«A special night»

Andrea, a Spanish volunteer, proposed at the beginning of the lockdown to do what she calls the “Noche de el vino”. She told us that she was doing this with her friends in Spain, that it was a way to relax together and share our feelings about life.

It’s true that when the lockdown started, we were all afraid of getting into a routine. Especially in a house with all the volunteers, we had to find activities to keep ourselves busy. Everyone offered game nights, movie nights or just parties. Sometimes we were just together in the living room, each one working on his computer and saying nothing. Or sometimes the tiredness of work would catch up with us and we would all laugh together. We also organized lunch all together on Sundays; “intercultural meals”. Some of them offered choreography, others yoga sessions. These were usually high-energy activities where everyone offered to show what they could do.

The “Noche de el vino” was totally different from the activities we were used to doing. We started to clean the living room, to light about twenty small candles on the table. Everyone was there, we turned off the lights and put on soft music. Andrea lit incense for the room. Everyone was relaxed.

Then Andrea started the evening. The goal is that everyone has to share a poem, a text, a song, the lyrics of a music, and in the language you want. We heard beautiful Greek, Russian, Spanish, Portuguese poems, Italian rap, Polish song, a Russian poem, a Portuguese video and I shared a French song. It was a real intercultural moment.

It was also an intense moment of emotions, tenderness and sharing. Each face was lit by candles and smiles. It was also a moment of stress, of fear because everyone’s eyes are turned towards you when you read the text. It is a moment of fragility with yourself where you open your heart and your mind to others, you find yourself vulnerable. And this is the strength of Andrea and the volunteers, that when you feel vulnerable and fragile, they welcome you with open arms in a warm and tender hug.

Written by Pauline Quentel, international volunteer at Action Art/ Εικαστική Δράση.

Art by Katerina Stavrou

 

I passed my first lockdown in Venice. It was a hard period and art was a refuge for me. The lockdown and my experience in Venice, was the inspiration for my street performance “Venezia Risvelio” in July of 2020. I made my costume and with the help of my acting coach Savino Liuzzi, I prepared my performance. It was my last goodbye to Venice. A new city and a new life. Thessaloniki. But a lockdown again. Art is again my best friend. I can continue be creative even from home. When the restaurants and bars closed, I started my lockdown project, a quilt. Each square of the quilt is another day of the lockdown. The final size of the quilt depends of how long will be the lockdown. I hope not a king size double. The colours, that I chose, are black and red, black for the days that I am in a bad mood, red for the days that I am in a good mood, and half black half red for the days that I am demi, or I start well but then my mood change, or the opposite. I am thinking to prepare a street performance with my quilt after the lockdown, when the situation will be better. Also, the christmas inspired me. In Greece traditionally, they decorate a boat, not a tree. So decided to do, with the help of my flatmates, an alternative boat. It is made by a lot of origami boats and plastic sheeting. It costed literally nothing. I found everything in home. Home is now the only place that I can express my creativity. My flatmates are my audience. What I want from 2021? Performances, films, concerts, festivals, cities full of art.

Text written by Katerina Stavrou international volunteer at Sympraxis, Partnership for Gender Issues

Photos: Katerina Stavrou

My „In my Art“-experience

Between October 15th and 21th of 2020 I attended an online training course of the European Project named „In My Art“. This online training was led by two youth trainer of the non-governmental organization ,,Per esempio“ from Palermo in Italy. 14 young people and adults participated from different European countries, such as France, Italy, Greece, U.K., Spain and Germany. Due to the situation of COVID-19 the whole meeting was a virtual based course, which had no effect on the intensity of its’ content-related and personal aspects.
I was kind of excited, because I didn´t know how this form of training would look like. Firstly, it was new for me to interact with people I did not know and secondly it was an art-based training, therefore for me it seemed to be an impossible mission to do this online. We started at 9.30 a.m. on October 15th. I was sitting in my office with my Ipad on my desk, hoping my Internet connection would stay stable and wondering how I would overcome my insecurity in front of people that I didn´t know. A group of different people from Europe were sitting in front of their. The youth trainer started to introduce herself. It started with a little round, where every participant had to introduce herself. Then it continued with the question ,,what is art for us”. Some showed pictures of things they admired, others showed a drawn picture, or a sketch. According to the fact that I love colors and paintings that build a special atmosphere, I spontaneously chose the painting „the open window“ by Henri Matisse, from 1905. In other sequences we got some imagination exercises like describing a picture with only one word. We started to “break the ice” step by step, led by ourselves. Here actually it started to get really interesting for me: Imagination. All the exercises had the purpose to improve our focus on our own creative potential. Then the participants were divided into different little groups to deal with different tasks in a shared environment which was an opportunity for personal exchange. On the third day some participants had the possibility to present something of their own. One started to read her poem, and another showed his song played on a guitar.

For me it was a wonderful experience to get know the others better. Being in a group where everybody gives personal insight of herself, was a very precious and meaningful experience for me. Together we created a safe-space with clear rules and nice behavior, that were unspoken and came from our own. It was wonderful to be in a group where everybody respected and accepted each other. This experience showed me how an intersectional society can be created by single individuals who coexist together by accepting oneself without being directive.
“Arte migrante“ is an activity characterized by its’ purpose to create intersectional societies though art and to improve one´s creative potential. I think this approach is well chosen in the work with young people. I believe that in every one of us you can find an artist who needs to be empowered and wants to rise. Art is the way in which we see the world and we are connected to the world. It determines the way we feel, act, think and communicate. Especially in the time when we are on our way to become adults, an art-based youth work can improve the self-reflection and the will to explore oneself. Everything starts with something small. A little flower seed that starts to grow to become a wonderful flower. So, I see this workshop as a wonderful journey with other people on my way to become a better me.

Five days of Training Course: a brief report by USB

Five days of Training Course: a description

A brief report about the Training Course

For five days, between the dates 15th and 21st October 2020, two Youth Workers per each partner organization met in front of a camera to attend the Training Course online. The short-term-joint-staff training event focused on two key moments:

  • sharing the results of the Action-Research activity (IO1) and
  • learning about Arte Migrante methodology.

Per Esempio Onlus led the event as Hosting Organisation and, with the help of Arte Migrante representatives, prepared the training based on the Arte Migrante methodology.

Each training day has been introduced by an ice-breaking and energizing exercise that created some sort of link among the participants (which, remember, are located in Italy, Spain, Greece, France, Germany, and England) disregarding the physical distance. One last activity before closing the daily session was the debriefing leading to self-reflection that participants conducted into small groups specifically created.

The first training day aimed to getting to know each other and learning more about the project developed within the Erasmus + Programme. Other topics approached were the concept of life-long learning and the key competences within the Youthpass certificate; in this sense, the participants had the opportunity to develop a personal learning plan.

Remarkably, since the very beginning, the cooperation among the team lead to overcome easily any technical problem encountered during the first online training ever realized by the partners.

 During the second training day, the first half of the session has been dedicated to introducing the concept of e-mentoring that is going to support the piloting phase and the implementation of the youth activity. Asociación Caminos was in charge of the presentation and will lead the following e-mentoring meetings too. Definitely, the combination of mentoring and e-mentoring can be considered the most flexible option given the current health situation globally.

Then, each partner organization had the possibility to relate the results obtained from the Action-Research phase. At the end, such results have been analysed and structured in the following visual way using the SWOT Analysis template:

The second half of the day has been dedicated to a brainstorming activity aiming at developing a key idea of what Art is, starting from the personal experience of each participant. In fact, each Youth Worker described the way he or she expresses personal ideas through artistic creations.

This can be considered a sort of introduction to the third day, when the Youth Workers involved had the opportunity to attend an Arte Migrante simulation, hear more about this kind of events and get their doubts or questions clarified.

But what it the methodology that supports Arte Migrante events? Once the frequency has been established (weekly, semimonthly, monthly…), there are three phases that are repeated each time:

  1. Games that work as icebreakers
  2. Shared meal
  3. Artistic expression of the oneself

It is important to stress out that this is a non-judgemental moment of caring and confrontation: people come to be together and find friends inside the community. The Arte Migrante events are intended as a spontaneous meeting and a safe space for sharing, this is why there are not too many fixed rules. At the same time, specifically for logistic purposes, is required to create a coordinating group in charge. During the presentation the founder of the first Arte Migrante event, Tommaso Carturan, gave his speech telling more about how the whole project was developed and why.

After the break, a first chunk of three of the partners organisations presented their own stories of successful projects related to Art and Inclusion. Each presentation triggered a deep discussion about the Good Practices developed within.

The rest of the partner organisations had the opportunity to relate their own experience the next day. The fourth day was also a moment for self-reflection: it has been asked to the participants to describe in which role they see themselves during the development of the Arte Migrante project.

This was the premiss for the last day of the training course, particularly focused on planning the following steps. Participants discussed the management of the piloting phase (this also included setting deadlines and a first meeting for the e-mentoring). It has been very important to outline a first Coordinating Meeting and a first public Arte Migrante Event. That’s how participants confronted their work with some critical points concerning especially the restrictions imposed by covid-19 outbreak and tried to come up with a solution together.

It has been remarked that the non-formal activities should involve young people, whose profile has been outlined during the Action- Research phase, and should touch topics such as:

  • Art and Culture
  • Artistic expression of the oneself
  • Overcoming stereoptypes and prejudices

It’s very important to discuss these topics with the young people involved. During a series of workshops the debate around these themes should be ignited and it’s expected prepare them for the coordination of the event. The desired result is to develop a sense of initiative into these young people.

After the break participants heard the stories of coordinators coming from other Arte Migrante experiences under the section “Inspirational Talks”. This has been another moment of reflection, discussion and solution of doubts.

Finally, before the goodbyes, one last debriefing took place: the Youth Workers took some time to reflect on the 8 key competences of the Youth Pass they acquired or enhanced, in a very peculiar way: first, they assigned one colour to each specific competence and then filled a jar with the sand in the respective colours. Each one of the participants created a unique output as the amount of sand poured in reflected his or her personal assessment.

Have a look!

The article has been written by Chiara Parrucci, participant in the training course from USB. The