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The power of Empathy / Máttur samkenndar
Start date: May 1, 2015, End date: Oct 31, 2015 PROJECT  FINISHED 

The name of the project is The Power of Empathy. Three groups took part, they came from England, Denmark and Iceland. The participants were 66 in total. The main task was to exam the power of empathy, both for individuals , smaller groups within the whole group and in cultural context from each and one’s background. Everyone had a different story to tell for they came from different communities and countries. That gave the research more depth . We talked about empathy, what it is, it’s manifestation, the different between empathy and sympathy is. How we differently show, declare and experience empathy. We discussed what row the empathy has in our communities and the different of a interpretation between countries, towns etc. The discussion was leaded by Lasse and Björt, they created a strong frame where participants could dig into their motions, experiences on thoughts on the matter. The content was up to them but the main point was to create safe environment where everyone would get equal opportunity to express them self's and where different point of view became equal. Through discussion we got to know new point of view, discussed how our angle has formalized though the years and we gave different cultures the opportunity to merge within each other. We learned about empathy and we strengthen our awareness of when we show empathy as individuals, as a group and even in a wider perspective as a nation or a continent. In order to improve the society we live in it needs to change, and all change starts with the individual. To be able to change we need to understand, both our selves and the society that we live in. To be able to understand we need to share stories, opinions, feelings and facts, we need to meet at a common ground where curiosity and creativity are our weapon of choice and all prejudice is left at the door. Thursday was the travel day, Friday we focused on discussion. After icebrakers practices and games we watched the video “The power of empathy” by Brené Brown. In context with that we divided the group into smaller groups and we discussed following questions: - What is empathy? - When do I feel empathy and why? - When do I show empathy? - How important is empathy to communities? Then we met up again and shared our experience from the discussions in the small groups. The next step in the program was to bring the discussion even deeper and in smaller groups to design an event that addresses and communicates, both individual and collective, thoughts about empathy to an audience. The platform was the opening ceremony of the LungA festival which took place on Sunday afternoon. The opening ceremony was entirely focused on this topic and entirely planned by the youth exchange group – facilitated by the professional workshop facilitators Björt Sigfinnsdóttir and Lasse Høgenhof. We divided in to the following groups and did brainstorm on the opening ceremony. People choose groups from interest/talent. - Performance (6 pax) - Performance (6 pax) - Performance (6 pax) - Decorations/Installation (15 pax) - Audience engagement group, welcome / Gifts (6 pax) - Ceremony (6 pax), anniversary - Visuals/video (5 pax) - Visuals/video (5 pax) - Technical matters (11 pax) The opening ceremony was the expression platform for the group. Where they shared their thoughts, talks, emotions, memories, hopes and dreams through varied work of art that they put on display that night. All the guests were participating in the show in one way or another. At the beginning they were embraced by the youngsters and leaded into the hall one by one. One group did paint 6 different faces that were implication to that how differently people shows emotions through facial expression. The pictures were 2 meters high and affected many of the guests deeply. One of the group made a dance where empathy was shown through body language. One group did read a poem and text about empathy and two videos were made where empathy and it’s power was the main topic. The hall was decorated by the group and the atmosphere was mysterious. The evening finished with a ceremony where all the guests went through the empathy maze, where they got embraced again, got beautiful words whispered in their ears, they chanted and lid a candles for peace and love. A beautiful ceremony that touched everyone involved, very appreciated for the locals because a young girl from Seydisfjordur died in a car accident two weeks before LungA started. The project took place in Seydisfjordur, a small town in one of the east fjords in Iceland. 9th - 20th of July 2015. 66 young people from art and entrepreneur schools in England, Denmark and Iceland took part in the project. The project were run separately but in close connection with the LungA festival. The participants were able to take part in varied workshops that LungA provided, an informal learning by varied art forms. We followed prepared program completely.
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