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Sonics Strings and DalaViolinisterna - Sing Together
Start date: Jan 15, 2015, End date: Dec 14, 2016 PROJECT  FINISHED 

SING TOGETHER Background of Project This is a proposed youth exchange between Sonic Strings (Gort, Galway, Ireland) and DalaViolinisterna (Borlänge, Sweden), 2015-2016. Having found each other 3 years ago through musical connections (and serendipity!), they started collaborating and have previously met, at their own expense and through multiple fundraising activities, in each other's countries. That exchange has, to date, had a huge impact on the involved young people who have made new friends in another country, experienced a different culture, life-style and climate and all the activities that come with it. As the young people were hosted in the partner organisations families, a true experience of the partner country was guaranteed. Prior to the first visit, the majority of the young Irish people had never been to Scandinavia before. This new proposed exchange will offer a unique cultural and creative opportunity for a new group of young people, allowing a new life experience and extending their horizons beyond their own country, culture and language. As our project deals with the connection through music, and in 2015-2016 will introduce a new element of Song, we are fortunate that both cultures offer a strong traditional heritage in this area. Objectives Our goal is to offer our young people the opportunity to experience an educational and cultural life experience in another country through a long-term partnership between these two teenage groups who are matched in age and numbers and bonded through the common interest in music and movement as a combined art form. We want to continue to support their learning and acquisition of cultural and artistic competences (knowledge, skills and attitudes) with a view to improving their personal development and eventual employability in the European labour market. Number and Profile of Participants There are 17 young Irish people and 20 young Swedes involved, with 5 Irish leaders and 4 Swedish. The Irish group are all from a rural background, while the Swedish group are mixed between urban and rural areas. The age profile is between 13 and 18 years old and the gender mix is majority female. Description of Activities In our schedule of activities, we have prioritised the engagement of the two groups with each other in non-formal learning situations such as teaching each other songs, tunes and dances from the different cultures including lyrics in the 2 languages and informal meetings through living in each other’s families and experiencing different life styles from foods, traditions and habits to school times and systems. We will join up in a final show presented to Irish and Swedish schools and audiences including song, music and dances from both traditions. This way a common goal will be achieved by all the young people, Swedish and Irish, which will be a strong bonding experience for all. Methodology The leaders see themselves as guides and facilitators who help the young people to create and develop their ideas around the trip, the activities, music, the dancing and the final show. As both main leaders of the two groups, Katharina Baker for Sonic Strings (Ireland) and Eva Unosson for DalaViolinisterna (Sweden) are considered exceptional in their leadership skills and have been awarded national prizes for their pedagogical concepts in connection with their creative work with young people, competent leadership is guaranteed. The strong commitment of the young people to the groups is a reflection of a methodology that gives the young people appropriate guidance while leaving them the freedom and responsibilities to shape their group and take ownership for their identity. Results & Impact The results of this exchange will be a new learning outcome, inspiration and motivation to learn more and find out more about other countries and cultures, learn new languages and song traditions. The knowledge and skills gained from each trip are invaluable and the boost of energy and enthusiasm for the young people after every exchange has been immeasurable! The group meets up to watch the DVD created of the trip (and edited by some of the young people) and take the chance to evaluate there and then what worked well, what was learned from the experience and what could be improved for future visits and programmes. Long Term Benefits The project will further the idea of being a European rather than just Irish or Swedish citizen into reality. The exchange will open the dialogue in a very practical way and the personal contacts made will develop into long-term friendships far beyond the group exchanges. Participants will learn new creative skills and get practical experience of 'how things work' in different aspects of life in another European country.
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