The project’s workshops divide into two main categories: a transnational workshop and local workshops.These workshops work with representatives from the most affected communities (including third-country nationals legally residing in the EU) and are integral to changing attitudes and breaking stereotypes about refugees, immigrants and third nationals.

Transnational Workshop: Otherness Dialogue

The ‘Otherness Dialogue’ made up the transnational workshop and was held during the second YAW transnational meeting on 25-26 November 2017 in Thessaloniki, Greece. The main aims of the ‘Otherness Dialogue’ were to explore how, through storytelling and common narratives, we could identify a way in which people speaking different languages and from different cultural backgrounds could communicate and share their stories and experiences.

In other words, how could we facilitate the participants’ expression of their individual stories and realities, whilst be sensitive to their own cultural, socio-economic, historical and linguistic background?

The ‘Otherness Dialogue’ used four key concepts to develop the workshop:

Observation. Participants perceive and observe the space, themselves, their stories, objects, and each other. Space, time, exercises are conceived to allow perception, observation, reflection and self-reflection.

Boundaries. Storytelling uses the sideways technique, never entering spheres of privacy or trauma: it asks for personal stories related to the participants’ names, childhood, favourite objects. This way the participants can decide for themselves how far they go in their storytelling. They set their own boundaries and can how and in what way they share and partake in the workshop.

Metaphor. The workshop employs the simple and effective vehicle of the metaphor to relate semantics and imagination. It helps the participants express themselves in an artistic manner, whilst protecting their privacy and fostering creativity.

Empowerment. These methods foster expression, without re-traumatisation, labelling and self-labelling of the participants. They instead encourage self-expression and fluid self-identification.

Trainer: Rita Sebestyén

Assistant: Mira Nadina Mertens

Methods and tools: ⓒ othernessproject.

Partners from the Czech Republic (Institut pro regionaini rozvoj, o.p.s.), Denmark (Othernessproject), the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (Center for Intercultural Dialogue -CID), Germany (Jugend- & Kulturprojekt e.V., Memorare Pacem and the Municipality of Dresden), Greece (Addart and the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki), Hungary (Gláser Jakab Emlékalapítvány) and the United Kingdom (Oldham Metropolitan Borough Council).

You and I – are not so different

As part of the You Are Welcome local campaigns, our partner organisations hosted local workshops in their home countries under the title ‘You and I – are not so different’. The workshops took different forms but all focused on addressing the same themes – fostering the civic participation of third nationals and creating an environment in which they could express themselves creatively.

Read about the workshops carried out in Germany, in the U.K., in Hungary and in Greece!