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UpCycling Art
Start date: May 1, 2015, End date: Oct 31, 2015 PROJECT  FINISHED 

The youth exchange "UpCycling Art" was a non-formal educational project regarding recycled materials and how to use them in a creative or entrepreneurial way in our daily life. The big climate changes and excess waste particularly for Cyprus and participating European countries, made us realise that we can do more to raise awareness and change our daily habits. Furthermore the financial crisis and its impact on youth unemployment hinted that alternatives could be explored in the entrepreneurial path. With this youth exchange we wanted to increase the environmental consciousness of young people and inspire them to rebuild their daily life with recycled materials in a creative and innovative way. The project aimed to raise awareness on environmental issues through participants’ reflection and group discussion. Additionally, it aimed to increase creativity with hands-on workshops focusing on creating new crafts and products from recycled materials. These workshops aimed also to expand knowledge and increase competences on working with recycled material as well as promote new methods in the youth work field that are more environmental friendly. To foster entrepreneurship, the innovative creations were used to simulate business and marketing role-plays as well as a real promotion case through exhibiting the products at a local fair. Being a European youth exchange, the project aimed also to promote European citizenship and inter-cultural understanding. With the organization of cultural evenings, participants were encouraged to learn some basics from each other’s cultural language, music, dance and traditions. The youth exchange took place in Kampos village, Nicosia, Cyprus between 21st and 31st of August 2015. There were 36 young participants (6 from each European country) in total from Cyprus, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Romania and Czech Republic. The age of the participants ranged between 18 and 30 years old with the majority being between 18 and 25 years old. The participants involved were young people with interest in environmental issues, crafts with recycled materials, entrepreneurship ways with up cycling art. No background/experience in this field was required. The project involved also participants willing to acquire practical experience with crafts and experience and inter-cultural exchange. Art in this case was used as a form of communication language and facilitated inclusion of participants with limited knowledge of English or other secondary language or with social and economical obstacles. Our activities ranged from theoretical sessions on career, skills and entrepreneurship, to handcrafts workshops, role plays, interactive games and study visits. While the day we were learning or building something new, at night we were experiencing different parts of Europe through the presentations and delicacies of the cultural evenings. For more interaction with the local community we also included a treasure hunt in the village and an exhibition day open to all residents of Kampos village and surrounding area. The outcome of the project consisted of many beautiful constructions from recycled materials, ranging from wooden tables and chairs, to artistic decors, new clothe designs and small crafts. The participants learned how to make products, how to promote or sell them and how it could be turned into an entrepreneurship idea. Through this project, European participants and (Cypriot) locals came closer experiencing a bit more from each other’s culture. Through social media and the network platform we maintain we see friendships among participants strengthening via visiting each other in their home towns. Our partners have also been positively influenced to implement similar projects in their countries. The local community at Kampos village and others who got a glance of our project activities have expressed interest to participate or help in future events. We believe this has long-term benefits in promoting environmental-friendly lifestyles and experiencing European citizenship and cultural understanding.
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