Comic book workshops and crime prevention with Berthet One, successful comic author

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Paris, October 2013 – Efus offers its members the opportunity to organise workshops on the subject of art and crime prevention in cooperation with the association Makadam that specialises in this type of intervention in prisons, schools and social centres.

The association, created in 2013 by the cartoonist Berthet One and his agent Jamel Jouhri (hip hop producer and manager), aims to make the public aware of crime and what life is like in prison. The activities organised by the association are focused on Berthet One’s own experiences as he spent five years in prison before “getting out of there” and becoming a best-selling author.

Confe¦ürenceEfus2012_3050Berthet One at the 2012 Efus Conference

Berthet One, 36-years-old, grew up in a family of Congolese origin in a “tough” council estate: “the 4000” of La Courneuve in the Seine-Saint-Denis department near Paris. He failed school even though he lived in a “normal” family without any major problems. He began to commit minor crimes (bicycle theft) and found himself fairly quickly embroiled in larger criminal networks.

Convicted of robbing a jewellery shop in Versailles in 2006, he spent five years in prison and, in his own words, “made the most of it” by completing his education, taking his A-levels and getting a vocational training certificate (BTS). His sketches caught the attention of one of the prison guards who encouraged him to pursue this path. One of the activity leaders at the prison urged him to enter the Comic Strip Festival in Angoulême and shortly afterwards an editor went to the prison and offered to publish his first comic book (L’Evasion, which has already sold over 10,000 copies).

Today Berthet One is a famous author. He intervened at the 2012 Conference of Aubervilliers and Saint-Denis on the topic of “art and prevention”. The mayor of Aubervilliers, Jacques Salvator, is a “fan”; he helped him find a place to live when he was released from prison and also offered him to illustrate the municipal newspaper.

Efus met Berthet One and Jamel Jouhri in Paris last June to explore the possibility of organising workshops in member cities. Organised by the association Makadam, these workshops consist of three key phases:

  1. An exhibition where the workshop is set to take place (prison, school, library, town hall, association) that lasts a fortnight.
  2. A meeting with Berthet One. Participants in the workshop discuss their perception of imprisonment, crime and prevention, and what they expect from the workshop.
  3. The workshop itself, led by Berthet One, focuses on writing a comic strip scenario and on drawing techniques. It is divided into two parts: two days of writing the comic strip, and three days devoted to drawing and creating two pages of a comic strip.

For more information or if you would like to host a workshop in your city, please contact Alberto Dotta (dotta@efus.eu).