Online Workshop Call

Are you involved in youth services? Do you work with young people whose first language is not English. or who speak more than one language? If yes, we’d love to hear about your experiences! Find out more below:

You are invited to take part in an online workshop on 7 May (time tbc) regarding the challenges and benefits of providing services and engaging with multilingual communities in the West Midlands. More specifically, we focus on work with young people from culturally diverse neighbourhoods. You will be invited to share your experiences and concerns with other practitioners and researchers. You will take part in a discussion to develop more inclusive service provisions, which would recognise the needs and opportunities practitioners encounter when working with youth in multicultural communities, including those impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic. Continue reading “Online Workshop Call”

Carefully considered measures could have a big impact

An empirical study in schools has demonstrated that discrimination and racism are deeply rooted problems in school structures that urgently need to be addressed. Prof. Dr. Louis Henri Seukwa, professor of Education Science at HAW Hamburg, and researcher Dr. Elina Marmer explain why and provide recommendations.

HAW Hamburg, Fakultät W&S, Department Soziale Arbeit, Professor Louis Henri Seukwa, Professor für Erziehungswissenschaften, Fotografiert am Berliner Tor 5 am 22.6.2020

Prof. Dr. Louis Henri Seukwa, Professor of Education Science at HAW Hamburg

How does racism manifest in day-to-day school life and what has been done to stop it to date?
Prof. Dr. Louis Henri Seukwa: Schools are a reflection of society, which means that societal racism is also evident in schools. At the level of society as a whole, it is clear that people of colour or those with a supposed migration background are underrepresented in management positions and at the same time tend to have poorly paid jobs. We see the same picture in schools, as Hamburg’s statistics show. Relatively few students with a migration background attend Gymnasium, and they are overrepresented in Stadtteilschulen(neighbourhood schools). Studies show that these students often receive lower grades for the same performance. There are studies on racist portrayals in schoolbooks, and at the same time such issues also appear outside schools in the news, films and literature.

Unfortunately, too little has been done so far to counter this. Neither teacher training nor educational curricula include a strategy or a concept for systematically addressing the problem within the educational structure. There isn’t even a complaints body. Even the General Act on Equal Treatment (AGG) doesn’t protect students adequately. There is an absence of structurally anchored frameworks for protection and action to effectively tackle racism and discrimination. But because schools are public institutions, the political sphere does have direct possibilities to intervene. And because the requirement to attend school means that schools can reach virtually all children and youth, carefully considered measures could have a big impact.

Continue reading “Carefully considered measures could have a big impact”

Slovak Rebels

Youths from the Slovak “folklore-drama” group Slovak Rebels live in the south-Slovak city of Komárno on the very border with Hungary. They everyday-life cultural experience is determined with the bilingual and ethnically Slovak-Hungarian mixed character of their hometown. Many of Slovak Rebels youths originate from the ethnically mixed families and are fluent in both languages used in the city. Slovak Rebels youths participated on Participant Active Research conducted by Matej Karásek and Lucia Hržičová. Participant Active Research was the intervention of the international project Cultural Heritage and Identities of Europe´s Future (CHIEF). The aim of this part of the project was to support the cultural ambitions of youth groups from the countries included in CHIEF project. Continue reading “Slovak Rebels”

‘A Real Fusion’ of the Coventry Rap Track

Author: Anton PopovAston UniversityUK

On a rainy Sunday in October, a group of young people had gathered in a sound recording studio in Coventry to work together on the music and song that would express their identities, their experiences of urban living, and the issues they face navigating their everyday lives in the city. The result of this collaboration is a six minute rap song track with original music and lyrics composed, written and recorded on that day. https://soundcloud.com/ourlivesourculture/on-my-mind

The production of this rap composition is part of the Participatory Action Research intervention of the Cultural Heritage and Identities of Europe’s Future (CHIEF) project, an international research project funded by the European Commission and led by Aston University (Birmingham, UK) that explores young people’s cultural identities, practices and heritage-in-the-making. The Aston CHIEF project team (Dr Ebru Soytemel and Dr Anton Popov) collaborated with young people in Coventry, youth workers and a local non-profit-organisation Media Mania in delivering a Music and Rap writing workshop to provide a platform for young people to empower them in the expression of their culture, identities and needs through the medium of music and poetry. Young people worked with a local rapper, RG The Baron, along with youth worker, Tayyaba Sadiq, to write lyrics, compose the music and record a song of their own.

The participants of the workshop shared all shared interest in music. The workshop also became a platform for cultural interaction and exchange between young people. Thus the bit for the rap was inspired by so-called ‘gypsy jazz’, played by Sebastian (age 14); he and Lubomir (age 12) also wrote the lyrics for the rap song together with rap-artist and poet RG The Baron. The music as well as lyrics of the song has direct references to the cultural backgrounds of the rappers – Slovak Roma (Sebastian and Lubomir) and British Caribbean (RG The Baron). The folk music had been framed with electric guitar played by Joe (age 22) and Ian (age 16), two local punk-rock musicians. The chorus of the rap song had a distinctive jazzy style that was beautifully sung and performed by Destiny (age 16) who had been singing since her early childhood in a local church attended by Coventry’s British Caribbean community. Continue reading “‘A Real Fusion’ of the Coventry Rap Track”

Why Celebrating Festivities Matters: The Mundane versus the Festive

Author: Ilze KacaneDaugavpils UniversityLatvia

In one of her poems related to family upbringing and the succession of female generations in the frames of patriarchal conceptions1, Latvian poetess Ārija Elksne (1928–1984) writes:

“Audziniet labi savas meitas – Iemāciet viņām svētkus svinēt.
Cik nabadzīgas tās ģimenes, Kas tikai darbdienas zina.”2

“Raise your daughters well – Teach them to celebrate.
How poor are the families, Which know only working days.”
[Translation from Latvian mine – I. K.]

A couple of years before, my colleague quoted this poem in a conversation she held with people sharing common views and values with her: she revealed that this poem had become her large family’s motto, as she considered that women are primarily responsible for preserving and continuing traditions in a family. Continue reading “Why Celebrating Festivities Matters: The Mundane versus the Festive”

Observing Georgian Street Artists: Young People (Attempt to) Leave their Footprint on the Urban Environment

Authors: Elene Ergeshidze and Rati ShubladzeCaucasus Research Resource CentersGeorgia

Graffiti and street art is a quite novel form of expressive culture in Georgia. Despite the fact that the first pieces of street art emerged in Georgia in the late 1980s, the scene has not grown rapidly until recent years. For the broader public, street art was usually associated with vandalism, damage and distortion of private property, and unacceptable, on the verge of legality. Despite pre-conceptions associated with street art, societal perceptions are gradually changing. Nevertheless, the street art scene still enjoys some attention from social scientists and art critics.1 Within the CHIEF project, CRRC Georgia observed young people engaged in street art. The aim of the study was to examine the practices, attitudes, and concerns of young people in the context of street art. In addition, the study investigated young artists’ positions on different grass-roots cultural practices and emerging contemporary cultural heritage. This blog presents the key findings of the study as relates the challenges young street artists face and provides a brief overview of street art development in Georgia.

The street art community provides insight into youth cultural engagement in Georgia given its diversity: being centred in the capital, artists come from and work across the city’s districts and are from a wide variety of backgrounds. Considering that painting on walls is typically illegal in Georgia, and is subject to penalties under administrative law,2 street art is usually done surreptitiously at night, in abandoned places, or during street art festivals where special permission is provided for work on a particular building.3 Street artists, especially those specialising in graffiti, typically paint under a pseudonym and seek anonymity.

Street Art in Tbilisi Georgia
Image credit: Elene Ergeshidze, 2019

Continue reading “Observing Georgian Street Artists: Young People (Attempt to) Leave their Footprint on the Urban Environment”

Home, Heritage and Belonging

Author: Elina MarmerHaw Hamburg – Germany

In April last year, Simon Wellman and Darren Wood, members of our project team from the Culture Coventry Trust (UK), visited Hamburg to teach young people participating in CHIEF how to produce quality short films using a Smartphone. Between 2019 and early 2020 the team visited all partner countries with the same mission, India being the last in January 2020. Two months later, Simon Wellman contracted the Corona virus and died on 30th of March from complications of the illness.

With my article, I want to remember Simon and his contribution to our work by enabling young people to express themselves, reach out and touch others through the art of video filming.

The aim of the media workshops was to provide young people with skills training to better communicate their cultural knowledge and practices offering them an opportunity to present what they consider their cultural heritage. Since the workshop last April, two Smartphone videos have been produced in Hamburg, while two more still need some technical finishing. Each video was shot by an individual BA student; all female, aged 22-24 and based in Hamburg, who are in one way or other involved in CHIEF project. It is these first two videos made in this context in Hamburg that I want to write about.

Continue reading “Home, Heritage and Belonging”

Contested Identities and Questioning of Citizenship: How the context of citizenship questions changed in the course of conducting a survey

Author: Neha Ghatpande – Savitribai Phule Pune UniversityIndia

In India, we began a Survey of Young People’s Cultural Literacy (CHIEF project, WP3) in October 2019. Until the first week of December 2019, we had covered a lot of ground.

In our experience, several students used to find the following questions ‘routine’ or almost inconsequential:

‘Were you born in India?’

Do you have ‘Indian’ citizenship?

Was your father born in India’?

Was your mother born in India? Continue reading “Contested Identities and Questioning of Citizenship: How the context of citizenship questions changed in the course of conducting a survey”

Street Art, Public Space and Transformation of the City: The Mini-project Organised by CHIEF (UPF) and B-Murals

Author: Julia Nuño de la Rosa – Universitat Pompeu FabraBarcelona

Some months ago we enjoyed the presentation of the resulting projects from young people participating in the Street Art Workshop co-organised by CHIEF (UPF), the Youth Centre Garcilaso and B-Murals in Barcelona city. By showing a series of photographs from the five workshops, explaining the dynamics of the different days and letting young people themselves present some examples of their work, artists RiceVisuals and Mario Mankey gave attendees an insight into the project and explained the intentions of the different workshops.

Continue reading “Street Art, Public Space and Transformation of the City: The Mini-project Organised by CHIEF (UPF) and B-Murals”

Social Distance from the “Others” or Tolerance of Diversity? Attitudes of Young People in Slovakia

Authors: Daniel Gerbery and Roman Džambazovič Comenius UniversitySlovakia

A tolerance of diversity represents one of the fundamental values of the liberal democracies. Accepting diversity means, inter alia, that people do not maintain a social distance from the members of particular groups or social categories. Thus, by measuring social distance from various groups, which may face risk of social marginalization or exclusion, one can reveal the extent of in/tolerance in a given society. At the same time, it is also a good proxy indicator of interpersonal trust that forms a basis of social cohesion.
In Slovakia, several sociological studies report a growing intolerance and distrust against social groups that are perceived as being different by the surrounding society. There are also data on increasing prevalence of prejudice, chauvinism and extremist far-right values, as – for example – index DEREX (Demand for Right-Wing Extremist) reports. Continue reading “Social Distance from the “Others” or Tolerance of Diversity? Attitudes of Young People in Slovakia”

The Current State of Well-Being of Youth in Turkey

Author: Ayça OralMimar Sinan Fine Arts UniversityTurkey

A recent fieldwork report1 on youth in Turkey was published by a non-governmental organisation – Habitat Association (Habitat) in January 2020. This survey was conducted by the Infakto RW, an independent public opinion research company founded in 2003 in Turkey. The study by RW 6-18 Infakto dated April 2019, represented the urban youth population from 16 provinces of Turkey; data was collected through face-to-face interviews with 214 young people aged 18-29. 50 percent of the interviewed youth were women, 50 percent men, 44 percent were employed, 26 percent students, 13 percent were looking for jobs, and 17 percent were teens that neither worked nor went to school.

The report was based on the perspective of the ability (capacity) approach which was put forward by Amartya Sen. The approach provides a wide spectrum for youth’s capacity within the given opportunities and rights. In other words, to what capacity youth turn to themselves within the frame of rights and opportunities. Aside from that, this research report aims to create an archive regarding youth studies that have been analysed and commented upon by the youth and also show the correlation between the youth’s requests and public service.
Continue reading “The Current State of Well-Being of Youth in Turkey”

Youth, Sport and Social Activism within a Heritage Site

Authors: Marko Mustapić, Ben Perasović and Ivan Hrstić Ivo PilarCroatia

Space is a key resource for the local community, and the relationships that keep the community’s members together are founded on their satisfaction of social needs. Social processes that unfold in a particular space and the way people live and share space indicate the basic determinants of a given local community, as well as to functional and psychological ties among people. Thus, the ‘feeling of belonging’ to a particular community is of special importance. Every city has its own daily life experiences. Residents frequently alter urban public spaces through interventions such as graffiti and murals that mark space and depict community symbols. Graffiti as an expression of community collectivity became the subject of research in the social sciences in the second half of the 20th century. Public spaces in city centres are most frequently subject to this type of intervention from residents, generally without the prior approval of local authorities. The first sociological research on this subject in Croatia was published in the early 1990s, focusing on the city of Split. Continue reading “Youth, Sport and Social Activism within a Heritage Site”