Mentoring / Workshop / The Tirana-Project

Visual storytelling workshop and photographic mind-focussing retreat
In cooperation with Goethe-Zentrum Tirana
Conducted in Tirana, Albania, Sept. 14 – 21, 2021

Making-of / workshop documentary – The Tirana-Project

Seven participants in a mixed group from Albania and Germany developing their projects.
HD, 38min

Participant works

Jana Islinger, Germany
Project: Shkolla Loro Borici, Tirana

The project was awarded Deutscher Jugenfdotopreis 2022

The Loro Borici School is a football school for young talents in a suburb of Tirana, Albania. It is the last school in Albania to be run by the state since the end of communism. The privatization of sports and the lack of football pitches, especially in urban areas like Tirana, are both consequences of the transition to capitalism. Instead of focusing on training talents, many schools aim to generate as much capital as possible with the expensive fees. As a result, football also becomes a source of social exclusion. Against this background, the Loro Borici School appears to be the last resort for the dreams of those boys who have no chance for an elite education.

Due to my documentary project, I had the opportunity to follow the daily life of the boys in this last public football school. The high school not only prepares its students for final exams but also provides them accommodation to live on the campus during the academic year. The school day consists of daily training sessions on the football field and lessons related to their matriculation standard.

Contrary to all other football schools, this school is only about the young athletes' achievements and not about the financial circumstances of their families.

„We want to play for a national team. It‘s our big dream“ - Tomas, student of Loro Borici School

For many of the students, the Loro Borici School is the hope of realizing their dreams and one day playing for Europe’s top teams.

Nadia Abazi, Albania
Project: Creating Youth

This photographic project is an ode to art and the beautiful people who want to share it with the world.

(A), (S),
dancers and drag performers

Kevi, 21
street and graffiti artist

Kejsi, 19
aspiring dj and music producer

Nina, 20
visual artist

Aleks, 23
photography enthusiast

Albana Dedvukaj, Montenegro / Albania
Project: The paradox of a city

It’s not very difficult to notice the extremes coexisting in Tirana.
As soon as you enter the city you can find a very old house, next to it a tall building, after it a big shopping center, and then a luxurious hotel that stands ‘proudly’ among them.
When waiting at the traffic lights, you see more Mercedes cars than in their manufacturing city. And right next to them, you see poor people asking for money.
I find this very strange because it looks like this coexistence of extremes was in ‘peace’ with each other. But the rich people don’t care about the poorest, and the poorest ones, accept their destiny without any effort to change it…

Lukas Ratius, Germany
Project: work in progress

Starting a larger body of work related to female activism in Albania

Niklas Keller, Germany
Project: The Notion of Home on the Example of the Bird – Reconquering Home in Albania

For a long time, hunting in Albania was reserved exclusively for the political elite, until after the fall of the communist regime in 1990, hunting became a kind of popular sport. Since then, the wetlands around Albania's coast, so important for migratory birds, no longer provide a home. Rather, hunting pressure has been the deciding factor for many species to fly widely around the area with great effort. The ban on hunting, which was imposed in 2014 with great publicity, is nevertheless no help in the resettlement process - in practice, the ban is not really applied and even prevents the only reasonable solution: regulation of hunting according to the Croatian model. Representatives of the environmental protection organization PPNEA as well as the official hunting association of Albania advocate this.

Erion Kumuria, Albania
Project: Amnesia – a loss of collective memory

It was always in my mind, like a fixed idea, dedicating a series of photographs to the destructive phenomenon of collective memory loss in Albania. To me it seems as the people have forgotten or are forgetting their past, focusing exclusively on dealing with immediate needs of the present or future. A kind of mental state where the past is erased day by day, consciously or unconsciously, and where only the present/future are paramount. I find myself witnessing all this and I fear the hybrid future which awaits ahead.

Please find a complete project description here:
The corresponding video here

Magdalena Wittmann, Germany
Project: Young Albanians and their rural exodus

Migration is a big issue for the Albanian society. But it is not only external emigration that plays a role; young people are drawn away from the underdeveloped countryside to the capital. Their reasons seem obvious: a better future. But what do young Albanians really dream of?
How do they find their identity, what drives them, and what do they really have to deal with?

During the documentary workshop I had the chance to meet some young Albanians and to spend time with them. They are critical and exhausted and passionate and committed. They want to create an Albania of tomorrow, a home where they can flourish. 

Who can they be? Who must they become? or
Who do they want to be and who may they become?

23-year old Edra says: „It’s frightening to be different and to be experimenting in front of other people. It’s easy to adapt and hard to listen to yourself,“ and "home is your body and no country can give you that when you don’t give it to yourself.“

This function has been disabled for Jens Schwarz.