The Free Speech International Foundation and Multi Kulti Collective’s project UnBulgarians was featured as a ‘good practice’ by the European Website on Integration – the European Commission’s official portal for information related to the integration of third-country nationals in the EU. The project is funded by the NGO Programme in Bulgaria under the Financial Mechanism of the European Economic Area 2009-2014.
The UnBulgarians depicts the contemporary Bulgarian multicultural society. Through the use of photography, the project intends to trigger media and public debate on xenophobia, discrimination and integration. It showcases photographs of foreigners living in Bulgaria – EU citizens and third country nationals, including refugees – photographed at emblematic Bulgarian locations, in Bulgarian traditional costumes or holding objects identified as Bulgarian.
41 foreigners of different nations, ethnicity, religion, social status and sex living in Bulgaria were identified and photographed. All participants were also interviewed on the basis of a standard questionnaire aimed at revealing their level of integration into the Bulgarian society, their identity as foreigners in the country and in a broader sense, what defines Bulgaria’s national and cultural identity in the 21st century.
As result, 30 photographs were printed and exhibited in 5 Bulgarian cities (Sofia, Varna, Burgas, Plovdiv, Veliko Tarnovo in the period August – October 2015) as well as in Strasbourg as a part of the Bulgarian presidency of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe (November 2015). The photographs and interviews were published in a bi-lingual (Bulgarian – English) catalogue and website.
With more than 60 appearances on national and major regional media, over 100,000 reactions on Facebook, and more than 20,000 unique visits on the website, The UnBulgarians had a significant media impact.
Photos: Panayot Chafkarov