European Voluntary Service

This is Pekarna's blog for EVS volunteers. Pekarna is a sending and hosting/receiving organisation for EVS volunteers and their volunteers (send and hosted ones) will keep you up to date about their work.

Evropska prostovoljska služba

Pekarna Magdalenske mreže Maribor te vabi, da se tudi ti pridružiš množici prostovljcev/-k Evropske prostovoljne službe (EVS) in odpotuješ v organizacijo po svoji izbiri v drugo državo EU. Smo pošiljajoča in gostiteljska organizacija EVS, ki mladim od 17. in do 30. leta za obdobje največ enega leta uredi vse podrobnosti za brezskrbno in povsem brezplačno delovanje v tujini.
Evropska prostovoljna služba je del programa ERASMUS + Mladi v akciji.

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Thursday, 2 June 2016

Pozdrav iz Berlina

Program Akterji Urbanih Sprememb je program Robert Bosch fundacije v sodelovanju z MitOstom. Program spodbuduja medsektorsko povezovanje na lokalnem nivoju. Udeleženci predstavljajo rešitve lokalnih problemov, pa naj so to socialni, prostorski ali infrastrukturni, in ob pomoči priznanih mentorjev poskušajo povezati javni in privatni sektor, ter tako maksimizirati učinke. Trenutno na lokalnih projektih po evropi deluje druga generacija akterjev (2015-2017). V prvo generacijo (2013-2015), ki je bila del pilotnega projekta, so bila vkljucena tudi Živa dvorišča.

Prvi med tremi akademskimi srecanji akterjev urbanih sprememb se je zgodil v sredini aprila v mestu Cluj, drugem najvecjem mestu v Romuniji. Prvic po srecanju v Berlinu, decembra lani, so se akterji iz razlicnih evropskih mest ponovno zbrali in predstavili svoje projekte. V naslednjih dneh so sledile delavnice, ogled mesta, predstavljen s strani razlicnih aktivistov, pogovor s strokovnjaki iz podrocja arhitekture in urbanega razvoja. Najvecji izziv akterjem se vedno predstavlja struktura medsektorskega sodelovanja.
Pomlad se prevesa v poletje in v zakljucek berlinske EVS izkusnje. Do konec julija bom sodelovala pri pilotnem projektu CitizensLab, ki se bo izvajal v okviru MitOsta. Cilj programa je okrepiti in povezati aktivne drzavljane iz razlicnih evropskih drzav in sektorjev, ki delujejo na lokalnih projektih v sodelovanju z lokalno skupnostjo. Kot del razsirjene ekipe bom zadolzena predvsem za podrocje event managementa na prvem KickOff srecanju akterjev v Berlinu.

Foto: Academy Meeting, Cluj, Romania // @Panos Georgiou


Performing politics

The two things that I’m most interested in are performative arts and social and political engagement. The latter was already part of my life, both as a representation of my day to day actions, and as a number of activities I used to take part in back in my city, Cluj. I don’t think this facet of my personality and life will fade away any time soon. And that realization that my organization is politically active was one of the reasons I was very happy to join them.
However, the performing arts part was only tangentially a part of my life. What I mean by that is that of course I was following the theater scene, I was attending theater performances, but this would rather correspond to a hobby level of engagement, and I wanted more than that. Since I didn’t study acting or directing, and I had no idea if I would be good at any of that, years ago I tried something that I knew I have some talent in, and that is writing. I started to write theater reviews and sending them to publications that I appreciated, who published them. I actually started with a magazine that I loved, who had a contest for the young theater critics, which I won.
This kept me going for a while. I even enrolled in a master in journalism, Media Production, to make sure I’m qualified to delve in the area of writing and performance, even if only tangentially.
But I always had a need and desire for more, I wanted to be a part of the festivals that I was attending and maybe reviewing, and the shows that I was watching and writing about. It’s pretty hard, even for those who have studied theater, to make it their job – it doesn’t pay much, and it’s anyways very hard to catch a break and be hired by a theater.
So, when I came to Maribor, knowing that my organization has theater of the oppressed classes and that they are active in the artistic field, I thought this might be a chance to give it a go in some hands-on involvement.
The theater of the oppressed as such is not a form of theater I’m particularly fond of. That is because it is mostly a form of social work, a tool for social change rather than a form of art. And whilst I think activism is crucial for political change, and I also believe in the combination and synergy of art and political message, I think that the esthetical form needs to be kept and carefully worked at. This is not of particular interest in the theater of the oppressed. Its practitioners are mostly interested in portraying an oppressive situation and encouraging people to actively participate in its development. Which is, again, great, empowering and maybe even functional in its purpose. But it’s not art.
The workshops and my implication in some projects together with the group So-so-so and the group ZIZ, both part of my organization, have brought me quite a lot though.
I was always very uncomfortable with public speaking (i.e. situations such as holding a presentation, not those such as casually speaking to people, which I love). This was always one of my fears. And I decided to subject myself to as much public speaking as I could. And from being pretty scared of taking turns in saying some words about ourselves in an I-don’t-know-what-workshop, to acting on stage is a pretty big leap! Actually sometimes, when I have a look over the photos from our performance, I still can’t believe that I’m doing that. And while I might not have I don’t know what skills or talent, and while I’m still nervous for a while on stage,  I’m pretty proud of myself both for having the courage to do it, and for the results.
Another thing that I learned from co-creating and acting in a performance is that it’s not really a larger-than-live, science-fiction, other-worldly endeavor to make something happen from scratch, to build a decent performance. It is actually something attainable. Something that you can, step by step, put together, reshape, and make it work.  And I want to hold on to this feeling, because I am going to start my own project, a workshop and a final performance on body image and the media influence in our self-perception, and I think this is a pretty big, and at the same time, scary endeavor.
One last realization that I’m going to mention here is how important the people that you work with are.  In an activity where you’re so exposed, it is very important to trust and rely on your co-workers. It’s very important to hear from them that you did great, to trust their opinions and feedback, to be able to work with their feedback live, on stage, where you need to be in character as much as you can, so you need the others to interact and be in the moment with you. If you don’t have that, and you don’t respect the other’s actions, choices and tastes, you cannot go on, as you no longer feel and pleasure in it. At least I can’t. Fortunately, it only happened to me once to decide to leave a workshop because I wasn’t working with people I was the slightest bit on the same page with. 

Ah, and one more thing: as I mentioned, I always wanted to be part of a (good) festival, with more than attending or writing about it. And now, we’re going to perform our forum play, ‘Act like a girl!’ at Lent, and maybe even on the Theater of the Oppressed Non-festival! Not bad at all! :)

April weather

Wow, April’s gone! It has been a rollercoaster month with not much to do, then everything to do, then nothing to do again, and it was the same with weather – we had rainy days and warm days and snow in the middle of that. The first big thing happening was the Day for change – Dan za spremembe, with the subtitle Dan za spoštovanje (Day for respect). All the NGOs in the city were invited to participate in promoting tolerance, understanding and respect by attracting people to workshops, food cooked by local Iranians and Somalians and a peaceful walk around the city centre with handmade signs. It may not have been much, but I’m sure it got at least a few people thinking.
During the month, I experienced the first Guestroom Maribor residence artist and the process that happens there. Martina Kartelo, a Croatian performance artist living in Iceland, developed a project about exploring poverty, which included visiting „poor“ areas of the city, doing dumpster diving, discussing the topic and at the end of her stay, creating a solo performance and a final public performance about „burying poverty“ with a funeral march carrying a coffin that was set on fire floating on Drava. I’m still not entirely sure what to think about the performances and how they made me feel, but they were definitely something I haven’t experienced before. With a residence this interesting, I’m curious to see what comes next.

Pekarna also organized the Kje so meje? project aimed towards bringing attention to the refugee and immigrant topic, with a discussion, workshop, and creating a booklet of immigrant stories from people that moved to Maribor. I had the opportunity to interview a Yemenian woman and while our conversation wasn’t as long and casual as I would have wished, it was an opportunity to directly hear a story from an actual person, not the media. More importantly, through the printed booklet, many others will also have a chance to read that story.
And, probably the most fun little project I took part in (not just because of what it was about), was the clown workshop that took place over one weekend in Vetrinjski dvor. I had the opportunity to photograph people learning how to create their own clown, then how they developed them and interacted with each other’s clowns. The red nose really is a magic thing that allows people to become someone completely different once they put it on.