Culture and peer-learning for integration
The Institute equalita conducted from 2009 to 2011 a project on culture and peer-learning approaches for the integration of socio-economically disadvantaged youth with partners from Bulgaria, Slovenia, Slovakia, Austria and Denmark.
The pedagogical approach
Cultural approaches and peer-learning are more and more accepted pedagogical methods especially in informal education. An excellent and successful example is the project KinderKulturKarawane - Children's Culture Caravan. Socio-economically disadvantaged young people at of the age 16-25 from Africa, Asia and Latin America present cultural performances - music, dance, theatre, and circus - for European youth, young adults and other audience to deliver insight into their everyday life and their visions for a better future, but also to show chances for social integration by these activities.
Young adults in Europe discover by these presentations, workshops and direct meetings with the young artists - peer-learning - parallels to their own, often precarious social and economic situation. And they get to know innovative and creative perspectives and strategies to foster social integration.
The cultural, rather than purely cognitive approach in combination with peer-learning transfers very direct political and social integration problems and possible solutions, and gives concrete experiences regarding the importance of socio-cultural exchanges. Also in the new EU member states there are first initiatives and concepts fostering such approaches, focussing on integration and socio-economic deprivation in their own country as well as on the global dimensions of social disintegration.
As part of this learning partnership experiences of partner organizations and their staff regarding cultural and peer-learning approaches have been discussed and exchanged. Practical examples and concrete approaches have been evaluated and checked for their applicability in different socio-economical contexts and countries. This analysis resulted in a comprehensive plan for further activities and a European network to these pedagogical approaches.
Target groups were educational institutions and their staff members and teachers, especially working with disadvantaged young people and young adults with migrant backgrounds, using these methodological approaches in their educational activities. Further target groups were young people at the age from 16 to 24 who are not in school or vocational education, especially socio-economically disadvantaged youth and young people with migration background. Directly involved were also young cultural groups from projects participating in Children’s Culture Caravan to give a vivid impression of what their creativity can contribute to methodological innovation and to share their experiences with cultural peer-learning.
Project coordinator was “Institut equalita” (DE), partners were “Büro für Kultur- und Medienprojekte” (DE), “Vienna Institute for International Dialogue and Cooperation” VIDC (AT), “SPOR Media” (DK), “Ekvilib Institute” (SL), “Foundation for Development of the Cultural and Business Potential of Civil Society” (BG) and “People against Racism” (SK).
The project was running in the framework of a Grundtvig Learning Partnership in the Lifelong Learning Programme of the European Union.
An important outcome of the project is the compendium "Culture and peer-learning for integration". It provides a documentation of case studies on projects with cultural and peer-to-peer learning approaches for the integration of socio-economically disadvantaged youth and young adults with migration background.
Other parts present theoretical and practical information on the term "peer learning" and recommendations for the implementation of cultural and peer-learning approaches.
Another product is a concept for handout (download below) with comprehensive instructions and recommendations for the use of cultural and peer-learning approaches for the integration of socio-economically disadvantaged youth and young adults with migration background.
Finally, the project also established a European network for cultural and peer-learning approaches for social integration, that will continue to develop and disseminate these approaches.