COSMIC- Creating OpportunitieS for Migrant InClusion, Strategic Partnership on Exchange of Good Practices

Project Date: 01.2.2020-31.01.2022

Project Organizer: JuBuK

Project Partners:

  1. MV INTERNATIONAL, Italy
  2. ASOCIACION JUVENIL INTERCAMBIA, Spain

Project Description: 

Creating OpportunitieS for Migrant InClusion (COSMIC) is a Strategic Partnership lasting 24 months focused on promoting youth volunteering as an instrument to contrast discrimination against migrants and refugees among the youth categories and within the hosting societies at large.
The surge in intolerance, stereotyping and discrimination against migrants and refugees represents one of the most glaring realities influencing political and civil society debate, particularly in the European polities most sensibly hit by the massive migrants and refugee flows from Africa and the Middle Eastern region. Eurostat quantifies in 164.300 the number of extra-EU nationals who sought asylum in the EU-28 during the third quarter of 2017.
In its Report covering the period between 2015 and 2016, the European Network Against Racism highlighted a concerning upward trend in episodes of racism, discrimination and aggression against migrants, in coincidence with the intensification in the migration crisis and the resulting spike in antimigration political discourse and exclusionary migration policies across the European Union. The Report also identified a statistical increase in direct violence against refugees and asylum seekers in Europe.
This pattern of discrimination, stereotyping and attack (physical as well as verbal) is fuelled by and feeds a sliding of public debate over migrants and migration towards a subalternity to the dichotomic categorizations and confrontational positions expressed by populist, extremist and generally farright movements, which increasingly gain access to the mainstream public debate and realm of policies. Young people are particularly vulnerable to racist and discriminatory propaganda and messages, in particular considering their preferential use of Social Media, wherein this type of aggressive and discriminatory speech is ever more circulated. The necessity of setting the conditions for youth awareness about racism and discrimination as well as of the active contrast thereof in the field of youth is stressed by the European Youth Strategy, which sets the objective of supporting the development of cultural awareness and the contrast of prejudice among the youth. COSMIC pursues these objectives by means of selecting and training a cluster of youth volunteers actively committed to contrasting feelings and practices of discrimination among young people as well as promoting the positive values of tolerance and respect of diversity enshrined in European identity and citizenship.

COSMIC activities are:
– Research and identification of European good practices in contrasting radicalization and prejudice among young people through Storytelling, Art and Sport.
– Implementation of 3 Blended Youth Mobilities (1 per partner country) wherein partners will develop the knowledge, skills and competences of selected youngsters in employing unconventional instruments of Non Formal Education (Storytelling, Art and Sport) as tools for contrasting phenomena of racism and xenophobia among their fellow young people, as well as spreading positive values of inclusion and tolerance.
– Implementing a set of local activities delivered by participating youngsters in each partner country towards an audience of their own peers (locals and migrants). The focus of the activities will be to convey the educational message of the project to youngsters in local realities.
– Developing educational resources (Research Reports and Manual) in multiple languages allowing a wide accessibility and disclosure of project
results and thereby producing a direct impact on the audience of youngsters and youth operators in partner countries and in Europe at large.

Project website: https://admvngo.wixsite.com/cosmic

  1. Kick-off Meeting, 15-16.04.2020 Online, Essen, Germany

Fortunately we live in an age of digitalization, so even though the kick-off meeting for our new 24-month strategic partnership project „Creating OpportunitieS for Migrant InClusion” – “COSMIC“ couldn’t take place in Essen, Germany due to the current situation, it could take place online. Together with our partners MV INTERNATIONAL from Italy and ASOCIACION JUVENIL INTERCAMBIA from Spain, we discussed tasks and responsibilities, defined strategies and decided on the further actions.

The main goal of the project is to promote youth volunteering as an instrument to contrast discrimination against migrants and refugees among the youth categories and within the hosting societies at large.
Non-Formal Education through Storytelling, Art and Sport is the methodology we chose to achieve our objective. During the whole project, each of the partners will focus on one topic.

  • JUGEND, BILDUNG UND KULTUR e.V. – Storytelling
  • MV INTERNATIONAL – Art
  • ASOCIACION JUVENIL INTERCAMBIA – Sport

Due to the current covid-19 situation and the temporary suspension of activities such as Blended Mobilities and Local Programme, the Consortium agreed to focus on research phase in order for it to be accomplished once the lockdown will be lifted.

In the meantime, we are not just collecting best practices and elaborating the research reports, but we’re also elaborating a toolbox for our further activities and looking forward the Blended Mobilities and the Local Programme.

The first mobility of the COSMIC project took place from the 17th–25th of August 2021 in Cala D’Ambra Camping in San Teodoro, Sardinia Italy.  

​The goal of this mobility was to develop participants’ knowledge and skills on how to employ art as a tool of contrasting stereotypes and prejudices and promoting a positive understanding of diversity among the youth. 

Unfortunately because of the Covid-19 situation, the Spanish group couldn’t attend at the very last minute. Even in these peculiar circumstances, the mobility included a multicultural participant group from Germany and Italy. 

The first day, the 17th was Arrivals-day and the 25th Departures-day. All activities and workshops were held in a fantastic location, right next to the camping place near the sea. Every day of activity was open with energizers and ice-breaking game, and closed with evaluation sessions, in which participants could share their impressions and feedback about the activities held. During the mobility, the participants had the chance to enjoy some free time, explore local culture and traditions, have a study visit in San Teodoro, and contribute to a “Clean the beach” activity. 

​The trainers used Ice-Breaking games to get to know each other, learn the other names, and implemented team-building exercises. The project “COSMIC” and the partners involved were introduced. An expectation tree, with the participant’s expectations, fears, and contributions toward the project was developed and they were asked to create their own rules for the duration of the mobility and to create a safe and comfortable working atmosphere for everyone. At the end of the day, the participants were introduced to the use of Art in the frame of Non-Formal Education and the role of art as a vehicle of inclusive non-formal education. 

​The participants, divided into groups, took part in a brainstorming exercise, where they thought about the different kinds of Art which could be used as vehicles of cultural expression. Participants shared their thoughts with the rest and through this, the understanding of how to exploit this aspect of Art in the context of educational programs targeted at the youth was fostered. The same groups gathered together again and discussed the role of art as a tool of contrasting stereotypes and prejudice among the youth, using as “guide” the following questions: “What do you think are stereotypes and prejudice?”, “Why do stereotypes and prejudice still exist in the societies in the 21st century?” and “How can art be used as a tool of intercultural dialogue to contrast stereotypes and prejudice among the youth?”. Afterward, every group had time to present their results.  

​An open space activity was implemented where participants could choose a group to join for discussion and exchange of ideas between three topics: “Artistic expression as the voice of sustainability and eco-change”, “Cinematography as a tool for migrant inclusion” and “Consequences of not including migrants and solutions”.  

A presentation of European good practices in the use of Art as an instrument of contrast to prejudice and discrimination towards migrants and refugees among young people found in each country followed by a discussion about the different methods and how the participants could improve them took place. 

Abilities in employing Art methods as an instrument to fostering the development of inclusion, tolerance, and non-discrimination attitudes at the level of the youth were developed and straighten by working in groups on one of the following fields: theater, music, dance, and visual art. After the group work, the results were presented to others by implementing the planned and imagined activities with them. 

​The German and Italian participants had the chance to develop original tools of education through Arts focused on contrasting stereotypes and prejudices at the level of the youth. After brainstorming in groups, they developed ideas and created their workshop with the main goal to fight stereotypes and prejudices through the method of Art and lead to inclusion within the society.  

​A “Theater of the Oppressed” session was also implemented, a forum theater against prejudices and stereotypes. Therefore a group of volunteer actors left and prepared a scene on the given topic and the rest did some trust and theater exercises. Afterward, the actor group played their play several times. The first time, as they planned, then the auditory group was allowed to interrupt and to change the play by telling them how to react or what to say. In the end, some actors were exchanged by other volunteers and replayed the scene differently. 

After the theater, there was a long and intensive discussion about stereotypes and prejudices, which some of the participants experienced themselves.   

​Within the “COSMICtalks” session, the four pillars of Education has been explored: “Learning to know”, “Learning to do”, “Learning to live together” and “Learning to be”. after the pillar presentation, participants elaborated according to a presentation which also would include a method of Art and include the audience.  

During the project management session, participants in groups created their four-day project with a focus on specifying the aim, topic, target group, program, activities, and countries involved. They also needed to set the financial frame. After developing the projects, the participants presented them and answered questions and comments, taking feedback from the other teams. 

​In a creative session, they discussed in pairs, what Art is for them as individuals, picking a card of the game “Dixit”, which should represent their point of view. This way participants would understand that there is an infinite number of different opinions, views, and attitudes. Each one had 1minute to present the card and the reasons behind their decision to their pair. After everyone was paired up and listened to everyone’s mindset explanation, a circle was made and the participants tried to remember each of the cards.  

​During the final evaluation of the mobility, several feedback posters we created and filled by all participants and they had the opportunity to reflect on the past week and to summarize the project. They were engaged in a discussion over the quality of the activity and the learning outcomes achieved. In the end, everyone received their Youth Pass certificate.  

​During the mobility, the German team had the chance to present their country and to host the first international night. Besides the typical food and drinks, the night included an interesting and funny presentation of the country followed by a quiz, German music was presented as well as a video about German stereotypes. The evening program was the Italian Intercultural night, where the Italian group cooked a delicious typical Italian dinner.  

The blended mobility was received very positively by everyone and the participants are already looking forward to the next implementation. The participants actively discussed, learned, exchanged ideas, and developed on the topic of migration inclusion through Art as a method of Non-Formal Education.  

The next mobilities planned are about Storytelling and Sport as methods of inclusion! 

Feedback from the participants:

Hassina:

The first part of the COSMIC project took place from the 17th- 25th of August in San Teodoro, Sardinia, Italy.The goal of this project was to explore, how art in the frame of non-formal can create opportunities for migrants. 30 participants from Germany, Italy and Spain were supposed to be in this project, but unfortunately due to the changing COVID-19 restrictions, participants from Spain were not allowed to travel to Italy. In the end we were in total 20 people from Germany and Italy. It was still an amazing experience. The project took place in a camping place in San Teodoro, Sardinia. Everyone had their own tent – 100 Meter away from the sea. It was magical waking up and hearing the waves and watching the sunset. The first day of the project was all about getting to know each other through different team-building activities. Of course, remembering all the names was the biggest struggle. But eventually at the end of the day it felt like we knew each other for many years. The next days we had various interactive workshops and group dynamic activities, where we discussed and explored about different dimensions and characteristics of art instruments asvehicles of cultural expression. We learned and shared about experiences and examples of using art as an instrument of contrast to prejudice and discrimination towards migrants and refugees among young people. Different tools and activities helped us to generate an idea for using art as a vehicle of intercultural dialogue and contrast to prejudice/stereotypes. Thanks to the diversity and experiences in our group we had a lot to share and discuss- which always ended in interesting and fruitful conversations. In between the workshop session we had plenty of time to relax – and what else to do, when the beach is 100 meters away? – Yes – swimming. The water was truly clear and fresh- the perfect way to escape the heat. During the project we had a lot of time to get to know each other. At the intercultural nights, every country shared some insights and facts about their culture and country. I’ve learnt a lot and was throughout the project very grateful to be a part of these moments. I have met so many great people and made a lot of good friendships and contacts. This project really helped creating a network among young people of European Union. Overall, I can say it was a great experience being a part of this project! Thank you.

Anna:

I spent the week from the 17.8 till 25.8 in San Teodoro, Sardegna. Together with the Italian team we spend an amazing time together learning more about the topic of art as a tool for including migrants. Unfortunately, the Spanish team couldn’t join due to some corona travel restrictions. Our schedule was packed but still filled with both fun and work activities. On our first day we did many different ice breakers and team building activities to get to know the group better. I really enjoyed that our whole project was in the nature and we had the amazing opportunity to have our sessions right by the seaside. Here we talked a lot about different art tools and how to use them. After we got to know the different areas of art, we experienced some of them as well. In the end we planned our own projects which to topic art as a tool for migrant inclusion. At night we had intercultural evenings to get to know the different cultures from the participating countries better. Every country had the change to present itself while showing some videos, presentations, dances and quizzes before we tasted their traditional food and drinks and spent the evening together with music from these countries. I really enjoyed this part of the course because the campsite provided us with a really cosy atmosphere and good late night talks. After this training course I feel encouraged to work more on art tools especially because didn’t really get in touch with art in non-formal education before and I would like to learn more about this topic.

Marc-Tommy:

With COSMIC – Creating Opportunities for Migrant Inclusion, a project aiming at young adults from Italy, Germany and Spain I had the opportunity to participate in an Erasmus+ project for the first time. The NGO Mine Vaganti hosted about 20 people in a beautiful camping site where we had to work and live together within an intercultural learning framework. I enjoyed every single moment and just a few weeks later I still remember this wonderful time which puts a big smile on my face. It was great to get to know all the activities which help to break the ice between complete strangers and team building games to create a very intimate and familiar environment among all of us within a very short period of time. The facilitators and volunteers of Mine Vaganti, the hosting organisation, did an amazing job considering that the pandemic brought new challenges to this project. I would therefore once again express my gratitude to everyone involved to create such a wonderful and memorable time in Sardinia for all of us. At our camping site right at the sea close to the beautiful city of San Teodoro in Sardinia every day felt like a new adventure with new learnings, new experimentation with art and ways to express ourselves creatively and many deep and inspiring talks with other participants. We spent time together in and after the workshops. There were many options for things to do, swimming and relaxing at the beach, exploring the nightlife of San Teodoro or just enjoying wine and good conversations in our cosy camping space. As the aim of this project yielded at creating opportunities for migrant inclusion through art it was absolutely fantastic to be close to nature. Being at the beach, eating wonderful fresh Sardinian food and being around so many positive people really nourished my creativity. It provided me with an almost infinite source of inspiration and sometimes I just enjoyed alone time at the beach watching the sunrise and doing little sketches of the sea. For the workshop part itself, we were asked to get into groups and create concepts for artistic practices and even create an Erasmus project in theory as well. We could exchange ideas, stories, which helped to improve our knowledge and testing our skills. Throughout the whole duration of the project, there was an open-mindedness towards our ideas, questions and even challenges which created a fruitful and safe environment for non-formal education and this enhanced our experience of this project. We explored topics evolving around stereotypes, prejudices, hate, racism, discrimination and together we worked hard with the help of non-formal education methods to promote positive change in our society. We also talked about how important diversity is that being said not everyone was not having a direct relationship to art or artistic tools everyone could contribute in their own ways. We created new artistic practices for example by combining the practice of dance with soccer and there were also other very surprising outcomes of our group work. We all were very different in the way we perceive art and we all saw different obstacles and challenges that prevent young adults from feeling part of the society talking from their own experiences. Therefore, we could come up with many ideas and concepts on how to spread positive values of inclusion and tolerance through practical art exercises and beyond. As part of this intercultural exchange, each of the countries hosted a cultural evening. One evening the Italian team presented Sardinia organised a buffet with the most delicious foods and beverages coming from the Island while talking us through Sardinia’s history and traditions and they did also introduce us to Sardinian art and literature. It was an amazing cultural learning experience. I felt that even though we were are all very different characters this project helped to create an understanding of multicultural living and learning. Each and every one of us could contribute to this project in their own way and therefore make it unique. My learning experience went beyond the flow of new information, I could make strong bonds with other participants, deconstruct prejudices I maybe had towards certain topics and create empathy and a more open-minded way of thinking towards migrants as well. But most importantly I could learn so much about the importance of such projects and Erasmus+. I am grateful I went to Sardinia and I felt connected to a lot of people which I have known for only a few days, we have one big Erasmus family. For someone like me who is not very informed about Erasmus opportunities, it was a great learning experience as well and I recommend to anyone who has a chance to participate to go on this journey and learn from each other.

The second mobility of the COSMIC project took place from the 31th July –08th of August 2021 in Velbert, Germany

From 31. July till 8th of August 2021 participants from Italy, Spain and Germany came together in Velbert, Germany, to work on the topic of migrant inclusion through the method storytelling.

At the first day on the mobility we had Ice-Breaking Games and Teambuilding exercises. Through the Mission (Im-)possible group dynamics was fostered. Also, the stage of mutual knowledge among participants as well as of continued cooperation throughout the learning process was stated.

We also had sessions on Erasmus+, Non Formal Education, Youth Pass and the core competences we can gain through this kind of activities.

We heard about best practices in Germany and Spain about how the method of storytelling can be used for migrant integration. For example, in Germany there is an organization working in Berlin and Dresden, who are offering city tours guided by refugees. They are showing the tourist their city and telling them about their story. This foster understanding and acceptance in the society.

We had introductions into the topic of Storytelling. After theoretical input on storytelling and digital storytelling, we developed and consolidated the theory together in the group using practical examples. We had also practical exercises and activities on storytelling.

One of them was, to write a short story from our lives. Afterwards all papers where collected and we received someone else’s story with a genre category. The participants needed to rewrite and recreate the story according to their genre. It could be romance, horror, sci-fiction, drama or something else. This activity taught us the importance of not losing sight of the intention of the story. The structure and turning point depend on the effect we want to have on the reader and listener.
In partner work we also interviewed each other and wrote a short story on the other person regarding the topic stereotypes, migration, discrimination or other. We added pictures to this and presented it to the others. We’ve learned how Storytelling can be used, from the perspective of young people, as an instrument of building inner strength and overcoming psychological impact of stereotyping and discrimination.
In small groups we also wrote reports on the project.

One day we worked on the topic of stereotypes and prejudices. One of the exercises was “The other and me”. This activity was an introduction to the cultural crush, taking into consideration that we come from a cultural reality in which we have an ethnical-centric vision from where we bring judging values as we carry with us pre-mental concepts. The facilitator read a story from the “I-perspective” about an alien and the participants were asked to draw, how the alien might look like. In the end a picture of the I and the alien was shown, the alien in this case was a human being. This exercise was a great introduction to the topic and helped the participants to understand that there can be several different points of view within a culture and that one has to think with empathy. It also helped to understand that there are many different cultures, all of which are unique and valuable and not one is worth more than the other.

Moreover, each of us sees and interprets the culture and everything around us in a different way and in order to understand what the other sees, you have to put yourself in the other’s shoes and look again from their point of view, values, concepts, codes, etc.

Another activity we did about this topic what the Albatross Island. It was a short play, the participants needed to describe what they have seen. It was interesting to see for everyone how difficult it was just to describe without any interpretation. Everyone started to interpreted the situation from their point of view and from the knowledge they have. No one was thinking outside their own box.

We used storytelling as an instrument of group and identity building towards an inclusive European citizenship. Through this we’ve learned how Storytelling narratives can represent a tool for overcoming cultural/religious/ethnic divides and integrate diversity into a shared narrative of European identity.

Also, we had a “Theater of the oppressed” session. In groups the participants developed short plays dealing with problems in the society. It was gender related, migrant discrimination, mobbing and cultural and religious discrimination. They played the scenes and in the second round the audience could interrupted and solve the situation.
Afterwards we discussed with the whole group, what problems we experienced ourselves and how we could solve them.

In addition, we learned about different cultures during the intercultural nights and met new interesting people and made new friends.

The goals of the activity were:

  • Developing participants’ knowledges and skills on how to employ Storytelling as a tool of contrasting stereotypes and prejudices, promoting a positive understanding of diversity among the youth.
  • Developing tools of non-formal education based on Storytelling for the phase of local activities.

The activities were:

  • Introduction to Storytelling: Origins, Fields of Applicability and Instruments
  • Understanding the basic structure of narratives: the „Hero’s Journey“ model
  • Storytelling and contrast to stereotypes and discrimination: analysing the role of Storytelling in deconstructing discriminatory narratives against migrants and refugees
  • Overcoming stereotypes and discrimination through Storytelling
  • Storytelling as an instrument of group and identity building: towards an inclusive European citizenship
  • Developing Storytelling tools

One of the activities during the blended mobility, was to write short reports about the project in groups. Here are some of the results:

Growing of a tree

We are going to explain the project evolution comparing it to a tree.
Everything started with a seed: Migrants inclusion. However, to make it grow, we need water and it was given by JuBuK organization, specially, Anna and Natalia who make it possible to appear the first roots: US, the participants.
The roots allowed the tree to grow until generate a big trunk which is supported by the sun: all the knowledge. We learned during the sessions and the water watered again. It grows so fast and robust that it has started to appear branches. This means that we are ready to present our own stories to the others and to keep the tree brunching with our storytelling until we reach the main goal, Migrant inclusion.

Culture & Divirsity

Culture and diversity need to be shared to lead the world towards harmony. This is what this program was all about. People from different background, nationalities and belief come together and spend a time under one roof. Everyday there is learning and exchange of thoughts. Thoughts which are helping to understand and respect opinions of others. Sometimes in our life we think we are most unprivileged but when we hear stories of others, we realize we are most blesses and ungrateful. Therefore, we have to put ourselves in others shoes and one of the exercises about writing your story and rewritten by other was the best demonstration about knowing others and understanding ourselves too from someone else perspective. This exchange of people, but exchange of ideas thoughts, acceptance and minds, where positivity will reside for us forever.

An other activitiy was to write about each other. Here are some results:

Munir was born in Quetta in 1993. He was the little son of 3 children. He was born in a conservative family but once he completed secondary education, he left for the first time Pakistan to go to England (2012), where he met new people and he got attached to travelling. That’s why he went for a Erasmus to EU while he was studying Business bachelor. He loves travelling and getting to know with different cultures so he decided to do a Master degree in Italy. Thanks to that he was opened his mind he could accept other culture.

When she got on the plane she already saw many people different from her. The first difference was the language, because she is from Spain and she didn’t speak much English. When she arrived to the USA, she started to see a lot of difference between the rich class and the poor class. There were very underprivileged neighborhoods with a lot of violence and crime and unfortunately those neighborhoods are usually of Immigrants from Latin America and this is because immigrants haven’t much help in this country. It’s very sad to see that inequality. 

Intermidiate meeting in Malaga, Spain 08-11.08.2021

Topics:

– Planning the elaboration of Final Research Report and dividing related responsibilities within the Consortium.
– Initiating the process of translating research results into tailor-made educational modules to be tested with youth targets.
– Midterm evaluation of the project
– Evaluation of the first two Blended Mobilities
– Mid-term financial evaluation

2 leading staff members from each organization met in Malaga, Spain to discuss the flow of the project, to evaluate the blended mobilities, to spread the tasks for the dessimination of the results, to discuss the details of the manual and research, to put the deadlines for translation, local activities and to prepare the last blended mobility in Spain. 

After working together for almost 2 years the leaders of the organizations were very glad finally to meet all together face to face. The kick-off meeting was online and at the blended mobilities not all the organisational leaders were present, hence it was a very valuable, deep and productive meeting. 

The leaders discussed the hardships of the implementation of the blended mobilities due to the current situation and changing restrictions. The representatives from Germany presented the summary of the second blended mobility with the pictures and videos and discussed the organizational process, the learning progress of the participants, the outcomes, the pedagogical aspects and the organizational issues. The partner from Spain presented the venue for the upcoming blended mobility in Spain and they explained the specific of it and why it is still difficult to put the final date of the blended mobility as the facility is still closed due to the pandemic. However, the positive prognosis was given that the blended mobility would be possible in November so that the project time schedule will be as planned originally in the application.

Ther midterm evaluation was done using specific non-formal methods and indicators of success. In spite of all the difficulties in the first year of the project which were connected to the pandemic the members evaluated the whole process as successfull and positive. The leaders went thoroughly through the feedback of the participants and the feedback from the German national agency for the research and the manual. All the partners were satisfied with the results and decided to put the special focus and effort on the last stage of the project for the dessimination of the results, final version of the manual and research, local activities and implementation of the last blended mobility.

Kommentar verfassen

Trage deine Daten unten ein oder klicke ein Icon um dich einzuloggen:

WordPress.com-Logo

Du kommentierst mit Deinem WordPress.com-Konto. Abmelden /  Ändern )

Google Foto

Du kommentierst mit Deinem Google-Konto. Abmelden /  Ändern )

Twitter-Bild

Du kommentierst mit Deinem Twitter-Konto. Abmelden /  Ändern )

Facebook-Foto

Du kommentierst mit Deinem Facebook-Konto. Abmelden /  Ändern )

Verbinde mit %s