With large numbers of people fleeing conflict and violence and reaching Europe, there is an urgent need to develop strategies of inclusion to European societies on all levels. The role of public institutions, non-governmental organisations and other initiatives is crucial, offering safe spaces where these people can interact with local host communities, learn the languages and acquire the confidence to articulate their (changing) identity in the new context, as well as assisting with early recovery and transition. The aim of the 'United Makers' Training Course project is to bring together mentors, youth workers, managers and inspiring agents of change in the fields of inclusion through crafts, fine arts & art therapy, video & media, storytelling, responsible tourism, community development, sustainability and entrepreneurship. We will exchange experiences and stimulate peer-learning, thus foster further social inclusion and improve the activities that are carried out by each individual organization. The training will involve 21 participants from Germany, Slovenia, Belgium, United Kingdom, Ireland, Italy and Netherlands. It will take place in Ljubljana, Slovenia, 16th-22nd October 2017.
Throughout real-life experience, best practice examples we will exchange and develop the tools that help us achieve the following:
Development of cultural leadership: how to support asylum seekers, newcomers and migrants to become cultural leaders and be payed for their activities; Encouragement of participatory work as a particularly valuable method for collective empowerment and social cohesion; Recognition and validation of people's skills and talents: there is an urgent need for a legal framework that gives opportunities to employ more people on a cross sector level – those whose talents now remain unused as their degrees are not recognised, their status does not allow them to work, etc.; Making space for different subjective voices: as cultural activities and actions are ideal platforms for diverse and even completely opposed opinions to come together in a dialogue, we would like to exchange the actions that focus on bringing to light individual experiences, providing the freedom to express the stories and enable an exchange of voices, fostering mutual understanding and intercultural dialogue; Providing shared spaces: How do we create spaces of welcome, of protection, support and belonging? How do we make a spatial experience of sharing, working, learning, creating and finding solace?
As we believe, the initiatives resulting from such encounters and processes can inform the development of policies in broader areas including education, social policies and employment, in the context of migration.