imagine – The festival against racism

This annual festival consists of concerts preceded by various different events and workshops. It is organised by young people for young people and has become an established part of the cultural scene in Basel.
Imagine festival 2007 on the Barfüsserplatz
In 2001, terre des hommes schweiz began its close cooperation with young people in Switzerland as part of the Youth and Violence campaign. The imagine project was born from this venture. It provides a high-profile platform where those taking part and the general public can engage with the subjects of social exclusion, violence, discrimination and racism.

Out of poverty and into discrimination
Migration is almost always triggered by poverty and the hope of a better life. At the other end, the migrants are often greeted instead by racism, social exclusion and discrimination. terre des hommes schweiz runs projects in the Global South to help people to find new prospects and build a future for themselves in their own countries. In Switzerland, we help young people to defend themselves against discrimination and racism and to work for more humanity in politics and society.

By young people, for young people
The most important principle in working with young people is that they should participate and have their say as much as possible. Only then will the engagement be lasting and convincing. imagine is planned, organised and implemented with a high degree of participation by young people. The members of the organising committee each take responsibility for their aspect of the project. This responsibility also includes dividing the work to be done and passing on their expertise to members of the working groups.

Each year, planning for imagine begins with finding a slogan. The slogans in previous years have included "Just imagine…", "Propaganda! When fairytales shape our images" and "Show your colours". This year's motto was "It's obvious, isn't it?"

Exciting workshops
As part of the imagine festival, there are workshops on various different socially-relevant topics. The main idea is to increase awareness of racism. Associated subjects include social exclusion, prejudice, discrimination, beauty, violence and language.
The workshops are planned and organised by an imagine working group. They are intended for schools and youth organisations. The young people are encouraged to think about the problems and reflect on their own experiences.

imagine is culture too
Of course, at the heart of the two-day music festival on Basel's Barfüsserplatz there is a varied programme of concerts and shows taking place on three stages. International, national and regional bands alternate with smaller artistic events such as acrobatics or a poetry slam. Stands serving food from all over the world provide the culinary highlights. The commitment and tremendous sense of responsibility among the young organisers are reflected in the peaceful, rewarding atmosphere of the festival.

In the pre-concert slots of the festival, up-and-coming new bands also have the opportunity to show the public what they can do. This is often performed with the support of a well-known headline band.

Before the music festival itself, there are lots of competitions to do with design or music. It is well worth having a look at the latest imagine programme early on.

The stage and audience at "imagine international" in Kenya

imagine international

Over the years, imagine festival and its values have spread out all over the world. imagine is an international festival!

The Youth2Youth logo


Help for young people from young people.

In all its work in every single country it is involved in, terre des hommes schweiz relies on the strengths of young people. That is why the training programme Youth2Youth has been developed and is growing constantly.