Stereotypes in the East-West context

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.


testimonial on understanding a method

method-azamatPrecisely about testimonial. According to Cambridge dictionary, testimonial is a statement about the character or qualities of someone or something.

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.

Frozen image ‘manual’: embodied work on discrimination

The exercize

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

Serbia between East and West

Topic and Content:  Visit to Park of Friendship, the only memorial dedicated to Non-Aligned Movement and reflection on political position of the Socialistic Federal Republic of Yugoslavia during the Cold War Era

Park of Friendship (Park prijateljstva) is situated in New Belgrade and spreads across 14 hectares that are leaning on banks of the Sava and Danube Rivers. Park was created in 1961 and it was dedicated to a newly organized Non-Aligned Movement. In central area lies Peace Alley with 26 plane trees planted by presidents of non-aligned countries and a sculpture of a flower made by sculptor Lidija Mišić.

During Tito’s rule, many presidents and official political leaders planted a tree as a sign of friendship. Among them were Indira Gandhi, Richard Nixon, Queen Elisabeth II and many others. Serbia continued this tradition until today. Members of the Rolling Stones were among the last one to plant a tree here in 2008 when they held concert in this park. In the midst of this park stands monument called Eternal Fire that was dedicated to victims of NATO bombing, erected in 1999.

Park prijateljstva is occasionally used for various culture events including concerts and Beer Fest that is held every August.


Target group: Participants of different age, gender, educational and social background

Pedagogical goal and methodology: Research action method would help participants to gather information and reflections on politics of Yugoslav socialist society during the Cold War Era and later implications of this politics. Park dedicated to Non-aligned movement and aimed neutral political position of Tito’s Yugoslavia with later added monument to the victims of NATO bombing in 1999 provides an extraordinary framework for analyses of socio-political history and its impact on everyday life. Participation of people with different backgrounds and experiences would improve understanding of different perspectives in former Yugoslavia.

Evaluation: Not sure about methodology; any suggestions are welcome

Agreements with local partners: Contacting a group of friend (maybe my students, participants from other organization or other visitors of Park)

Timetables and milestones:

May – Contacticng participants/partners

– Arranging the visit

June -Visit and evaluation

          – Reporting on the project


Visit to the Berlin Wall Memorial

Berlin wall 6


On Wednesday the 9th of March, we went to Bernauer Str. to visit the Berlin Wall Memorial. Our guide was born and raised in West Berlin and she has been living alongside the Wall for the first twenty years of her life.

According to her, it is important to keep parts of the Wall to remember that period of history.

Listen to Neringa, one of the participant, for whom it was also interesting to see the Wall in reality. As a matter of fact, the Wall and the “in between land” (hinterland) have been reconstituted as before 1989.


Berlin wall 3 Berlin wall 4 Berlin wall 5 Berlin wall 7 Berlin wall 1

Text: Marine ; Pictures: Milda; Audio interview: Damjan

Action research in Berlin

On our second day of the training 7 action research groups started exploring the city – visiting memorial sites (the one visible and the ones not so visible), interviewing passers-by, examining different perspectives on the cold war era in Berlin.

Here are some impressions from our activities and some puzzle pieces of the topography of remembrance in this city.

Group 1 – The Airlift Memorial & the Museum of Allies

Group 2 – Stasi Prison Hohenschönhausen

Group 3 – The Stasi Museum, Memorial to the 17. June 1953 Uprising, Federal Ministry of Finance and the Mural

>>> Download: Presentation of Group 3 (PDF)

Group 4 – City Centre West

>>> Download: Presentation of Group 4

Group 5 – Checkpoint Charlie

>>> Download: Presentation of Group 5

Group 6 – German Russion Museum Karlshorst

>>> Download: Presentation of Group 6 (PDF)

Group 7 – Around Alexanderplatz / City East

Thursday 10th March

On the 7th day of the Training course we tried artistic methods and participated in a graffiti workshop “ART&FUTURE WITHOUT WALLS”.The workshop was organized by organization called “Schoolclash” (facebook)

Before the workshop, all of us met in the green seminar room where we had the 12476397_1578661322451874_1846068137_nchance to know the organization “Schoolclash” better. We talked a bit about how the organization originated, what are they up to nowadays and street art in general. The presenter was really charismatic and we were excited to participate in the following activities.


After the introduction part, it was time to go to the “Schoolclash” premises where we were told about the following tasks. There were 3 col1081527_1578661262451880_179023422_nd war related topics, so we divided into 3 groups and each group had to fill in a piece of “wall”. In addition, everyone had a chance to make their personal artwork too. Before starting, we were briefly informed about the technique of street art. It was interesting to see how different groups chose different working methods. While 2 groups shared thoughts and tried to make them into one idea, other group decided that everyone can do as they wish and in the end their thoughts somehow connected.


Overall, the workshop went by really fast. Even at the beginning some people seemed skeptical, as the day went, they have immersed themselves in the creative process one way or another. In the afternoon, we set up a vernissage where each of us had a chance to tell the others about their artwork. The results were delightful. At the end of the workshop, we agreed that this method is good for bonding people and eliminating discomfort between them since people tend to relax and open up doing artistic things.

After the workshop, we once again gathered in the green seminar room where we were asked to fill in 4 sections (perspectives, places, metho12527755_1578661202451886_375295630_nds, objectives) and connect them together in board. By doing that, we understood how each 4 sections connects to each other. This was helpful not only for the following activities, but also for self-reflection since we were able to see the „final picture“ of everything we have done so far.

Before the evaluation, we started brainstorming about the in-between course projects we will have to carry out until the second part in Bucharest. It was inspiring to see other participants ideas and methods.

Searching for the Matrix – action resarch in Berlin

Moonrise Kingdom, Wes Anderson (USA, 2012)

Today it was a day full of activities!

In the morning, Marina presented some methods for deconstruction narratives and perspectives in the public discourse. She gave us a very interesting input regarding how we perceived the surrenders and especially how history is told or not told around us. Museums and memorials in our cities are important to analysed and deconstruction in order to understand what story is being told behind them.

Which GAZE?

In the afternoon we went so several memorial places in Berlin, we visited them and we analyses exactly how history is delivered in this places. We also analysed where are they located and how are they related to the city, to the visitors and their curators.

My group went to visit Checkpoint Charlie where we visited the Yadegar Asisi’s Panorama and the Museum Haus am Checkpoint Charlie,  the museum founded by human rights activist Dr. Rainer Hildebrandt.

We were differet groups all of us visted various places including the Stasi Museum and Prisons, the DDR Museum, Treptower Park, The Refugees Musuem in Berlin and the TV Tower in Alexander Platz.

The Panaroama Asisi is a 1:1 installation that portrays the divided Berlin and allows visitors to “walk” by the old wall. You can have a and that portrays the divided Berlin. You can have an idea on how it looks like in the next two videos.

In the ‘eighties I lived on and with the Wall in the Kreuzberg district. The Panorama gathers together my own experiences and recounts to the observer stories which are rich in detail, and which would not have happened all at the same time. The many scenes from everyday life in the images presented by the Panorama show how the population came to terms with the situation and circumstances.” (Yadegar Asisi on his creation – source