Colourful, loud and intercultural – the Cameo Collective

“We believe that every human being enriches our world, regardless of their origin. He or she needs the chance to do this – and this starts in our heads. We’ve found that talking to each other helps – putting ideas into practice even more so.”

von Cameo Kollektiv

Lots of creative minds: all people, regardless of their origin, having their say and networking with each other – that’s the Cameo Collective (German name: Cameo Kollektiv), an association that uses its projects, campaigns, workshops and high-quality publications to create space for more diversity.

The aim of the Cameo Magazine is to spark debate about the ‘refugee question’, the first two editions starting with portrait shots of newcomers and letters they had written on the subject of hospitality. The photos and texts came from refugee accommodation in Aachen and Kloster Weingarten where the photographers Sebastian Cunitz and Julius Matuschik each spent several weeks.

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Published in the Cameo Magazin “Thoughts about Hospitality”. Kloster Weingarten, Germany. Photos: Cameo Kollektiv

An extract from one of the letters published in Cameo Magazine:

“We’re 37 lads – 6 Cameroonians, 12 Nigerians and 19 Eritreans – and we all arrived here at the same time. All things considered, the first month was good. The living conditions here are really good. Two or three people share a room with a bathroom and there’s a communal kitchen and a large living room. Sister Ines and Sister Regina look after us.

Thanks to German hospitality, we get €329 per month, which we use to pay for food and other life necessities. As is often the case in life, there are both advantages and disadvantages here. Goodwill and ill will. The word ‘racism’ exists all over the world.

I think that we’ve all been created from one and the same all-powerful god, which is why refugees should be handled in exactly the same way as other people. Given the behaviour of many Europeans, I ask myself day and night whether it’s a crime to be black-skinned, as this is how people sometimes treat us, as if we weren’t human beings too. We all die, regardless of whether you’re rich and healthy or poor and sick. We’re all the same.”

Motivated by experience of the work to date, the expanding initiative would now like to highlight the personal perspectives of even more people, giving each one of them a voice. The new motto for the third edition of Cameo Magazine as well as for other current projects has now been drawn up: Making identity both visible and tangible.

The new edition aims to create a platform that every creative person can get involved in. Authors themselves decide their own form of expression and statement, which creates space for discussion and vigorous debate.

Preparations for the third magazine are currently in full flow, the new edition dedicated to a broad theme: arrival.

The aim is to determine the magazine’s topics and content via collective collaboration. Every interested person in the Hanover area is invited to help shape the project using creative means, and to express their thoughts in the form of contributions. By opening the doors to diverse contributions, this third edition of the magazine is trying out a new concept: the association is focusing on the diversity of participants who are able to meet and communicate as a result of working on the magazine. This is something that concerns everyone in our society one way or another. But above all the collective wants to contribute to the building of bridges. Its efforts in this regard will support the arrival of newcomers in our society in the coming years.

For more information about the Cameo Collective and other exciting projects, go to www.cameo-kollektiv.de.

Translation: Nickolas Woods