Urban Boundaries project: The dialogue as the core of the question “for all”

Authors: FRANCO, Sílvia (1) MESQUITA, Mônica (2)   




The present paper appears as a need to share the birth process of Urban Boundaries Project. A research born from the love of a group of workers and participants of a communitarian project in Costa da Caparica, a coastal village near Lisbon (Portugal).


In daily activities, this project brought together the educators team, and two of the main communities in the village, though invisible ones (Mesquita, 2008). When this communitarian project ended, a majority number of participants shared the desire to keep united, so the meetings started. First the purpose was to create an association, and after many meetings and changes we all realized we had so much to learn with each other. So the question became: how could we enhance the knowledge of those invisible beings? People with so different backgrounds, and so different educative artefacts and practices to teach.


The goal of this Project is to create a dialogical learning movement between the multicultural voices found in the three communities involved (Fishing Community, Bairro Community, and Academic Community), through a critical ethnography (Thomas, 1993). To achieve our main goal, and some independent but shared goals, we defined three major tasks: Critical Alphabetization, Multiple Cartography, and History of Life.


All researchers (three communities) can and should be involved in all processes, nevertheless our main research focus, at the moment, it’s held in Critical Alphabetization, which will be promoted following Paulo Freire’s method (2008). For whom, education is about pronouncing the world, questioning our place, our relationship with all surrounding, (re)discovering ourselves, and several new possibilities…


Choosing this method, we all accepted an invitation to (re)think the relation man-world in a collective dialogue; we hope will allow us to accomplish the ambition of gathering and enhancing local knowledge in a dialogical movement towards an intercultural education.


Keywords: Critical Ethnography, Communitarian Education, Dialogue, Local Knowledge