Home > Le Carrefour Pop > 2- The Archival Subject's Activities and Philosophies

2- The Archival Subject's Activities and Philosophies

Historians Anna Kruzynski, Isabelle Drolet and Denise Boucher have claimed that the Carrefour d’Éducation Populaire de Pointe Saint-Charles compiled their archives to keep the memory of the neighborhood alive as well as to instill pride in its residents.[1] When one peruses the boxes of archives pertaining to the Carrefour d’Éducation Populaire de Pointe Saint-Charles, one realizes that the archives succeeded in its goal since one rapidly gets a sense of the pride the residents felt towards their neighborhood and the work they did to improve it. The Carrefour d’Éducation Populaire de Pointe Saint-Charles defined popular education as being “un ensemble d’activités et d’actions orientées vers l’insertion d’adultes ou de groupes d’adultes dans un processus de responsabilisation”. What was different about popular education was that it was “une approche non scolarisante” and that it served to offer to its “citoyens démunis ou de millieux non favorisés une occasion ou un prolongement de la formation initiale axés sur l’acquisition de connaissances, le développement d’attitudes et de comportments conduisant des adultes à mieux exercer leurs rôles et à occuper leur place de manière active et critique”.[2]For the Carrefour, popular education had two philosophies. The first one was to understand the needs of its population and to find solutions to these issues. The Carrefour applied this philosophy when it created groups such “Action Alimentation” and “Action Artisanat” which taught their inhabitants about alimentation and craft. The second philosophy of popular education was to valorize the human being. The Carrefour put this philosophy in practice by teaching their analphabet and handicapped residents how to read, write and function in society.

The philosophy of the Carrefour was to understand the needs of its population, to search for a solution and then to inform people on how to improve their lives. The main areas of concern for the Carrefour were to assure that its population was eating well and could provide for itself through crafts. For the people at the Carrefour, popular education was crucial since “elle ne se limitera plus au seul secteur “académique”. Ainsi, pour une mère de famille, avoir des notions minimales d’alimentation et de nutrition serait une nécéssité de base”.[3]This is why the Carrefour created the group “Action Alimentation” which, with the help of a dietitian, would organize meetings that would offer information on how to eat well at a lost cost.

To further educate the residents of Pointe Saint-Charles, the Carrefour d’Éducation Populaire de Pointe Saint-Charles created the group “Action Artisanat”. The group was created after the Carrefour noticed that there were “personnes qui maîtrisent des techniques artisanales peu connues et que ces techniques précieuses qui révèlent notre origine québécoise sont en danger de disparaître”.[4]The goal of the group “Action Artisanat” was to instill cooperation and reach across generations to teach pottery, macramé, knitting and beading.[5] The crafts classes would permit cooperation but also would serve an utilitarian purpose since the adults who enrolled in the classes could sew clothes for themselves at a low price. Furthermore, “Action Artisanat” had a more psychological purpose, which was to increase the students’ self-esteems since they could take pride in the work they created.[6]

The philosophy of the Carrefour to improve their residents’ lives also contained “un principe de base” which was to “valoriser l’homme”.[7] This principle was applied mostly through the classes offered to their analphabet and handicapped residents. To valorize their residents, the Carrefour gave classes to teach how to read and write since the Carrefour saw it as their mission to “travailler à rendre au plus grand nombre possible d’analphabètes l’accès à l’éducation de base”.[8] The Carrefour mentioned that their classes served to try to make their illiterate residents “autonomes dans les activités de la vie courante”.[9] Numerous illiterate students, after completing classes, claimed to finally have control of their lives since they could now read their own mail and take the metro without any help.[10]

The Carrefour also wished to valorize the handicapped residents in their neighborhood and it  believed that popular education was the way to achieve it since the education offered in schools treated handicapped people as children.[11] The Carrefour’s goal towards handicapped people was to “les aider à prendre confiance en eux mêmes, à parler de leur besoin, de leurs problèmes” and to help them to “acquérir un fonctionnement adulte (…) et faciliter leur intégration dans le quartier”.[12]The Carrefour was therefore permitting their handicapped students to develop their opinions and their skills since it made them participate in activities that included movies, cooking classes, discussions and sex education.

In short, the Carrefour d’Éducation Populaire de Pointe Saint-Charles had as its main philosophies to understand the needs of its residents and to try and find solutions to their issues as well as to valorize the human being. The Carrefour was able to fulfill its goal by creating groups such as “Action Alimentation” and “Action Artisanat” which would offer information on how to feed oneself at a low price as well as to how to do useful craft. The Carrefour valorized the human being by offering classes to its analphabet and handicapped residents.

_______________________________

[1]Anna Kruzynski, Isabelle Drolet and Denise Boucher, The Point Is: Grassroots Organizing Works: Women From Point St. Charles Sharing Stories of Solidarity (Montréal: Éditions du remue-ménage, 2006), 15.

[2]Éducation populaire, September 1988, File: Complémentarité- Dossier d’éducation populaire- CECM sept 1988, 2008-0024.01.06.281, Archives populaires de Pointe Saint-Charles, McGill University Archives.

[3]Historique 1969-1970, 1970, File: Carrefour d’éducation de base de Pointe Saint-Charles, 2008-0024.01.06.632, Archives populaires de Pointe Saint-Charles, McGill University Archives.

[4]Action Artisanat, 1979, File: Le pelage: Action Artisanat, 2008-0024.01.06.535, Archives populaires de Pointe Saint-Charles, McGill University Archives.

[5]Définition des centres d’éducation populaire, 1981, File: Définition des centres d’éducation populaire, 2008-0024.01.06.117, Archives populaires de Pointe Saint-Charles, McGill University Archives.

[6]Kruzynski et al., 138.

[7]Historique 1968-1969, 1970, File: Carrefour d’éducation de base de Pointe Saint-Charles, 2008-0024.01.06.632, Archives populaires de Pointe Saint-Charles, McGill University Archives.

[8]Historique 1968-1969, 1970, File: Carrefour d’éducation de base de Pointe Saint-Charles, 2008-0024.01.06.632, Archives populaires de Pointe Saint-Charles, McGill University Archives.

[9]Assemblée générale, 1987, File: Regroupement des groupes populaires en alphabetization du Québec, 2008-0024.01.06.523, Archives populaires de Pointe Saint-Charles, McGill University Archives.

[10]Alphabétiser: pratique locale et vécu quotidien, 1982, File: Alphabétiser: pratique locale et vécu quotidien, 2008-0024.01.06.537, Archives populaires de Pointe Saint-Charles, McGill University Archives.

[11]Définition des centres d’éducation populaire, 1981, File: Définition des centres d’éducation populaire, 2008-0024.01.06.117, Archives populaires de Pointe Saint-Charles, McGill University Archives.

[12]Définition du programme et activités, 1970-1979, File: Adaptation Sociale, 2008-0024.01.06.524, Archives populaires de Pointe Saint-Charles, McGill University.

______________________

 Bibliography

Archives populaires de Pointe Saint-Charles. McGill University Archives.

Kruzynski, Anna, Isabelle Drolet and Denise Boucher. The Point Is: Grassroots Organizing Works: Women from Point St. Charles Sharing Stories of SolidarityMontréal: Éditions du remue-ménage, 2006.