(LT) Samogitia and Aukštaitija Study Trip Evaluation – UK participants

Notes from the evaluation session undertaken by the UK participants on August the 7th 2012.

Highlights:

  • participation
  • Fish Eye – very open and honest and lots of commitment as volunteers. Helped identify common problems.
  • Enabled access to people and projects. Universality of body language.
  • Share meal on last evening
  • Youth club guys – real, genuine, embedded in community. same problems as in UK
  • Singing – on the last night especially
  • The lake
  • 3 countries participants got on very well
  • Living Library – deep conversations in middle of Lithuania with Lithuanian man – unique. Horrifying to discover level of discrimination of disabled and gay people
  • time to spend with people on study trip – privilege – challenging and tiring but positive

Impact on our thinking and practice:

  • increased confidence to mix with people and practice communication (verbal and non-verbal)
  • idea to develop project to skills share with practitioners and community members – exchange (intergenerational)
  • chose to be out of comfort zone dancing at Fish Eye – challenging and memorable – learning from experience
  • very lucky to have experience with translator at Living Library
  • social capital – “passive” people linked to their Soviet experience?
  • is it young people who are passive or workers who don’t actively engage? e.g. newness about internet / games – historical context. freedom from censorship. now feel dictated to by practitioners?
  • reflecting on own practice??? open – minded – try to understand people’s background/ culture
  • we ignore “history” in our own country – good reminder to think and find out about motivations and context
  • what is the case for community engagement? who wants it?
  • why are people doing the work? who says there’s a need?
  • Lithuanian view of Russians – intruding, resentment – surprise but remember occupation, language, censorship – it helped to challenge preconceptions
  • reinforced importance of doing research before starting projects – find out about community, building relationships and developing the group  – a longer term participatory approach
  • funding dictates what gets done, practitioners have to do lots of things to get funding and are not necessarily capable
  • institutionalisation of community practice e.g. led by Universities, Arts organisations – how does it relate to community action e.g. bake sale
  • would like to put Living Library methodology into practice – University freshers (new students week) – students, staff, residents?
  • would the Living Library help reduce disability discrimination? am I doing enough in my practice?
  • ideas for further research – Polish and Lithuanian communities in the UK – people felt isolated when moved here? culture of older Eastern European migrants in UK?
  • community cohesion including Eastern European

 

Disappointments:

  • bit too much corporate presentation
  • would like more critical discussion
  • not much evidence of older people’s engagement
  • not much use of public spaces observed
  • could see split between people from Soviet era and post-Soviet age groups
  • contrast with Warsaw – intergenerational projects and Podlasie older people’s groups
  • not seen like-for-like projects to compare the three countries
  • would like more participatory visits – meet participants not just workers
  • clear improvement/ development from 1st Lithuanian trip to 2nd one – less travelling and more involvement in project visits, more relaxed, and confident

 

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