MyHandScraft – Launch of the local workshops in partner countries

Νοέ 16, 2020News

MyHandScraft’s Local Workshops have started in all partner countries. The sessions will apply the contents and methodologies described in the E-Educational Programme (EEP) developed by the MyHandScraft project to strengthen the skills of migrant and local handcrafters. The three training packages that make up the EEP are divided into theoretical and practical sections, and employ non-formal educational methodologies aimed at facilitating the interaction and exchange between participants, and at encouraging proactive approaches to the learning process. The first part of the workshops focuses on improving intercultural awareness through storytelling and creative thinking activities. The second part is dedicated to the creation of handicraft objects. In this regard, the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic has posed a series of obstacles to the implementation of face-to-face workshops, requiring a review of the collaborative methodology originally envisaged for the creation of handicraft products. Finally, the third part of the course aims to encourage participants’ entrepreneurial initiative and the development of entrepreneurial skills to facilitate economic integration.

Since the 24th of September 2020, in Italy, CESIE has been hosting the local workshops every Thursday, bringing together artisans with different cultural backgrounds and facilitating an intercultural exchange and a mutual learning process through the use of different craft techniques. The local workshops conducted so far, despite the difficulties related to the peculiar circumstances we are experiencing, have been successful. Participants are showing great interest in the creative work of the others and a strong desire to learn from one another on a personal, cultural and professional level. Eight nationalities are represented in the group: Italy, Argentina, Chile, Burkina Faso, Nigeria, Afghanistan, Ivory Coast and Gambia. This cultural variety makes it possible to create new opportunities for the exchange of handicraft techniques and materials between the participants, promoting the intercultural contamination of knowledge, traditions and craft practices.

In the United Kingdom the workshops have already started a few months ago, in March 2020, with 14 participants. The outbreak of the pandemic, however, forced the interruption of face-to-face meetings, and caused the withdrawal of many participants due to the switch to online meetings. The implementation of the workshops was therefore postponed. In October the workshops finally started again in Bourne End with a group of asylum seekers coming mainly from Afghanistan, Russia, Albania, Gambia, Nigeria and Egypt. The practical activities will mainly focus on techniques such as Origami, Macramé and Pebble Painting.

In Greece as well, the pandemic has placed many limits to the implementation of the workshops. The group formed in August dropped out before the first meeting due to the fear of gathering, but a new group was created and is ready to start at the beginning of November. The activities will mainly focus on tailoring and jewelry making, as the local artisans are experts in these techniques. The migrant artisans come from Afghanistan, Somalia, Syria, Iraq, and Congo.

In Cyprus, the meetings started in early October and are almost over. Participants are both locals and migrants mainly from the Philippines, Iran and Nigeria. The first part of the meetings was dedicated to intercultural competences through methodologies such as storytelling, creative thinking and cultural shocks. Then, the participants themselves chose to focus on a traditional technique from Lefkara that is slowly being forgotten, the lefkaritiko. Finally, with the aim of promoting recycling practices, the trainers chose to work with recycled paper to create Origami swans. The final meetings will focus on entrepreneurial skills and business development.

In Lithuania, the activities started at the beginning of October and involve participants belonging to local ethnic minorities and migrants from Poland, Russia, Ukraine, Lebanon, Armenia. After the work on intercultural competences the participants started working on Christmas-themed artifacts and decorations.

MyHandScraft’s Local Workshops, which in some countries will continue until next year, will also allow to conduct a series of interviews with the participants and to produce some tutorials on the creative process of the handicraft products created during the sessions. The video material collected during the workshops will then be used to develop another product of the project, a Digital Guide for Handcrafters, which will tell the story of this new intercultural community of artisans and become a source of inspiration for other experiences.


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