Bournemouth University is proud to host (8-21 July 2017, Atrium Gallery; & 12 July 2017, Fusion Room FG06, as part of the Festival of Learning 2017) an exhibition of photographs, films, animation and radio material celebrating the award-winning international youth programme ‘The Complete Freedom of Truth’ (TCFT). Involving over 600 young people from 12 countries, TCFT aims to use cultural and artistic activities to provide creative leadership skills, increase social cohesion and raise cultural awareness for young people across Europe, including those from disadvantaged or disenfranchised social groups. The main project (2015-17) drew on an Erasmus + grant, acquired by our partner organisation, the UK charity and performing arts company Opera Circus.

Bournemouth University is a key TCFT partner, having agreed to fund a research assistant (myself) and leading the way to a PhD studentship in order to analyse, evaluate and disseminate the activities’ impact and methodologies across academia and the third sector. Tolerance, inclusiveness, deeper learning and an understanding of the other is at the heart of TCFT, which transcends language barriers and creates safe spaces where emancipatory change happens. From a research and impact perspective, TCFT is a goldmine of information and empirical data, raising perhaps as many questions as it attempts to answer. What is the role of art, culture and creativity in fostering new models of participatory democratic citizenship in a (post)Brexit era? How do young people across Europe cope with the economic, cultural and psycho-social challenges of a world increasingly marred by political sectarianism, suspicion or prejudice? Why has TCFT been so successful in giving rise to a nascent international community that believes in resolving some of the world’s most stringent problems through the apparently simple tools offered by inclusive dialogue, self-expression, and the arts? How can one evaluate, let alone quantify, the many layers of empathy, spontaneity, improvisation and deep affective and performative connections that articulate TCFT?

Over the past four months, I have begun the process of recognizing and outlining the considerable wealth and breadth of primary and secondary material generated by this project. Alongside the empirical data directly collected by me during the TCFT Sarteano Residency (2017) (over 20 hours’ worth of participant observation and interviews), the BU-curated TCFT Research Archive includes high-quality radio and animation material produced using Bournemouth University’s media facilities (Bournemouth University TCFT Residency, 2016), professionally-produced TCFT documentaries, as well as articles, critical reflections and discursive interventions (co)authored by the young participants themselves, both internally (TCFT blogTCFT ‘Book’ Project) and externally (incl. testimonials published for Arts University Bournemouth and The Huffington Post). Not only has Arts Council England selected TCFT for a case study in October 2016, but the project’s creator, Opera Circus Artistic Director Tina Ellen Lee, has presented TCFT’s mission at conferences and workshops across Europe, in Belgrade, Bucharest, Manchester, Brussels, Aachen, London, and Rome.  Tina is a Salzburg Global Seminars and Winston Churchill/Finzi Fellow, whose work in Eastern and Central Europe was awarded the European Citizen’s Prize in 2015. TCFT also won the UK section of the EU Charlemagne Youth Prize in 2017.

We are currently working on extending the BU-TCFT research network (which includes Susan Sloan, Lecturer in Computer Animation, and Jo Tyler, Lecturer in Radio Production, both of whom helped create and curate TCFT material in 2016) and have begun a cross-faculty collaboration with Dr Stephanie Schwandner-Sievers, whose anthropological work on community building and conflict transformation in Kosovo intersects many of TCFT’s activities, particularly those undergone during our 2015 Srebrenica residency. As we look forward to submitting future funding bids and developing at least one university-wide REF impact case study around TCFT, we are keen to draw on BU’s wide research talent base and involve more students and academics in the mining and dissemination activities around this eclectic and very much alive database of interviews, testimonials, films, and photography.

We are happy to invite all interested students and staff to join us on 12 July 2017 in the Fusion Building (FG06) (12:30-17:30) to celebrate through music, film and dialogue three years of our TCFT-BU partnership. The exhibition will also run separately in the Atrium Gallery, Pool House, between 8-21 July 2017 (10:00-18:00). If you have any questions, proposals or if you think your own research touches on some of the themes above, please do not hesitate to contact us at

At 16.30 there will be a screening of a documentary, number four in a series, about TCFT. Full details here.

Dinu G. Munteanu, PhD, 29 June 2017

Article written for the Bournemouth University Research Blog, July 2017.

BU-TCFT Research Team: Professor Stephen Jukes (lead academic), Dr Dinu-Gabriel Munteanu (research assistant), Avril Harrison (project manager; TCFT liaison officer); Tina-Ellen Lee, FRSA (TCFT creator, Opera Circus Artistic Director).