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PARIS, FRANCE 06.07.23

The last iteration of The Community Table at the CEDRE came at a time when France has been disrupted by events following the fatal shooting of Nahel M, 17 years old, by a police officer. Many towns and cities in France experienced a surge in urban violence, mostly teenagers and young adults attacking municipal buildings, and the police responded with mass arrests and violent repression. The streets around the CEDRE were eerily quiet, pavements baking in the hot sun.

As we set up The Community Table with our trainees, a group of students drew a « music map » in chalk on the ground. Gradually the two activities merged to become an impromptu installation as we hung one of our maps, added strings and objects, and played favourite songs from different countries on a speaker: India, Mali, Morocco, Tunisia, Bangladesh, Ireland, Italy...

There was a particular fluidity of movement which encompassed dancing, conversations, mending and repairing around the table. “It feels like a party” said a volunteer.

In this bruised country, that somehow made sense.

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