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St.Art! - Building EU citizenship through Street Arts
Start date: 04 May 2015, End date: 03 Jan 2016 PROJECT  FINISHED 

The KA1 project "Start - Building EU citizenship through street arts" is a youth exchange which brought together in Tortona (AL. - Italy) 40 young people aged 16 to 22 years and 12 group leaders from Italy, Spain, Finland, Hungary and Ireland, who for 10 days have ventured in and experimented different street arts: clowning, juggling, circus arts and acrobatics. The exchange took place from August 2nd to 11th, 2015. During the exchange every afternoon street arts workshops have been organized accompanied, in the mornings, by educational workshops and activities in which we tried to address some key issues of today's Europe: social inclusion, intercultural dialogue, active citizenship and youth empowerment. The alternation of the art labs and the workshops allowed us to accompany the young people in a process of awareness and growth, towards the recognition of their European identity and of their role as European citizens, through the acquisition of (individual and group) skills as self-esteem, confidence, ability to act in intercultural contexts, respect, knowledge of oneself and of others, ability to collaborate and work in teams, etc. that completed the skills and knowledge acquired during the morning activities (concept identity, culture and intercultural dialogue, social inclusion and exclusion, citizenship, participation, community, Europe). The project was born from the shared collaboration and experience with some of the partner organizations in previous years (exchanges, seminars and training courses) and the common need to offer to disadvantaged young people with family problems, behavioral and socio-economic difficulties new opportunity that could raise their awareness about their own identity and role in Europe and sensitize them to the topics of diversity, tolerance, knowledge of reality than their own. The project objectives have been achieved mainly thanks to street arts and thanks to the non-formal education methods and participatory approaches in which decisions were taken together with young people, who were equally responsible, thus facilitating the process of learning of the participants. All workshops and activities were aimed at the encounter, dialogue and cooperation among participants, through different techniques and tools (including some tools shared on the SALTO database). A support network that involved different associations and local groups active in the community and in particular the Youth Policies Office and the Youth Center of Tortona, in which spaces we have implemented all project activities, was created around the project. In this way, and thanks to a series of activities aimed at disseminating and sharing the project results (including the Street Arts Festival "ST.ART!") we were able to give visibility to our action in the local community, within schools and in front of the public administration. This exchange was for La Fenice and for many of the participants a symbol of a new beginning (hence the title "ST.ART!"): For those who have never believed that art and street arts could change society and creating aware and active citizens, for those who always believed it but never had the chance to prove it, for those who have decided to find themselves and to give meaning to their being European ... for our organization, which from October has been assigned the management of the spaces and activities of the youth of Tortona center, providing continuity and ongoing commitment with the Municipality and within the youth sector ... for our partners, engaged for the first time all together in one project ... for the young people we decided to involve, young people with difficult situations behind them and that for the first time have traveled outside their own countries, have met young people from other European countries, have been part of an intercultural group and "family" ... and of course for Tortona, which for the first time in its history has hosted a festival of street arts that managed to involve hundreds of citizens (adults and children) despite the rain! The effect and the biggest result that ST.ART had was to move, impress and excite, to create genuine and shared empathy that allowed to share real-life stories (from the Mediterranean crossing from Libya to Italy of the three young refugees from Gambia, to the daily struggles for the integration of young Hungarian Roma, through the economic, social and educational difficulties of many of the group's youngsters) and give life, thanks to the extraordinary work of a great clown (Peter Herculaneum), to a real European family. This atmosphere is also clear in the video shot by the European Commission during the project (indicated as one of the best Erasmus Plus stories of 2015): https://www.facebook.com/EUErasmusPlusProgramme/videos/vb.630809920303095/1054526181264798/?type=2&theater
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