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Start date: May 1, 2015, End date: Sep 30, 2015 PROJECT  FINISHED 

The exchange project ?Lost in senses? is a partnership between three social-cultural organizations: Ostend (Belgium), St-Petersburg (Russia) and Kamchatka (Russia). The group of LOST IN SENSES counted 14 Russians (6 from St. Petersburg and 8 from Kamchatka) and 14 Belgians. Some of the Russian participants took already part in a former project ?Life in a big City? in St. Petersburg and have a very good connection with the Belgian group. For other Russians this project was a first-in-a-life-time experience. The Belgian participants, on their turn, have been involved in exchanges and artistic workshops by mu-zee-um for several years. From the first steps on and until the end, all youngsters were highly involved in the organization of the exchange program (e.g., from initiating the project, its content, until the final preparation and guiding of the activities,..). The central theme of the project was ?communication? as it is of primary importance into an intercultural exchange program. Thereby, we added our own touch towards the definition of ?communication?: The most obvious common denominators of human society have always been and still are ?The Four Elements: Water, Air, Fire and Earth?. So why not use them as a communication tool and source of expression in the intercultural society of today? The four elements haven?t only been important sources for survival, but are also used as tools for communication. In this project we wanted to use the elements as inspiration while trying to express ourselves and building real international relationships. Exploring these innovative and non-formal educational techniques lead towards important improvements in daily practices of youth work in general. Leaving smartphones and forgetting Facebook, was a truly remarkable adventure for all participants.The participants discovered a place where human influences are limited and got the opportunity to return to the primitive components of humanity and nature. In short, they got the chance to go back to basics. In a first phase we wanted to ?CREATE a bridge?. We left all that is familiar to encounter the other in a new way. Both the Belgian and Russian youngsters came across the four elements in their lives, be it in a very different way. We intended to see how we could work together as a group and at the same time, work together with the elements themselves. The power of the elements couldn?t be more present than in the mystic landscape of Kamchatka, which triggers people?s imagination, creativity and purity. Through this journey, the participating youngsters were creators of art that stood in direct contact with the nature around them. By this the youngsters became more aware of their own creating capacity and competences, which was strengthened through a conscious European citizenship. Being informed by each other?s stories and experiences, we raised a more general voice in European policy making. This general voice allowed us to make both a difference at local and national policy level. In the second phase, we tried to ?thoroughly LIVE on the bridge?. We had to open our inner selves to enable true connections to derive. Participants learned to know the other in all his or hers otherness. This facilitated a real and long lasting relationship. During the journey of the exchange project the environment was also experienced as a transformable ?living? source. The youngsters payed attention towards the different substances and transformation of living conditions by making multiple ?time lapses?. Time lapses represent a range of movements during an extensive period of time in merely a couple of seconds. As such time lapses can be seen as a metaphorical expression for the inner transformations youngsters went true during their whole lifetime. A further deepening, reflection and communication on the 'Four Elements? and intercultural experience was done through activities focusing on group cohesion, artistic and intercultural workshops and the merging and editing of the land art photography and time lapse during the exchange. The project had a lot of impact on a variety of aspects: Participants were stimulated to think critical. They got a broader perspective on the world, and are able to compare their own culture with other cultures. They have more self knowledge, are more self-assured as they are constantly challenged to give the best of their selves. They have learned to be conscious about the environment, by being in nature so often. Of course there is also the intercultural learning, by respecting everyone. Strengthening youngsters automatically strengthened the participating organization as well. Future projects will surely benefit from the experiences of the organization and the youngsters. To involve other persons, afterwards the creations (photographs and drawings) are presented in two hometown cities of the participants - Ostend (in the mu-zee-um POP-UP) and Kronotsky Reserve (moving exhibition).
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