From 31 January to 1 February 2018, the project partners met in Edinburgh on invitatiion of INTEVAL. In the inspiring atmosphere of the premises of Foundation Scotland, similarities between hiphop culture and European values were discussed as well as arrangements for the finalization of the VAL.EU guidebook to European Values.
What do European values mean to you? Are values such as democracy, human rights, and solidarity enough to bind the continent together? Discuss your ideas with Europe’s leaders! Debating Europe is a platform where you can debate the issues you care about with European politicians and experts:
The following sentence can often be heard in political discussions about the European Union: “The EU is a community which is based on common values.” But what are the actual values, and what significance do they have for both the cohesion of the European Union and for its citizens? Certainly by the time this question is posed to any randomly assembled group of people in Europe, controversy is bound to arise. For some, the basic values of democracy, human rights and freedom are the main priority. Others hold the view that social cohesion, the preservation of natural resources, religion or security should occupy top spot.
How important is the discussion about European values to you? What methods and tools do you consider appropriate to communicate these values? Leave a comment and share your opinion on EPALE, the Electronic Platform for Adult Learning in Europe:
End September 2017 the project partners met in Skopje. Each partner country presented their local activities, and different methods to gain knowledge about European values were tested and discussed. It was a good and fruitful conference very well hosted by our Macedonian partner EcoLogic.
The next transnational event will take place at the beginning of February 18 in Edinburgh / UK, with the presentation of a draft guide book to teaching and learning of European values.
Theatre as a means to discuss European values
The starting point of this idea developed by uniT Graz/Austria is the problem to motivate and activate people to discuss values open-minded and very concretely. Theatre plays often deal with social and moral conflicts; there are concrete scenes and characters in a play, which the students involved can discuss. In the discussion, different moral and social perspectives on the decisions and solutions of the characters of the play will come up and the people involved will be able to notice the differences in their values more concretely. Tandems will be built – students from cultural programmes and refugees and migrants from our basic education courses. They visit theatre plays and discuss it with one another. Focus groups formed out of these tandems discuss results and open questions out of the experiences of the theatre visits. The main goals of this concept are firstly to raise awareness of differences in the way values are understood and implemented in different cultures. It often happens that on an abstract level people agree on values like liberty, solidarity etc. but there are big differences how they are interpreting it. At longer term, a kind of performance out of these experiences shall be developed together with the students, refugees and migrants.
A look at Europe and its values from the outside: that was the motto of a day seminar in a German language training course for highly qualified refugees (up to the European reference level C1) provided by VNB. The aim was to briefly capture the perspective of people who have not been socialized in Europe, and discuss and compare common European values to those brought along from the countries of origin.
First, a brainstorming session was held around the letters of the term E-U-R-O-P-A. Afterwards, the exercise “Europe through my eyes” provided a personal look on the new center of the refugees’ life. During this exercise, the participants exchanged their points of view about things that astonished them, and what they liked or disliked in and about Europe. Finally, a look into the future was made around the question “What would I change in Europe?”
When discussing European values in a language training course even with participants on a higher level of second language skills, it has to be taken into consideration that due to linguistic limitations it takes more time for the participants to express themselves, particularly when it comes to such a demanding issue like EU values.
The participants asked for more: a follow-up seminar is planned, where the topic of democracy shall be discussed on the subject of European fundamental rights and values. In particular, the tension between diverse values and approaches of conflict solving will be raised as a subject.
Between Brexit consequences and Hip Hop communities
The UK is experiencing acute pressures to make fundamental change following the national referendum decision to withdraw from the European Union and the formal legal decision to commence negotiations to effect the decision of the referendum earlier this year (“Brexit”). This has led to an increased awareness of the need to identify the nature of British values vis a vis European values which until recently had been largely unaddressed, but now have emerged as closely related to changing perceptions of national and personal identity.
INTEVAL (UK) has undertaken a literature search to explore the different usage of the concept of European values and especially how the divergent use of the idea of values is now – after the Brexit decision – being used in political and cultural narratives, and how this is being learned and taught. They have decided to focus their national work with that of other provider organisations in Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland. Edinburgh is the seat of the Scottish Assembly and has a diverse population with areas of high disadvantage and social exclusion. It also has a strong tradition of community education and social engagement.
INTEVAL have undertaken a scoping initiative to survey organisations in Edinburgh which may be suitable to take part in project activities in Edinburgh. This has included the local Hip Hop Community, political organisations, local community groups and groups set up to assist refugees and migrants who are arriving in Edinburgh. As an example, they have initiated discussions around European Values with the Hip Hop Community during Jam Piece 2017, an international Festival of Hip Hop Dance in partnership with Edinburgh Festival Theatre and Breakin Convention. A recap of this event can be found at http://www.thestateleith.com/jam-piece/
INTEVAL are now constructing three workshop/seminar programmes in Edinburgh. The first is to explore, with relevant stakeholders, the development of different approaches to relating the idea of European values to the realities of life in Edinburgh. The second to look into innovative learning and teaching methodologies, especially those related to including learning about values as part of the established curriculum in other learning provision, and the development of informal and non-formal learning about values. The third strand will explore the practical issues of developing provision in the future. This will include the practical development of the offered curriculum.