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    Cultural Vehicles in Education - assisting the needs of vulnerable social groups

    o.s. Vzájemné soužití ( Life Together)

    30th April 2008

    Please describe the profile of the group and the recruitment process

    The profile of a group: socially excluded individuals from Ostrava location (Ostrava / Marianske Hory), age 18 - 60, mainly women and some men. Common features - Roma origin, mostly women on maternity leave and unemployed people who struggle with existential problems and have experiences with discrimination and social exclusion.The life standard of the participants is low as a result of lower level of education. These people have finished only a basic school and that is the main reason why they face difficulties on the employment market. Some of the participants have serious problems with reading and writing and this fact contributes to their low self-esteem. Lower level of self-esteem and lack of faith in their own abilities is the main reason why they never participated in any educational course, workshop or any other form of education, which would contribute to their personality development, in the past. This group needs to meet in a friendly atmosphere, to be comfortable and safe and to feel that others respect them and believe in their abilities. If these preconditions are met, it is possible to work with this group, indicate the needs of its participants and achieve some success. We have been successful so far.The group agreed that they would like to somehow express their feelings, present their culture, habits and also Roma history. They would like to point out the problem of discrimination in today's society in their natural artistic way. With the use of dramatization they would like to improve not only their communication abilities but also their overall knowledge. The aim is to present the Roma culture to the public and at least reduce the deep rooted negative feelings of the majority towards their community.The group of participants has internally separated into three sub groups.The first sub group chose dramatization field. Throughout dramatization its participants will present Roma history, culture and habits to the public. The drama is placed in the real historical context. It is a love story that takes place after the second world war. The authors of the story will take the audience to the traditional Roma family named Haluseks and also to the farm in the countryside owned by a wealthy family of Novak's. It is the story about love, self-sacrifice, harshness of the Roma life at that time and discrimination. Since the parts of the story are also dances and songs of traditional Roma music, the group agreed that it would be important to learn how to sing. Therefore, they have been also practicing their singing abilities with the experienced musician. The second group is interested in the craftwork. They will learn new techniques, procedures and knowledge of working with the certain material and the skills they will learn they might be able to imply at their future job. The final product - the properties will bring the feelings of self realisation and it will be used in the upcoming dramatic performance of the first group. The third group has decided to create Roma cookbook. The participants would like to present their gastronomic skills and show the traditional Roma cuisine to the public. This group wants to learn the basics with the computer, so they can write the recipes on the computer and print them for the book. The last two groups are also very interested in the planned drama and they will attend the performance in order to support their colleges. All the groups are communicating and helping one another. The participants from the last two groups give the suggestions to those who are proceeding with the drama, however at this moment they do not feel comfortable and confident enough to take a part in the scenes.

    Prosím popište hlavní activity, ke kterým došlo v této fázi projektu:

    1. Meeting with the participants (31st March 2008)
    2. Presentation of Roma culture (1. and 9th April 2008)
    3. Learning about how to take advantage of the voice (11th April 2008)
    4. Meeting with the professor who is responsible for the art part, determining the needs of the group in this field (18th April 2008)
    5. Creation of the Love story (21st April 2008)
    6. Individual singing lesson (25th April2008)7. Craftwork - working with tempera paints (28th April 2008)

    Please describe any problems or difficulties at this stage of the project and the actions taken to overcome them

    All the participants are very enthusiastic about the project. However, the attendance of some of them is very irregular. It is probably due to the fact that many of them do not realize that such participation on the course means certain responsibilities on their side. . On the other hand , every missing participant always apologize at the next session for not coming and explain the reason why they were not able to attend, which we consider as the developing sense for responsibility. In the most cases participants cannot attend because they do not find anybody to watch their children at the time of the course session..
    Therefore we have decided to try to either have one person assigned to watch all the children at the time of session or move the activities to the location where they live whenever we do not need any material or tools to be used.

    In what way did the educational and artistic activities interact?

    Painting creativity is an educational feature of the human being, it means it does not have to be only an artistic expression. With the help of experience professional the participants will improve in painting and overall artistic field. All the workshops were designed as inosculation of art painting and the ability to verbal expression. It has combined all together visual sensation, painting imagination and communication.

    How did the arts-based educational activities help the participants to:

    a) acquire certain competences and skills
    b) facilitate knowledge assimilation (learning specific information)

    Please give some specific examples.

    So far the activities helped the participants to improve :

    1. Overall knowledge about Roma minority - the way of living , history of Roma people, the situation during and after the second world war
    2. Cultural, social and civic competences have been developing as well as communication in the mother tongue (Lisbon key competences no 1, 6 and 8).
    3. Expressive and theatrical skills - beneficiaries have been improving their abilities to express their feelings to the society with the help of art
    4. Self-esteem and the faith in oneself has been slowly increasing

    Please reflect on progress made by individual persons (for example, increased motivation of a reluctant learner or better social skills of a shy participant)

    All the beneficiaries engaged in the project have been very enthusiastic so far and we strongly hope that they will keep up their energy and determination to take a part in these interesting activities.

    - workshops 28.04.2008 >>>

    - workshops 02.05.2008 >>>

    - workshops 05.05.2008 >>>

    The Bielskie Artistic Association Grodzki Theatre
    Premises - contact address: ul. Sempołowskiej 13, 43-300 Bielsko-Biala, Poland
    Office:ul.Sempołowskiej 13, 43-300 Bielsko-Biala, Poland ,
    Phone: +48 33 497 56 55, 496 52 19Fax: +48 33 497 56 55, mailto: