From the 17th-25th June, we welcomed over 30 international creatives from 10 countries across Europe to participate in our latest Erasmus+ training course in our home town Manchester.
Throughout the week they took part in lots of different activities and training for the project. Forming groups, they came up with scenarios and ideas on how to tackle problems and stereotypes that might come up in everyday life. They co-operated with each other and learnt about their different cultures and backgrounds. All participants developed their knowledge of interconnection between different cultures and discovered how despite being very distant, they all are very close culturally. Claudia from Sardinia, Italy described how she learnt about the connection between Hungary, Romania and Translyvania, the distinction between Turkish and Kurdish people and also the situation in Greece: “Everyday for me was a wonderful surprise, every moment I spent with my “colleagues” I learn something new from them”.
Participants also needed to prepare throughout the week for a performance they would showcase at a local Manchester festival. Participants utilised New Song Studios in Old Trafford, Manchester, they received help from the Beat Bazaar Music Leader, Lorien Edwards as well as Gyopár Pávai , in creating music specifically for the festival.
For the last three days of the project the participants performed at Góbéfest. They helped open the festival to the public, taking to the main stage to present their feelings about European Citizenship.
Using Ode to Joy as a backing track, they came up with lyrics to a song which described the project. The performance showcased the skills and talents of the participants of the project, with participants playing instruments and singing. The performance also featured dance which showcased the dances of the different countries people were from.
Renato, also from Sardinia, said this was his key moment of the project. “Performing my music on such a big stage and also playing with such sensitive and fine musicians. I was so excited!”
Participants also split into groups to run workshops for the public for the rest of the three day festival. Speaking to Dagga G from Manchester, UK, his workshop was focused on cultural identity, focusing on a belonging to Europe. He chose to paint the flags of different countries onto festival-goers to help portray this. Participants found it interesting learning how to involve and relate to unknown people and finding a way of interacting with new members of the public and involving them in the workshops.
For many participants, it was their first time visiting Manchester and discovering our city. They liked the combination of old and modern architectures, the gothic buildings and the culture and art around Manchester. The participants got to perform in Albert Square in front of the iconic Manchester Town Hall for the last days of their project. Claudia described Manchester as a wonderful city: “I loved that everywhere you can breath art: great architecture, interesting museums, lots of talented street artists”. Renato also loved the atmosphere of the city, exploring areas such as Chinatown, the gay village and seeing the street performers across Manchester.
The Roots project participants also got the opportunity to meet the Lord Mayor of Manchester, June Hitchen and the commissioner of the Prime Minister of Hungary, Katalin Szili, during the project. They discussed with her about their countries and cultures and what they’d been doing during the project. Many of the project participants have now kept in touch and are planning to meet up again and connect in further projects and activities. Dagga G, for example, is planning to travel to visit connections he’s made and DJ in their countries.