Building Inclusive Societies _ Erasmus+ Training in Portugal

This February, Social Science Works participated in an Erasmus+ training on the themes of migration and inclusion, in Aveiro, Portugal, as part of a joint project “Building Inclusive Societies”. From 4 to 13 February, SSW fellows and interns joined participants from PIN (Psychosocial Innovation Network) from Serbia, Mentor from Croatia, and the organising NGO, Agora Aveiro from Portugal in an exciting and inspiring series of activities and discussions.

The training dealt with topics of inclusion and integration with a focus on the contexts of migrants and refugees in Europe. Through hands-on and group activities, participants talked about their perceptions of inclusive societies, integration of newcomers, and the challenges they have encountered either personally or professionally. The debates among participants were lively and thought-provoking especially due to the diverse backgrounds and experiences of the participating people.

The training introduced and explored several tools for promoting inclusion within communities. The participants divided into three groups, and each worked on one specific tool to develop an action to be carried out in the city of Aveiro. Below you can find some photos from these actions alongside some descriptions of these tools.

Theatre of the Oppressed

This group explored Theatre of the Oppressed as a tool to use body, movement, and storytelling to engage with real-life situations where discrimination and power dynamics are present. The acting group develops a story line, preferably based on their own personal experiences, and plays the scene for the rest of the group. At certain points in the scene the play stops and the audience is encouraged to act in, take on any of the roles in the scene and consider how they would mitigate in such situations.

Guerrilla action:

This tool is inspired by the guerrilla marketing methods, where an unorthodox method is used to promote a brand or message. In the realm of activism, it is often used in combination with arts and human activity in public spaces. The guerrilla group developed an action to raise awareness about refugees by wearing lifejackets and space blankets, holding up signs and marching through the city. The signs carried by the group included a QR code to a short video of a refugee talking about his or her life story. The guerrilla action group walked along the canal in the city centre of Aveiro and approached citizens, inviting them to watch the video. The link also included an invitation to the Human Library event in Aveiro (see the next section).

Human Library

The Human Library is an event where you can come to talk to people instead of reading books. This group organised the Human Library with a focus on refugees, migrants, and professionals working in these fields. Each volunteer book would sit a table and engage with guests on topics they are comfortable sharing with others. The Human Library had a great turnout and was welcomed warmly by the residents of Aveiro. The participating volunteers were fully busy for the whole two hours of the event.

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