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Opera co-creation for a social transformation

Project description

Bringing opera to the marginalised

Traditionally enjoyed by aristocracy, opera will be used to reach out to migrants, rural poor and young offenders. The EU-funded TRACTION project will use opera to define new forms of artistic creation through which marginalised groups can tell the stories that matter now. Experimental projects will be held in Barcelona's inner-city neighbourhoods, Ireland's rural communities and Portugal's prison for juvenile delinquents in Leiria. It will propose new approaches as regards opera creation, digital media, and social integration and community development. It will identify new routes for social and economic integration and form stronger ties between opera producers and society. In the long term, it will define how art can be used to build cohesive societies in which all members belong.


Opera uses all the visual and performing arts to create extraordinary worlds of passion and sensibility. It is rightly recognised as a great achievement of European culture. And yet a form that once inspired social and artistic revolutions is often seen as the staid preserve of the elite. With rising inequality and social exclusion, many see opera—if they think of it at all—as symbolic of what is wrong in Europe today. TRACTION aims to change that using opera as a path for social and cultural inclusion, making it once again a force for radical transformation.
We do not want to make opera palatable to those who don’t attend. We want to define new forms of artistic creation through which the most marginalised groups (migrants, the rural poor, young offenders and others) can work with artists to tell the stories that matter now. By combining best practice in participatory art with digital technology’s innovations of language, form and process, we will define new approaches to co-creation and innovate in three fields: a) Opera creation and production; b) Immersive and interactive digital media; and c) Social integration and community development.
Experimental projects in inner-city Barcelona (ES), a youth prison in Leiria (PT) and rural communities in Ireland will test and share new ideas. Bridging the social and cultural divides involved will challenge many existing beliefs, structures and habits. The exceptional resources of the TRACTION partnership will help us meet that challenge through mutual support. The immediate outcomes will be new routes for social and economic integration for the people involved, better relationships between opera producers and society, and cutting-edge technological development. But the long-term prize is the definition of new processes that renew the art’s potential to build cohesive societies and imagine a revitalised, common culture in which everyone can feel that they belong.

Call for proposal


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Sub call



Net EU contribution
€ 691 062,50
Paseo mikeletegi parque tecnologico de miramon 57
20009 Donostia san sebastian

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Noreste País Vasco Gipuzkoa
Activity type
Research Organisations
Other funding
€ 0,00

Participants (8)