IRIS: Intimacy, Relationship & Interculturality in youth work

a team, a mission and a project 


The IRIS project started as good projects often do, when a couple of years ago young youth workers of élan realized they don’t have all the answers they need.  They could not give satisfactory answers to the young migrant participants who inquired about the cultural differences of male female power dynamics in Paris and Dakar.  They did not know what was the “right closeness” with the participants of workshops (whether having a drink together after the session or exchanging private phone numbers was a good idea) or what was the professional or rational limit to the desire to help others in need.  So we searched for answers, but it seemed, that this exciting and crucial domain of relationships has not yet been explored in an intercultural perspective in the domain of youth work.  So we realized we had a mission.

IRIS as a mission

Creating, maintaining intimacy and relationships is always a challenge, to which cultural difference only adds yet another flavor. And if relationships are probably the most important part in young (and less young..) people’s lives, very few schools try to teach the skills needed for them. Similarly, youth workers’ trainings rarely integrate modules on relational issues, on intimacy and sexuality, let alone from an intercultural perspective. Our mission is to better understand these challenges and then find practical and playful ways to answer them.

IRIS as a team

We are a group of four organisations who are quite convinced that creating safe and fulfilling intimate relationships is pretty much the heart of a happy and fulfilled life. And we’re also quite determined in creating playful, creative ways of learning to do so.
Beyond the conviction and the passion each partner is bnringing a special expertise into the project: KEPES (from Budapest) has brought the concept and tools of social emotional learning. LaXixa (from Barcelona) brought theatre methods enriched with process work capable of opening up conflict situations and the complexities of relationships in playful ways. In Touch (from Asmterdam) brought a gentle, positive and safe way of working with intimacy and sexuality.

IRIS as a project

Formally, IRIS is a project (strategic partnership) within the Erasmus+ programme of the European Commission. It is a Youth project, financed through the French National Agency. Its reference number is 2018-1-FR02-KA205-014096

“The European Commission support for the production of this publication does not constitute an endorsement of the contents which reflects the views only of the authors, and the Commission cannot be held responsi­ble for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.” Project number: 2018-1-FR02-KA205-014096