At Antigel in 2018, the Antidote project turned out to be a success for our participants as well as our partners who all decided to renew the experiment. Hence, Antidote returns with more opportunities and more independence.

The enthusiasm generated by Antidote in 2018 enables us to assert that our actions meet a demand, and more than that, a real necessity: that of working towards more social benefits for all levels of society. Cultural organisations have a real role to play therefore.

As a reminder, Antidote aims to provide social projects in a cultural context in order to foster social and professional integration, as well as a cultural outreach programme and training opportunities for participants.

In more tangible terms, Antidote aims to proactively seek people who are currently living on the margins of society and to provide them with projects that are adapted to their specific living conditions and requirements. This work is carried out in close partnership with the Canton’s social actors, i.e. the people who work with them on a daily basis.

This year, Antidote features four projects

Training programmes

Tailor-made with the aim of empowering participants, the festival’s training programme enables them to enhance and develop their social and professional skills. This internship enables participants to come in close contact with professionals, as well as with numerous volunteers, audiences and cultural offerings. The participants’ work leads to certification, which is very useful for future professional integration or reintegration.

Following their internship with us in 2018, several participants found work or identified a professional project – a great success that shows the tangible impact of such actions.

Training sessions for Antigel Run #4

Organised jointly with Flag21 which works to help integrate migrants through sports and mobilise as well as raise the awareness of migrants and the general public, the training sessions are free of charge and are intended for all runners in the Antigel race. They will take place on Saturday mornings in January to help runners and asylum seekers in Geneva prepare for the race and get to know each together during after-session drinks and snacks with live music.

The training sessions are provided for different levels, from beginners to established runners, and are monitored by specialist coaches. This year, three of our four coaches provided by Flag21 are asylum seekers. These dynamic and motivated expert runners, who are working towards their professional and social integration are used to monitoring groups.

Antigel in the prison environment

Last year, Festival Antigel entered the prison environment for the first time with a moving concert performed by the band Sunfast in Curabilis correctional facility.

Given the enthusiastic feedback of the inmates and the prison staff, and the artists’ positive experience, the Cantonal Justice Department has decided to renew the partnership this year to bring a little bit of the festival to the inmates. Antidote thus helps build bridges between the cultural offering on the outside and the inside of prison facilities.

Intercultural and inter-generational sewing workshop

Finally, this year’s event will feature a novelty with a sewing workshop, where waxed fabric[1]backpacks and tote bags will be made. This will take place twice a week in December 2018 and January 2019.

Supported by the General Hospice and organised jointly with the Activity Centre for seniors in Lancy, this workshop brings together people from different backgrounds and ages, fosters dialogue and includes professional dressmaker/asylum seekers, enthusiastic seniors and young fashion aficionados looking for a professional project.

The bags are then sold during the festival (CHF 18 for backpacks and CHF 15 for tote bags), and the proceeds are distributed to the Elisa-Asile Association which gives invaluable help to asylum seekers in Geneva by providing legal advice. This is particularly important for people who come from far away and who find themselves alone and with no support.


[1] In the aim of sustainable development (an essential factor for Antidote), we have chosen to buy our raw material from Wax d’Afrique’s only two factories in Ghana, through Wax Up, which promotes their products in Switzerland. We thereby help support a regional African economy. It should be noted that most waxed fabrics, although used and sold in West Africa, are produced in China.

Antidote 2019 in a few figures:

Well over one hundred participants: asylum seekers and migrants, seniors, youths and inmates

Partnerships with six Geneva social actors: The General Hospice, Filinea, Scène Active, APDH (Association for the Promotion of Human Rights), Flag21, Office de la Détention

The support of two foundations: Gandur pour la Jeunesse and Sesam

Two team members: Stéphanie Cariage, Project Manager, and Léana Shönenberg, Project Assistant