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ASHA Diversity of Cultures Course
Start date: Sep 1, 2014, End date: Aug 31, 2015 PROJECT  FINISHED 

Dates: 10 – 18.02.2015; 20 – 28.02.2015 The aim of this project is to explore the positive aspects of European cultural diversity and how it can be promoted through intercultural learning. It will provide participants with competencies in using two innovative methods of studying cultural diversity – storytelling and music. Music and the art of telling stories are the only universal language promoting reading, creativity, comprehension and a mean through which our cultures can be translated to the others (who do not speak the same language as us). With this project we want to address all of these issues directly, promoting storytelling and music not only as tools but also as means of intercultural learning. The project idea came directly from young people who, upon their experiences in participation in international projects abroad, reflected on the importance of national stories and of the music, and a surprising lack of its conscious use of both of them as educational tools when studying about cultural diversity and intercultural learning. The project combines the ‘old’ with the ‘new’. Whereas storytelling is one of the oldest (and unfortunately forgotten) methods of exploring diversity (fortunately still very much present in the UK!) music always seems to remain to be the area of expertise of young people. The project will therefore address both sets of tools exploring their varieties as well as empowering participants to be their educational ambassadors. The first course will provide participants with competencies in using storytelling as a tool of exploration of cultural diversity and of intercultural education. The project will promote storytelling as a universal educational tool - participants will not only learn about the principles of storytelling, but will also show them how they themselves can adapt stories from various corners of Europe, from various periods or cultures for educational purposes. Methods here will be based on stories, the art of telling them, the importance of words and their contexts. Activities will be based on non-formal education and will actively involve all of the participants. We will also use the following resources: - Compass HRE Manual - New December 2012 Edition (Council of Europe) - Mosaic T-Kit for Euromeditteranean Youth Work (CoE-EU Youth Partnership) - Compasito Manual for HRE with Children All participants will be actively co-facilitating numerous sessions – they are the storytellers after all! The second course focuses on the role music plays in cultural diversity. The course is an educational journey through music styles and methods of communication with young people coming from different ethnic, national and cultural backgrounds through music, aiming at equipping participants with competences in intercultural communication. The programme of the course is based on non-formal exploratory methods including various modes of play and improvisation. We will be learning simple but profound pieces of World Music engaging participants through songs, rounds, rhythm-pieces and games. The programme will be lead jointly by Adrian Locher, ASHA’s Artistic Director, actor, voice coach and director and Gregers Brinch, composer/singer/director and teacher. The course will facilitate an unfolding of aspects of creativity that can strengthen participants’ intercultural skills such as working together in multicultural groups, creativity and entrepreneurship, practicing leadership and problem-solving. The objectives of the project are: - raise the awareness of the importance of music as a tool of intercultural learning and communication; - develop participants’ knowledge of how music is used in formal educational systems in Europe - develop participants’ skills as to how music can be used in non-formal education as a tool; - to raise participants’ awareness of how music affects intercultural communication; - to promote European mobility and educational programmes as tools for intercultural learning All of the activities will be primarily aimed at the social and personal development of all of the participants, their increased intercultural awareness. We will however include sessions aimed at looking towards the future – creating a snowball effect and encouraging participants to use the competencies gained to run future activities in their local areas or internationally, also via the Erasmus + funding opportunities. The result we are looking forward therefore is the ‘snowball effect’! We hope that the project will benefit, in the long term, not only the participants but also other people who will become exposed to the snowball we hope to start in the Forest of Dean. The courses will be held in the ASHA Centre in February and March 2015 and will involve 60 young people from 14 different organisations.

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