Les Lilas city : collaborative photographic storytelling of an event

16 December 2017. Published by Benoît Labourdette.
Temps de lecture : 3 min  

Collaborative creation of photos by the inhabitants of a district, to record the memory of an event.

During the 2017 Christmas celebrations, the municipality of Les Lilas (93) supported the actions of the association Better living in the Sentes district in organising festive actions by and for the inhabitants. I intervened to accompany the inhabitants and participants to take creative photographs during the week of activities. These photographs were published in a durable mini website, which tells the story of this week in pictures:

This mini website is accessible via this QR Code (which was printed and distributed at the event and after):
PNG - 17.5 kb

The direct address of the mini-site “Views on the Sentes”:

Project Issues

What is a territory? How is it built? How do you value your own living environment? By what we can live there (architectural, urban, social, educational, cultural, political proposals...) and by the history it leaves in us and in others.

How is a story constructed? Through the story, which has been told through texts and images since the beginning of human history.

A celebration such as this one is a moment of life, of human sharing of which, of course, there are still personal traces in everyone’s memory as well as some beautiful photos in the next edition of the municipal newspaper. But today everyone makes images, from which they could build a more intimate and appropriate collective narrative.

To do this, it is necessary to create a space to promote the heritage value of these images and to support their creation, so that people give more value to the images they will make, to inscribe their own history in the great history. Sharing an artistic, offbeat, amused, deep look....

And to ensure that these traces created by people can begin to constitute a true cultural heritage, sustainable and valued. You start telling your story, and in this way you give meaning to the past, present and future.

Proposed project

Project of photo and video documentation of an event by the inhabitants

by Benoît Labourdette, November 9, 2017


9 to 16 December 2017.


Establish a participatory and playful system for creating a photo and video memory of an event. So that the inhabitants can creatively appropriate the event that takes place in their neighbourhood, and that this constitutes an enhancement, both personal and collective, of a shared experience on a territory. To draw, through the media, a memory of the cultural and human life of a city.


The spirit of the implementation of this project is to give the inhabitants the space to express a personal point of view, in a subjective and artistic approach, on the event. Thus, the memory that will be produced will not be journalistic, but human. It will have an aesthetic interest in itself. This will fill it with emotion, which will give it meaning and sustainability over time.

  • During the event on December 9, 2017, a small stand with several people, which offers two types of activities to the inhabitants:
    • Production of a short subjective film on his vision of the event. For example, we invite people to film a detail by giving their point of view, to make a filmed drawing, to film an action being done. There is a mediation to invite people to shoot in sequence, i.e. in one go, even if it means starting over several times. So the film is finished right away. A sticker bearing a QR Code is given to participants, distributed and pasted in the public space, it will allow easy access to the films, which will be made available online that same evening.
    • Photographs of the event using Polaroid Snap Touch cameras. These cameras make digital photos, which can be printed, in one or more copies, immediately in the form of small stickers. Thus, photographs, both subjective and artistic (thanks to artistic mediation at the time), can be immediately glued in the public space, in order to constitute, even after the event is over, a subjective memory.
  • During the week of December 9 to 16, 2017:
    • Some residents identified on or before December 9 will be accompanied to produce short video vignettes, which will be broadcast on December 16.
    • The artistic team will also produce a short clip, which will include a selection of images of the inhabitants, including photographs. It would be desirable to mobilize residents who make music to produce the musical illustration for the clip.
  • At the end of the event on December 16, 2017, all productions will be presented in the public space according to several mechanisms:
    • Pasted photographs.
    • Mobile video projectors.
    • QR Code.
    • Accompanied public screening.

Article in the municipal newspaper of Les Lilas (January 2018)

The beautiful Christmas in the Sentes district

A great success for this first Christmas in the Sentes district, organized jointly by the City and the association Mieux Vivre au Quartier des Sentes. On December 9, after the inauguration of the tree to the sound of the crazy and musical group Les Grooms, everyone was able to warm up with a glass of mulled wine and listen to a jazz group, before participating in a sound experience thanks to the artist Armel Veilhan. During the week, children’s choirs, the Hydrangea choir, teachers from the conservatory, a storyteller from La Voix du Griot have been performed in schools and retirement homes in the area.
The last weekend was particularly lively with a culinary workshop, a shared meal, the raffle draw and the last concerts at the Café Le Royal, a DJ at the Espace Louise-Michel. A film, Views on the Sentes, made with images of the inhabitants, bears witness to this beautiful event.