Postcard Intercambio

Stories from Madrid

Postcard Intercambio!
Postcard Intercambio!

Postcard Intercambio

Descripción del Proyecto

A writing project to connect the community  - facilitated by local writers, passers-by in Madrid’s Gran Via will be encouraged to record their stories on postcards. Their contributions will be included in an exhibition that will help us all to understand each other just a little bit better….


Gran Via and central Madrid are full of people, rushing everywhere, going places, but not interacting. In fact, the experience of walking down Gran Via can be a little bit alienating - the whole area feels quite impersonal - what are all these people doing and how are they all feeling? How can we live side by side with so many different people, and never take the time to know them? It is a little bit strange when you really think about it. Moreover, without a little bit of insight, a step inside the shoes of someone else for a change, the important community values of tolerance and understanding can never properly develop. It is true that Gran Via is a big, commercial thoroughfare, lacking the usual community areas that allow for the gathering and building of relationships among neighbours and friends that one finds in smaller 'barrios'. The first 'problem', then, is to find a way around these constraints and create a climate that allows this much-needed exchange. A second problem in the area is that many people using Gran Via are stressed and busy, and don't take the time to stop and reflect on their surroundings. The area is in need of a project that will encourage people to think about where they are, how they feel about their environment - to look at the space with fresh eyes, slow down and appreciate....

Objetivos del proyecto

The Postcard Intercambio works to open the channels of communication and understanding between all the people who live, work and traverse the Grand Via area. The idea is to engage us all in thinking more about others - and also to reflect upon our own experiences in the space, our histories, memories, observations, tales from the street...

Público objetivo del proyecto

The project is open to the participation of all - local writers will be invited to facilitate informal postcard-writing 'workshops' in public spaces, and all passers-by will be invited to participate. This means that the project would touch local residents, commuters, and visitors and tourists to Madrid.


By working with local writers, participants are encouraged to record their feelings about the space they are in - perhaps they have a special memory from the Grand Via area, perhaps they wish to write their frustrations, their dreams, their hopes for the future, perhaps they wish to send a message to someone? The content is entirely open but the writing community will be on hand to facilitate the participants' storytelling and to help them to express themselves. All contributions will be recorded anonymously on Madrid postcards; none of us usually writes a postcard from our home city - rather it is an activity reserved for holidays. Yet, mightn't it be interesting for a 'Madrileno' to select and write a message on a postcard while he is on his way to work? The idea is to get the participant to stop for 5 minutes in one of the designated 'workshop' areas - Plaza de Callao, or Plaza del Carmen? - to reflect, to write and to share. Visitors and tourists will also be encouraged to participate as Madrid is an international city and any exchange of experiences between residents and visitors would be wonderful. All of this will take place in the lead-up to the Noche de los libros in Madrid; traditionally a time when books and authors are out in force, it seems like a great moment to turn the people in Madrid into the writers and storytellers themselves - after all, everyone has a story to tell! As the project develops, and more postcard contributions are made from participants, the results will be collected and uploaded onto a website for public display. Promotion of the website will ensure that locals are encourage to read the entries on the site. And of course, the site will be accessible for anyone in the world, so they can read about the different experiences of people in Madrid. A physical exhibition of the postcards will also be held in the Biblioteca National. Through this project it is hoped that those things we never think to express will find an audience, and that we can all understand each other better through an open exchange of experiences.


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Yago Bolívar




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