The mobility of youth workers was attended by 28 participants from eight different countries. There were 11 people with fewer opportunities who were offered the opportunity of additional support.
Aim of the training was to explore, present and practice principles of contact improvisation. It provides an opportunity to seek together possible implementations of this principle in youth work.
The mobility took place from 25.10. - 2.11. 2019 at Dob pri Domžale (Hostel Hiša na travniku). Our participants came from various professional fields of youth work, cultural, therapeutic and dance fields. This diversity added value to mobility, as the contribution of knowledge among participants, was greater and richer than usual. After the mobility was completed, participants brought new knowledge to their work environment and transferred the effects through their own experience to their users.
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The participants were introduced to the dance form of contact improvisation and the possibilities of using its methods and philosophy for the purposes of youth work. They gained practical and useful information on how to use the mechanisms of contact improvisation when working with their users, and through it addressed topics such as intolerance, inequality, social inclusion, etc. Through their own experience, participants gained insight into an innovative approach that they can use when working with young people to underpin key aspects of adolescent developmental tasks (communication, social contact, inclusion, self-esteem and physical self-esteem, etc.). Already during the mobility, participants have prepared several useful activities that are already accessible to all through the youtube channel. We shared our process on social networks, websites and groups of contact information in order to spread awareness of Erasmus + programs as well as new useful movement-oriented methods for supporting and diversifying youth work.
The main purposes and goals of our project remained at the core of our operations throughout the project.
1. We wanted to present the technique and methods of Contact Improvisation (hereinafter referred to as CI) to youth workers, coaches, teachers, etc. with skills they can use in their future projects (including Erasmus + programs). At the same time, we emphasized the artistic, creative, psychological, social and pedagogical potential that this dance technique has, and this was also emphasized and explored through activities.
2. To promote awareness of the importance of non-verbal communication, touch, contact, inclusion, and empathetic dialogue (listening and hearing) (especially among young people) and empower participants with tools to implicate them in their own systems.
3. To support participants with tools through and with which they can help young people (or other users) with the social and psychological problems currently present in society (dissociation, depersonalisation, loneliness, homophobia, etc.), to face them and overcome them.
4. Facilitate one's own experience of learning through the body and the use of movement methods of CI in a personal process.
We have followed the aforementioned goals through several different phases of the project and during them we checked their implementation (checking whether daily activities satisfy the project objectives, understanding the participants about the purposes of the project, etc.).
Our purpose was not to teach participants to conduct contact improvisation dance workshops but to present specific exercises, activities, warm-up exercises and principles for the purposes of non-formal education and non-formal education work with young people within which they will indirectly address pressing topics and issues of adolescence. In this way, we tried to empower them and to help them build an understanding of the dynamics of quality relationships, inclusion, communication, etc., which, after the end of the project, could be transferred to their users, work environment, social contacts and beyond.
From a broader perspective, contact improvisation has several important answers to current pressing issues that are part of growing up young people.
Digitization, new forms of youth addiction, lack of social skills, etc. We addressed these in a variety of ways and tested our participants' understanding of what can lead to implementation.