There are many trainings. There are good trainings. Some are excellent, some are so-so. And there are trainings that are life-changing experiences. You are there, and you feel deep inside, you know that the experience will remain as a landmark for your future life. The “Youth, Theatre And Intercultural Dialogue” was one of those.
Photo by NNSpark Production
The International residential training course took place in Sremski Karlovci, Serbia, between 24th September and 1st October 2015. It has been organized by REACH, Regional Endeavour for Art Culture and Health (ADD LINK: http://www.reach.org.rs/), in partnership with Artemisszió Foundation (ADD LINK: http://artemisszio.blog.hu/), INCA Network (ADD LINK: http://www.incanetwork.eu/) and supported by the European Youth Foundation of the Council of Europe (ADD LINK: http://www.coe.int/en/web/european-youth-foundation).
During 8 intense days, 24 committed young leaders involved in youth empowerment and coming from 12 countries (Serbia, Spain, Hungary, Croatia, UK, France, Macedonia, Albania, Greece, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Germany and Portugal) shared energies, tools, ideas, good practices on Social Theatre and Applied Drama, collected tools and strategies to be replicated back home, and prepared future joined follow-up plans on how to promote Intercultural Dialogue and Social Inclusion among young people in their home communities.
The participants had the possibility to explore the transformative power of arts, dance, theatre, body consciousness, getting a closer contact with their own senses and bodily feelings, creating and immediate and empathic connection with others’, through dance, movement, and various theatre techniques, including Image and Forum Theatre, Theatre of the Oppressed, site-specific interventions, Social Theatre and Applied Drama for conflict resolution and community dialogue.
It was immediately evident that the charming Serbian town of Sremski Karlovci and its community would have paid a big role inside the training. The participants were challenged to get to know the town, its culture and history, and to gradually involve the local community, culminating with concrete brief artistic/social interventions actively engaging the community, in a school, in a cafe, in a social centre for elderly people, in front of churches, railway, in the main square of the town. The participants have been required to artistically envision, plan, manage and implement the interventions on site, coached and followed-up by the training team, and to actively engage, provoke, create spaces of artistic and intercultural dialogue with the community.
The incredibly well constructed training challenged the participants to be themselves the main actors of the training experience, gradually managing themselves various activities, workshops, artistic and social interventions.
The skillful and expert training team provided constant support and followed-up on each single step that the participants took in the process, also through a wise use of small Reflection Groups at the end of each day.
The team of the facilitators and trainers constructed an very rich and diverse agenda for the training, constantly challenging the participants to experiment with new tools, skills and strategies. “Come out of your comfort-zone!” as one of trainers invited on the first day. The best suggestion we could have been given (and the most challenging!).
We were required to give, receive, give again, share, explore. “Make mistakes!” as we were constantly encouraged: “Don’t be afraid to make them! This is the way we learn!”.
So true. We all accepted and committed to the challenge, open hearted. A challenge to come out from our known (and comfortable!) practices, share them and explore unknown new territories with our bodies, our feelings, our hearts, transforming our own minds. After 8 of the most intense days, we came out of the training as new people, transformed, empowered with new skills and competences, strengthened in our leadership and commitment in our daily work for youth inclusion and social dialogue.
Photo by NNSpark Production
It was incredible to see how the group immediately bonded. It was breathtaking to feel us, since the first day, as part of a group that immediately took identity, shared energies and enthusiasm, laughed, cried, sensed and felt, shared and received, planned and envisioned. Together.
After 8 days it was difficult, hard, and emotional to severe our strong bonds, and to say “Bye Bye”. But the best thing, as we said to each other, is that we would have not! Future plans were born in Sremski Karlovci, and new possibilities to join forces, energies, creativity, for intercultural dialogue, social inclusion and youth empowerment.
There are good courses and excellent courses. Then there are experiences that change your life. The “Youth, Theatre And Intercultural Dialogue” training was one of those.
Francesco Argenio Benaroio
Photos: Nikola Nikolić - NNSpark Production, Francesco Argenio Benaroio