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    REPORTS - LITHUANIA - 2nd report

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

    Youth centre "Babilonas"

    May 15, 2008

    The group

    There are some changes in the group. Today we have 23 people on the list. 13 of them are following since the beginning. Others joint the group during the process. Some have left for the reason of accessibility of the premises. 2 people left because one month ago they were employed. There are 7 unemployed and 2 retired persons among participants.One group member (a retired woman) entered the group month after the beginning of the workshops. She got excited about the project and invited several people to join.

    Several times during the reflections participants mentioned the importance of the participation of young successful members in this group as an encouragement and motivation for those who feel unsuccessful, self unconscious, abandoned and lonely. And group members often emphasize the value for them personally of the relationship based on equality and openness.

    We have 2 men in the group and these two men are the husbands of the two our participants. It is rather rear in our society for the couples to dear to participate in the process of self reflection and self expression in front of the group and own partner. We concern it as a big success and advantage for our project in general. The couples themselves have emphasized the influence of the project for their relationship, by becoming more flexible, tolerant and open in the family and in the society.

    All beneficiaries have expressed their appreciation of interacting of people of different generations in the group.

    We faced the natural changes in the group list and made efforts to find new participants. Some of participants invited their acquaintances.

    System of running workshops

    Since February 7, the workshops took place 2 times a week every Monday and Wednesday. 8-15 persons participated in the workshops, which start at 18.30 and finishes at 22.00h.We set up a good collaboration with the Social Centre in the district, they provided us with the possibility to use their comfortable hall once a week and once a week we work in Youth Centre Babilonas' premises.


    We are successfully following the main structure of the course programme. On another hand we have improved it and added some new topics During the period March 3- April 16 we had workshops:

    - Touching, body language in different cultures. Meaning, tradition, prejudices, changes.
    - Easter Period and its Meaning in the Past and Today"
    - Effective Learning Strategies and Their Application in Learning about Easter
    - Ornament, Masks, Carnivals. Lithuanian heritage. European Tradition and World Events.
    - Social Advertising. Understanding the message.
    - Effective Learning Strategies and Their Application in Learning about Easter
    - Visual thinking Strategies. European Art.
    - Art as a Chance in the Perspective of Intercultural Misunderstanding During this period we have covered different subjects, being aware of rhythm of activities and theme centred interaction. All activities where based on educational and artistic activities with an intercultural aspect.

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

    It is difficult to link workshops, run by different teachers even on the same thematic. It is very hard to gather all the teachers to discuss the interaction. So why it is complicated to guaranty consistent continuity in the different themes of course programme.

    It is also difficult for the workshop's teachers to fill correctly the workshop's documentation. Some of them do not write English, some are creative personalities "allergic" to any papers :) so it needs lots of our extra efforts assisting them or sometimes writing instead of them.

    As the new members were joining the group gradually, we had to be aware of group dynamics and to use the time for group rebuilding.

    We think, that therapy is needed for the group from time to time. So why we use dance therapy, art therapy exercises during some workshops.

    We have also faced unexpected problem of communication between the youth of "Babilonas" and the group of adults from Grundtvig. For youngsters it was new to find themselves in the situation of being not the only main owners of "Babilonas". They were challenged to be together and to share the space with the generation of their parents. Instead of expected collaboration we faced the neglecting from the youngsters. We had not predicted such reaction and did not rightly prepare young people. The discussions about this situation took place a bit too late. Today we already have much more flexible and open situation.It made us think about the future necessity of projects meant for interaction and common learning of generations, even if we have a perfect collaboration between the two generations inside the Grundtvig group. We are satisfied about the teachers we have invited to run the workshops. They all are professionals and interesting personalities. Though we were a bit anxious that it can be complicated to motivate potential teachers explaining them the essence of the project, today we are very glad about the excitement both of participants and the teachers.

    - In what way did the educational and artistic activities interact? We had an interesting course of "Easter Period and its Meaning in the Past and Today".(3 sessions):

    - Ornament Workshop. It started with getting acquainted with the ornaments from different continents. Participants were asked to look for examples of ornamentals in their common surrounding. Also reproductions of traditional ornaments from different continents were presented by the teacher.

    Participants were invited to reflect upon the composition, colouration, and rhythm of ornament items, to find the reiteration of ornamental symbols in different cultures, to define specifics and to try to understand the meaning of symbols. Then they created their own ornaments On A3 papers, working individually. At first the topic of the activity seemed frightening, a bit boring, because they almost all thought that they were unable to draw at all. And during the process, consulted by the professional artist they were more and more involved. They found out their own creative potential, the joy of working both individual and in the group at the same time. Though they liked a lot the previous theatre workshops, some said "....if theatre was something untouchable, here it is something more tangible", "....since now I will see the ornament everywhere, it is not boring, it is interesting... I learned about it and I found my own abilities..." I was captured by the peace of working process ... I do not like and can't create...But now I like my ornament...", "I thought that I will not be able to manage such a big space of paper, I have forgotten painting years ago, but now I am very glad about my own result....", "It is very nice to see each others' works, admiring and wondering how it can be so beautiful..."

    Later some participants told that they applied the gained knowledge in decorating Easter eggs.

    - During the following workshop Effective Learning Strategies and Their Application in Learning about Easter, the method of Mind Map was introduced as a tool for learning. Participants have shared their experience and knowledge of Easter traditions in their own regions, what Easter means personally for each. (Different ethnic regions in Lithuania and also local Polish and Byelorussian traditions were discussed). Teacher has told about her native Hungarian tradition. The printed materials about Easter tradition in different countries were distributed for three groups. Working in the group and using Mind Maps, participants have made three presentations of Easter celebration traditions in Europe: artistic painted Mind Maps and verbal presentations. Participants were asked till the next session to gather information about Vilnius' palms. "I have never thought, that learning could be so easy, using such a mind map..." It is fun to create a mind map in artistic way and at the same time to put information into the "shelves" .... "It is much easer to remember the information in such way...." "..... It is fun to create the mind map in the group, together..." "It was very useful. I will definitely use it, because it helps to remember and to sort the information..." "I learned so much about Easter. Very useful method"," I will try it at home.." "The mind map was a bit complicated, but I was proud about myself that I managed.."

    - The third workshop Vilnius' Palm Tradition and Biblical Meaning of Easter started with checking the homework. The composition, materials ornamental styles of Vilnius' palms was discussed. It was recalled that the tradition of the beginning of the XX century to create colourful paper palms in Vilnius region has vanished. Participants were invited to create big paper palms working in three groups. The experience of the Workshop on Ornaments has helped to create beautiful and original palms. Participants enjoyed the creative process in the groups.Second part of the Workshop was based on Bibliodrama method. Participants were invited to reflect upon the Biblical meaning of Palm Sunday and Easter. One of the participants read the Luke18:28-40. Jesus enters Jerusalem on Palm Sunday. Participants have chosen the roles and played the scene. It was impressive, when coincidently the freshly made palms have felled in front of the participant, who played Jesus. Having already had several workshops on theatre before, participants was rather flexible for improvisation. Deep reflection took place after the session e.g.: "I understood that 2000 years is not that much. People have not changed so much as the surrounding..."(Saulius-Jesus); "It is strange-Jesus is riding me and I even do not see him...."(Tomas-Donkey) "I am glad, that I experience such close communication. I feel like in the family. I liked my emotions. I felt myself very authentic...." (Vilija- the owner of the donkey); "it was so nice to rise up from the routine and to plunge into what is so Good. (Olga- the woman in the crowd). Participants found interesting links with their personal lives and made useful insights reflecting, why they have chosen one or another role, how did they act and feel in the role.

    How did the arts-based educational activities help the participants to:
    - acquire certain competences and skills;
    - facilitate knowledge assimilation (learning specific information);

    During this reporting period the beneficiaries developed Competences 1, 5, 6, 8.

    Competence 1. During the workshops participants often have to make oral presentations on different topics, as well as they talk during the theatre improvisation. We always have verbal reflections during so called last circle after every workshop, when participants talk about their knowledge, skills, attitudes, acquired during the session. We observe gradually developing speaking skills of participants in front of the group, their ability to openly express their thoughts and feelings.

    Competence 6.1 Interpersonal, intercultural and social. During the workshops, they learned to understand the codes of conduct and manners generally accepted or promoted in different societies, also the awareness of concepts of individual, group, society and culture and the historical evaluation of these concepts. They got awareness and understanding of national cultural identity in interaction with the cultural identity of Europe and the rest of the world. This competence was developed during the workshops Ornaments, Masks, Carnival; Visual thinking Strategies. European Art; Easter Traditions. During the workshop of Social Advertising we worked on critical reception of information from mass media. Participants were discussing different views of the same social problem.

    6.2 Civic competences. Participants were asked to observe the city life around, to figure out the problems and to see their own role in solving them. They also recalled the painful social situations form their daily life which they experienced in the streets. Some of the situations were played by the participants during the drama workshop and discussed afterwards, reflecting the sense of belonging to one's locality, town, readiness to respect the values and privacy of others with a propensity to react against anti-social behaviour. It helped to understand the meaning of the participation in civic life.

    Competence 8. Cultural expressionThe ability to appreciate and enjoy works of art and performances based on a broad definition of culture and the open attitude to diversity of cultural expression and a strong sense of identity combined with respect for diversity, as well as awareness of national and European cultural heritage and their place in the world were developed during the workshops:

    - Ornament, Masks, Carnivals. Lithuanian heritage. European Tradition and World Events.
    - Easter Period and its Meaning in the Past and Today.
    - Social Advertising. Understanding the message.
    - Visual thinking Strategies. European Art.
    - Art as a Chance in the Perspective of Intercultural Misunderstanding

    Competence 5. Learning to learn.After already having had experienced the process, the group was asked to review the advantages of the project. Answers were:

    - Self perception, deliberation of personality, widening the diapason of inner possibilities...
    - The possibility to change my life into the positive side.
    - I will come here even in the bad mood and I am sure I will rejoice. I will be able to act in not standard, way. I know that it will be good for me here.
    - The sense of community....
    - It is provoking us to do something more than we were used to...
    - It gives us the skill to receive the information, to look for the information, to enter new earlier unknown things without fear.

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

    Group members with less motivation and skills were inspired and challenged by the enthusiasm of participants with broader thinking. We could always feel the "secret hope" that participation in this project should help to solve personal inner problems (the need of therapy). The most astonishing thing was that group was able to create together in very positive way. No tint of destruction ever rose. Some reflections of participants: Teresa (unemployed) very openly expresses her fluster in the situation of looking for a job. Nijole (unemployed) was very happy that she had a possibility to laugh and to feel like a child for a while. Almost all participants emphasized that it was very interesting to create a parsonage during the theatre sessions. It provided them with the possibility to look at the world from different point of view (child, policeman, ticket controller etc.). As this task was also as homework, it made them visit unusual places for them and to find out new, unexpected details.All participants told that their perception of the theatre became much wider. They expressed the wish to create a peace of theatre during the project. Everybody told, that they already new, how and where to apply theatre skills. Vilija(unemployed) : "it will be the push for life long learning. This project made me feel eager to continue learning, to dear to explore new things....." Liuda (kindergarten nurse): "I have never concerned my life as a game. It is good to start reflecting...."


    - A selection of Pilot workshops documentation (two or three most interesting units) >>>
    - Photos/Videos from pilot workshops >>>

    Administrating team

    Rolanda Sliaziene
    Arune Taunyte
    Domas Staniulis


    Jurgita Gailiute - actor
    Dainius Vengelis - actor
    Vida Lipskyte- actor
    Agne Lasinskiene- graphic designer
    Jonas Gvildys- photographer
    Arune Tornau- painter
    Saule Lemantauskiene- calligraphist
    Nomeda Marčenaite- ceramist
    Nijole Vilutiene - graphic artist


    Rolanda Sliaziene
    Leda Turai - psychologist, coacher
    Liutauras Degesys- philosopher
    Arune Taunyte
    Algirdas Knistatutas - ornithologist

    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: