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Page last updated at 14:35 GMT, Tuesday, 30 June 2009 15:35 UK
Belonging: the formation of communities

By Penny Wrout
BBC London Communities Editor

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A sense of belonging has different meanings as these three films show.

Many Londoners puff out their chests with pride as they announce that they live in the most multicultural city in Europe.

It's certainly true that people from right across the globe are living in our city, but we are far from being the only culturally diverse capital in Europe.

Like London, Paris and Lisbon were once capital cities, not just of their respective nation states, but of extended empires.

The colonial ties of France and Portugal may not have been quite so extensive as Britain's, but they were certainly far-reaching.

Lisbon, Paris and London, have well-established communities of residents with ties reaching back to the colonial past, mixing with more recent arrivals.

For people from these mixed backgrounds, what similarities and differences are there in the experience of 'belonging' in these cities?

Three groups of young people from Newham, Casal da Boba in Lisbon and the 20th arrondissement in Paris, were given the opportunity to explore the idea in short films.

Filming in Newham for Belonging
Filming in Newham for Belonging

They concentrated on themes around identity and the making of new communities. They also visited each other's neighbourhoods and compared their films.

What emerged is a vision of how young people manage multiple, flexible identities, frequently feeling a strong sense of belonging to more than one place or group.

The organisers, from the Runnymead Trust and Manifesta, noted that the films made in London focused heavily on cultural identity, whereas those made in France and Portugal interpreted the remit more broadly.

Here we give you the opportunity to view three of the films made by young people in Newham.

You can see all 43 of the films here.





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