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    REPORTS - POLAND - 3rd report

    Cultural Vehicles in Education

    Grodzki Theatre Association

    15th July 2008

    Please describe the main activities taken at this stage of the project

    1) implementing and completing pilot workshops: 15th April - 30th June - two separate modules: the educational one (4 hours a week) and the artistic one (4 hours a week), closely related.The main subjects: Roma culture and traditions, Fairytales, Acting techniques (rehearsals for two public performances), European theatre traditions (puppet animation, construction of a theatre, stage props), European philosophy traditions (Greek philosophy, schools of logics), Great Discoveries and European Sailing (continuation), Revision

    2) holding progress meetings of CVE team: instructors, monitoring experts, project coordinator

    3) updating the project's website - (partner reports, photos, descriptions, conference)

    4) Preparing the agenda and running the partner's meeting in Berlin (12-13 June 2008)

    5) A monitoring visit to Ostrava (7th May 2008) - a meeting of the Polish and Czech team, including monitoring experts/researchers

    6) Working on the programme of the CVE conference together with Babilonas, Lithuania and on the recruitment of Grundtvig funding applicants

    7) Monitoring the implementation of pilot workshops in partner countries (reports, phone enquiries, e-mails, visit to Ostrava).

    The pilot workshops finished at the end of June 2008, according to the schedule, after the planned 256 hours of workshops took place. The final integration meeting took place on 4th July, when the participants received diplomas, chatted to CVE staff and grilled some food. The workshops were completed by 11 participants out of 12, which is a high score of 91 % of learners.

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

    The main problem was the tiredness of the group after half a year of intensive work - meeting twice a week since November 2007. They complained that they had to do some tasks ("Oh, no! Writing again!"), but stopped mentioning that they couldn't do it or were not good at it, which marks a change in their self-esteem. The group became quiet anxious before their first public performance and had to be given some relaxing and integrative exercises like singing Polish campfire songs or acting out a humorous scene from Brothers Grimm fairytale "Musicians from Bremen", where animals - amateur singers - successfully perform. It also helped them to watch a performance by another group run by Grodzki Theatre, who are more experienced and professional.

    In what way did the educational and artistic activities interact? Please give some specific examples

    During the educational unit the process of learning was supported by numerous artistic activities, for example: acting out scenes from European literature, reading and writing rhymed poems about European culture and the CVE workshops, writing the Defense of Socrates and performing it (one person was Socrates' solicitor and the group -his accusers), playing Roma travelers and spinning a story of their journey, looking at slides and albums of European painting (Van Gogh and Klimt - volunteer presentations by individual participants), watching and discussing Chaplin's film "The Lights of a Big City", singing traditional sailing hymns (shanties) and many other creative tasks. The instructor who was running artistic workshops always asked the participants to summarize what they learned during the educational meeting. His workshops in April, May and June consisted mainly of planning, preparing and rehearsing for two public performances, making decorations, costumes and stage props. The instructor, however, introduced some knowledge on European theatre traditions, for example an exercise of making up a story which takes place in a theatre building using as many words connected with theatre as possible.

    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.

    The development of learning, social and cultural competences was maintained - Lisbon Key Competences no 5, 6 and 8, as planned in the project.

    In terms of learning to learn the participants became much more active during the workshops and started proposing and carrying out some tasks like looking up texts of traditional Polish songs on the internet and practicing singing them together, reading out various information and fairytales. The group became very eager to continue the workshops and thanks to additional financing obtained by Grodzki Theatre they will be able attend educational classes in a new project till 30th October 2008. The programme, proposed by the group members, involves trips to galleries and museums, visiting a theatre building and meeting with actors, history of sport (from the Greek Olympic Games to nowadays), local and family traditions and creating a collection of Polish songs. The willingness of the group to continue learning, even throughout the summer holidays, is a visible, positive result of CVE project.

    As for social competences, participating in regular group meetings with friendly and safe atmosphere opened up most reluctant and shy learners. All participants contributed during discussions and most of them decided, spontaneously, to prepare presentations of their interests and shared their knowledge and passions with the others taking prominent positions as group leaders. The presentations varied in terms of subject and form - from informal talks on Lithuania's places of interest and looking at photos of old theatre workshops to mini exhibitions and poetry readings and animated discussions on paintings by Klimt and Van Gogh.

    Cultural competences were acquired during numerous theatre activities in which every single member of the group participated. Two public performances took place in May and June 2008. On 26th May 2008 during the annual Festival of Small and Big organized by Grodzki Theatre the CVE group presented a play "Gedyminas Dream". They had been working on the performance for the last few months and it was a great success. The performance took place in the old market square in Bielsko-Biała, where the Festival guests gathered. The CVE group presented themselves in interesting costumes and decorations, including the auroch (medieval ox), which they prepared themselves. During the Festival Grodzki Theatre hosted another CVE group from Ostrava, Czech Republic, run by Life Together. The second performance took place on 28th June 2008 on Chrobry Square in Bielsko-Biała during the Days of 11 Listopada Street organised by the Town Council. The members of the group also took part in the inauguration parade of the International Puppetry Festival on 24 May 2008, dressed up in their costumes and animating the animals they made (the ox-auroch and the iron wolf).

    b) The main area of study in the last two months of workshops was European philosophy. The educator, whose background was in philosophy, decided to share some of his passions with the group. The subject, although very challenging and demanding, was met with great interest. After introductory information on famous thinkers, the group learned how to use philosophy in practice: challenging false arguments, seeing throught the language of advertising, being able to defend one's position. Each participant had to argue a case in front of everyone, and even learners with mental disabilities wrote down and performed their scenes. Serious as well as humorous situations were practiced, including a brilliantly acted out defense of cannibalism by a leader of a tribe of man-eaters, who was trying to convert missionaries to his way of life.Towards the end of the course the focus shifted to revisions and organization of knowledge. The participants all agreed to be filmed during a revision workshop, which run in a form of a journey through the entire programme, eagerly embarked on by the group.During the last two meetings personal interviews were conducted by the Coordinator and Head of the Monitoring team, in which the participants shared with what they learned and achieved as individuals during the workshops.

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

    Personal growth and transformations manifested themselves very visibly through the prepared theatre performances. Although some members of the cast tried to get out of the play by missing key rehearsals or being very uncooperative and pessimistic about the production, the group managed to have their premiere during the Festival of Small and Big in May 2008 on the main market square of Bielsko-Biała. The actors became so motivated by their achievement that they decided to add extra scenes to their second performance, which took place in June 2008 in the centre of the town. Some participants who didn't take part in the first show were brave enough to perform, for the first time in their life.

    Workshops 21.04.2008 >>>

    Workshops 28.02.2008 and 19.06.2008 >>>

    Photos/Videos from pilot workshops >>>

    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: