a rare opportunity for them to explore their family history, come to terms with it and look for insights that will help them forge their own character.

For more information:

Article by Thibaut Faussabry, a journalist for Actu Essonne who attended a workshop session at the George Brassens high school – Courcouronnes.
Read the article (in French)

Short documentary of a session at the Jacques Vaucanson des Mureaux high school filmed by Julien Le Roy - Documentary shown
on TV 78 on January 3.
Watch the video (in French)

To discover this year’s restitutions and the ones before, visit the Auteurs Solidaires' playlist on Youtube (in French)