The question we asked ourselves in our group for one assignment during the training was: How can we address and challenge stereotypes, especially in the East-West context?
We used a theatre method called ‘image sculpting work’ in order to explore this issue.
In order to see a larger version of the photos, click on them.
– Two Lithuanian women sculpted the concept of a Lithuanian man, using a Dutch man as their subject.
– A Dutch man sculpted the concept of a Lithuanian woman using a Taiwanese woman residing in Germany as his subject.
– Then two Lithuanian women changed the sculpted image according to their concept of a Lithuanian woman.
– A group of two women and one man with mixed backgrounds sculpted a Lithuanian woman into the concept of a Lithuanian woman.
– We then compared the two concepts of a Lithuanian woman.
– A group of three women with different backgrounds sculpted a Dutch man into their concept of a Dutch man.
– Two women with different backgrounds sculpted a Lithuanian woman into the concept of a Dutch woman.
– Then a Dutch man changed the sculpted image according to his concept.
After the sculptors agreed on the final sculpted image, we asked the person being sculpted how they feel in this position. The sculpted person reflected on how they felt in the sculpted position in relation to their own identity. For the sculpted persons, embodying other people’s concepts of Dutch or Lithuanian man/woman brought the constructedness and often awkwardness of the stereotypes to light. The sculptor reflected on their own bias and assumptions in relation to the sculpted image. In this exercise, the hidden tensions between different aspects of identity (e.g. gender, race, nationality, East-West) are made visible through honest reflection and open discussion. We also considered that it is important to have a facilitated discussion in order to challenge the danger of confirming the stereotypes.
All images are owned by the people depicted, and may not be reproduced or republished without their explicit permission.
Main reason of conducting this testimonial is to evaluate to what extend the training participants can understand and define a notion of “method”.
Since all participants have an academic background and experience in various fields and going to implement acquired knowledge in the future within their community, it is crucial to have a clear understanding about a method.
This survey will help also to assess the quality of the training in the scope of usefulness and appropriateness of the workshops in explaining the notion of “method” and its implementation.
Testimonial has been done by survey. All participants have received a paper with one open question “what is a method?”
The results of this survey will give practical information about the knowledge of participants and can be used as a source in reports by host organisations.
The results of the survey show that 99 percent of participants have splendid understanding of method and could describe it in academic level.
In particular out of 17 surveyed:
11 participants of the training described method as a “way”;
2 participants think thats method is a “tool”;
3 participants wrote different definitions “process”, “activities”, “sometimes an ad hoc justification”
1 responded to the question in a sarcastic way.
During the survey and observations the following were explored:
Firstly, testimonial is a useful approach to analyze the quality of the subject/object being studied and it can be used in a formal and informal education to evaluate the outcomes of particular event, process or other relevant issues.
Secondly, the majority of participants of the training are capable to describe the idea of “method”. As long as they comprehend the meaning of “method”, it is believed that participants are able to implement methods in their academic and professional environment.
Thirdly, the training program has been established in a proper and continent way that could enhance the knowledge, hone skills and foster personal development of the future trainers.
The participants are asked to take certain roles. If the topic is discrimination, this could for example be:
- the discriminated person
- the discriminating person
- someone related to the discriminated person
- someone related to the discriminating person
- a bystander, not related to any one of them.
At least two participants need to be ‘external observers’.
Frozen image: expression by body position, without dialogue or movement.
Step one: the tension situation
The roleplaying participants are asked to construct a frozen image that would depict a situation of discrimination. When the frozen image is constructed, the external observers are invited to describe what they see. Then one by one, the roleplaying participants are invited to finish two phrases:
– ‘How I feel right now is…’
– ‘What I need most right now is…’
Step two: tension resolved
The roleplaying participants are now asked to construct a frozen image that would depict the same situation, but now with the conflict/tension/discrimination resolved. Again, the observers are asked to describe their observations and the differences with the first situation. All roleplaying participants are invited to finish the phrase ‘How I feel now is…’.
Step three: analysis of the situation
Participants are asked to reflect on what they felt, what their thoughts were, what underlaying dynamics might have been in this situation and how this all relates to discrimination and the resolution of discrimination.
Variations and additions
An additional question for the observers during the frozen image might be:
– How about power dynamics? Who do you think is dominating and why?
During our try-out, the person who was embodying the discriminated person noticed that (as a white male) it was difficult for him to ‘get into the role’ of a person that experiences discrimination. We then asked someone who is actually repeatedly confronted with discrimination (a non-white female) to ‘sculpt’ the person in a body position that would reflect her experience and then asked the sculpted person to finish the phrase ‘How I feel right now is…’
To experience empowering, we then asked the white male person to sculpt the non-white female person into a body position that would reflect his experience and asked her to finish the phrase ‘How I feel right now is…’
Benefits of this method
Some of the benefits of this particular method mentioned by the participants were:
- less focus on talking – more feeling and acting
- offers the opportunity of developing empathy; and the opportunity to actually change a situation (at least within the play)
- shows the importance of body language
Risks of this method
Embodied work can be a very powerful method, so it also needs awareness of the risks and some precautions. Taking the time to build a safe container for this exercize is crucial.
- Body expression has a direct impact on our emotions and has the ability to call for strong emotions. If as a facilitator you would like to use a real-life experience as a situation, check with the participants if they feel okay with this, otherwise use an imaginary situation.
- People who need a ‘safe distance’ from the possible emotional impact of the exercize might feel more comfortable in the role of external observer.
- For some people, theater methods or embodied work might feel awkward. It helps if you start the session with a small energizer or exercize that involves body awareness and that loosens up body expression.
- Both the frozen images, the phrases as the anaysis will varie from group to group, as this exercize relates to personal views and experiences. Facilitators need to be flexible and sensitive to the needs of the group.
- Throughout the experience of (strong) emotions, this is also inner work that requires safety. A facilitator should be sensitive to the right timing, for example by planning this exercize at a moment that the participants know each other better than at the beginning of the training/workshop, or for example by only using topics/situations that might involve strong emotions if there is enough time for analysis and recovery after the frozen images.
- If the method of sculpting is used, check that participants are okay with touching and being touched. If participants feel uncomfortable with that, the sculptor can also give verbal instructions
Thoughts of participants about this method
- you need a very sensitive way to instruct this method, especially when you’re dealing with a real experience of a participant – but it can be really powerful and can lead to deeper reflections
To “break the walls” people first need to understand each other and to see perspective from other people eyes. Communication is essential for anything in life and so for cooperation and living.
Aim of this training is to connect people from different backgrounds, different cultures, countries and even continents and to show them how there always is a way to manage relations. Participants will be “forced” to work together in different games, role plays and simulations to finish their tasks. They will need to use all kinds of communications, verbal, oral, listening, written and non – verbal.
Goal is to achieve synergy in workshops that will also last after lectures in the evening, to motivate them to make their own informal games and plays and also for them to continue with contacts and networking even after training course and to seed their knowledge gained on this training course.
If we only talk then we repeat what we already know but if we look and listen other people then we learn something new and useful for future.
The Curse of Babel
– Interactive Method for Overcoming Barriers –
Background of story
When people from different nationalities were building the Tower of Babel they reached amazing levels of cooperation because they all spoke same language, then God introduced them to other languages and since they failed to communicate and did not understood each other they failed to finish construction of famous Tower of Babel.
More information about story: www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tower_of_Babel
Brief description of this method
People are devided in multinational groups, one person from each country with one moderator on a side that “controls” their actions. They must do some simple task, for example make a parachute from knick-knacks for egg to land safely from two meter high altitude but they can not use English language, they can only speak in their own native language. It will also help them to use non-verbal communication tools, pantomime, different diction even if other people do not understand their language. It is good not to put people from different countries that have similar language like Italians and Romanians, or Spanish and Portuguese, or South Slavic countries. They can use straws, paper, tape, or anything useful.
Aim and objectives of this tool for learning
Aim is to show people how it is when you are not included, when people do not understand you and how much harder it is for you to do something when you must try extra hard to be on the same level as others. It can also symbolically show how it is to people with dissabilities, minorities, refugees and other vulnerable groups. It can be with moderator or without moderator, time is also not fixed, from one hour up to two, or three, it all depends from groups but it is always good to have time frame fixed in beginning so groups can focus more on work.
Outcome of that group work is not what is important but the way how they get to result and process of action and their synergy. All partricipants will try to work their best so that their egg can survive. It is good method to use in beginning of Training Course when people do not know each other that much and for people to break the ice. After game main moderator can talk with them to see how people felt during work, how was their way of communication and in the end, self – reflection for participants, do they feel that something could have been different or better.
Invented by: Aleksandar Petković
Living library with contemporaries of Cold war era
– How simple things of live were different then –
Living library concept is about one on one or one on more people talking about different subjects, its good for getting to know someone and as a ice breaking game but it can also be used as a method to learn more about specific subject or ideas. This idea is for participants to talk about contemporaries of Cold war era but not about big, political topics, but a day to day things, how they lived, how some simple things today were not so easy then, for example traveling, food rations, clothes, making movies or music, getting a job, interacting with people and etc. With that younger people can see how it was for regular people to live and work in eastern block and to appreciate more freedom of movement and freedom of choice that they have today but also to see how there were some nice things in that period and that it was not only bad things then.
More information about this concept you can find on this link
Other methods that will be used
Besides this, other methods that can be used are workshops, role plays, fishbowl, simulations, interactive presentations (world caffee) about their similarities and differences, discussions and also some future project development that can be done with similar subject.
Dissemination of results
Semination can be done by standard means of communication, making a youtube video about training course, writing a blog, making a future event, organizing next training that will raise awareness in fields connected to this, interviews on local televisions or radios where locals will be informed about what happened in that training course and more about Erasmus+ programme.
As European citizens, we are aware of the fact that one of the main objectives of the European Union is promoting human rights, domestically and globally, and we also hold with the idea that human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights are the intrinsic values of the Union. Yet, very few of us choose to become actively involved in defending and promoting these rights.
As there was always a wall between communist countries and noncommunist countries or between Christians and Muslims or between black and white people and so on, it is our duty to break down the walls and promote the real values of life. The COLD WAR was declared finished but The Iron Curtain seems to be part of our existence. People are still divided not only in their way of thinking but also in the way the act. All the conflicts generated by the Cold War in the 20th century shows their effects now. One of the main problems of the contemporary society seems to be those of the refugees. By birth, people are equal and only those qualities which nature has endowed us with make a difference, one that often leads to the impossibility of communication, collaboration, or all people peacefully living together. Nevertheless, man has the power to make changes, to adopt a different outlook on life, or even dream up an ideal world in which there is enough room for everyone, irrespective of religion, ethnicity, the continent or the country they live in. We, the students and teachers of “Alexandru Ioan Cuza” National College Galati, decided to take a stand and wanted to set an example in which dream becomes reality, youngsters are educated to become actively involved in the problems of the contemporary society, by not limiting ourselves to the complacency of a reserved attitude, but by being able to make decisions and find solutions to them. We decided to become committed to the cause of helping those in need!
PURPOSE OF THE PROJECT:
- Involving students of “Alexandru Ioan Cuza” National College Galati in volunteering activities meant helping and comforting people accommodated in The Centre of Accommodation and Procedures for Asylum Seekers, Galati, and also involving the local community in helping this category of disadvantaged people.
1. Promoting tolerance among young people;
2. Performing cultural exchanges with beneficial effects for both the disadvantaged people accommodated in the centre, as well as our students;
3. Educating young people according to the EU principles of respect for human rights, regardless of race, religion or social origin;
4. Promoting the principle of equal opportunities in order to contribute to the integration of refugees into the structures of the Romanian society;
5. Turning to traditions and other elements of the Romanian culture and civilization;
6. Raising public awareness of the projects created by students;
7. Promoting our school and our partner institution’s image;
8. Instilling the civic spirit in our students;
9. Developing positive attitudes towards themselves and other people as well.
- Breaking down the stereotypes related to people coming from different regions of the world
●People accommodated in The Centre of Accommodation and Procedures for Asylum Seekers, Galati
●Teacher Maria-Isabela Miron, Ph.D., The “Alexandru Ioan Cuza” National College, Galati, Romania.
The project will consist of several stages, according to the partnership agreement between “Alexandru Ioan Cuza” National College, Galati and the Centre of Accommodation and Procedures for Asylum Seekers, Galati, as it follows:
Preparatory stage – April 2016 – consists of realizing a survey to know the opinion of people from Galati related to refugees’ problem, organizing debates with students from the college on the same theme.
First stage – May to September 2016 – consists of involving 20 students of “Alexandru Ioan Cuza” National College in volunteering activities
Second stage – September 2016 – August 2017 consists of involving a number of 30 college students (the 10th graders who are already participants in the project and other students from different classes).
- Organizing debates about refugees rights and European citizenship
- Teaching courses of Romanian language learning to the refugees in the centre;
- Teaching courses of English language learning to the refugees in the centre;
Teaching courses of German language learning to the refugees in the centre;
- Involving refugees in instructive and recreational activities (games, sports activities, creative workshops);
- Involving refugees in culture-oriented activities (culinary activities, music and traditional dances);
- Charitable activities;
- Promoting volunteering activities directly (through activities organised in partnership with other schools) and indirectly (through articles published in the local and national press) meant to raise Romanian people’s awareness and sensitize them to the problematic issue of refugees.
PROJECT RESULTS AND EVALUATION: POSTER/PUBLISHED ARTICLES/ INTERVIEWS.
Topic & Content:
Bucharest is not a uniformed city. From blocs to old mansions, we can observe the various historical ‘stratum’ and the ideology behind each building. The idea would be to reflect on the marks of History in Bucharest’s architecture and urbanism: how the city is dealing with its past? are the building from communist era erased? what about the old houses that were nationalised during communist times and are now uninhabited and threatened to degradation?
Pedagogical goal and methodology:
The pedagogical goal of this action is -for foreigners- to discover a post-communist city and see how this period marked the city. Architecture reflects the ideology of a specific period of time. With this research, participants can also understand better what was a communist regim in Romania and how people deal with these buildings today.
There will be two different steps :
– First, the idea is to walk through the city and ask them to take pictures every time they see a building that seems to be from the communist era/ Or any other building that they seem to be interesting to talk about.
– Visits: the plan would be to visit the House of the People and/or Ceausescu’s Villa. We will try to answer to some questions: how are they used today? would they use them in another way? What Romanian people think about it?
The target group is a group of foreigners coming from foreign countries (Poland, Portugal, France)
Discussions on pictures taken, open discussion.
Timetable and milestones:
May- the participants will come in Bucharest in order to make a short documentary about a old house used as artists’ residency and architecture in Bucharest. Besides, I would like to make this project in order to go further into the subject.
Topic & Content:
The situation of minority groups, in particular Roma integration and exclusion, and social attitudes during the Communist regime. During such a workshop, we can shed some light on the policies of the Communist regime involving the minority groups of Romania, and examine the narratives of the regime and the outcomes that can be felt today.
Pedagogical goal and methodology:
The pedagogical goal of this action is to deconstruct the historical narrative of the former regime, which was one of “proletarian unity”, and show the failures of integration and exclusion of minorities during the Communist regime which still have grave repercussions today and can be found standing as the bedrock of hate and discrimination.
The focus will be on minority groups, and in particular policies regarding Roma integration.
Open discussion could be a good way for addressing such a workshop, or maybe fishbowl discussion, any suggestions are welcomed.
Timetable and milestones:
April – May could be used as time for historical research, interviews and gathering of information from various sources.
July-August setting up the workshop in different venues and seeing feedback.
The Lavender Scare project
Topic & Content: I have chosen to carry out a project which is tied to LGBT+ history for two reasons. First of all, by volunteering at LGL (Lithuanian Gay League), I will be able to organize an event at LGL (an agreement with local partner) premises and naturally attract attention of those who are interested in LGBT+ rights/history. Secondly, I’m highly motivated to extend my historical knowledge of the field in order to improve as an activist. It is also important to mention that the project is still in the „idea phase“ and any comments/ideas are more than welcomed.
Usually the Gay Liberation Movement and Stonewall Riots are acknowldeged as beginning of LGBT+ movement. For this reason, an important period which started in U.S in 50‘s is often forgotten. The Lavender Scare was the persecution of homosexuals in the 50‘s and 60‘s, basically it paralleled the anti-communist campaign and gay men and gay women were thought to be communist sympathizers. It mainly resulted as mass firings from the US government workforce.
Pedagogical goals, approach & method
- To both evoke and offer further understanding of LGBT+ history through creative methods.
- To question wether this particular period had or have influence in our country.
I‘m thinking of gathering some controversial (?) /thought evoking material from various sources and setting up a comics workshop. There are numerous books published on the topic as well as video material and hopefully I‘ll be able to get an access to that. After sorting out historical material, I‘d organize a workshop event at LGL in which I‘d be able to present the material. Even though The Lavender Scare mainly resulted with firings from government workforce, I believe this story to have relevance in present:
“There are still 29 states in the country in which it is perfectly legal to fire people simply because they are LGBT<…> the story of The Lavender Scare will help educate people about the need for laws on both the state and national level to protect LGBT people from employment discrimination”
(Source: http://www.out.com/entertainment/popnography/2013/04/26/9-things-to%C2%A0know-about-lavender-scare )
Also, I‘m thinking of including some examples from my own viewpoint in order to inspire/set an example for participants since I‘m a bit afraid they can show lack of interest.
For example, short fact :
in the 50‘s adversaries of the medium had turned their sights on Batman and Robin – opponents assumed that this crime-fighting duo were „homosexual lovers“, basically any mention of LGBT culture was forbidden until 1989.
Overall outcome would depend on the shown interest from the community. Usually such workshops gathers quite the attention. Ideally, after the workshop, I‘d be able to make a zine as a final outcome. This can also be a motivational aspect for participants.
I also thought about starting a discussion on wether the covered period had any influence on our country. Yet the workshop itself would take up some time and I’m not sure if it’s a good idea to load even more activities on participants. Maybe suggesting to do a comic on the question would be a better idea and a great workshop startint point. (?)
Target groups. Even though events at LGL are open for everyone, I consider my target group to be other volunteers and local LGBT+ community.
Evaluation. I don‘t have a clear idea about the evaluation from participants yet. I liked the “suitcase, question mark, garbage bin” method from Antonia‘s project, maybe I could use this method, maybe I‘ll come up with something else later.
As for my own evaluation, if I‘ll be able to capture participants attention and inspire them to come up with enough material to put up a zine, I‘ll consider my work done well.
Timetable and milestones
May- June. Gathering and organising the information. Doing more comics work as an example.
End of July- beginning of August. I‘d like to carry out the workshop between 25of July – 10 of August. This way, I‘ll have plenty of time for preparing the information and choosing the best date available. A few weeks before the workshop, I‘ll make a public facebook event.
End of August. Putting up and printing out the final zines.