(LT) Samogitia and Aukštaitija Study Trip Evaluation – UK participants
Notes from the evaluation session undertaken by the UK participants on August the 7th 2012.
- 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
- 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