How

Each year, we will run three seasons

Each season will focus on a theme

The season’s theme will serve as a prompt for the team’s creative endeavours
We will use:
Contact and creative collaboration with local institutions and individuals
Core skills workshops in project management, team-building, communication,critical and creative thinking skills, problem solving
Resource management for media, arts, environmental endeavours
Project Based Learning Methodologies
Reflective practice and strong engagement with process

Our Methods
Each year at the centre will be shaped by three seasons, each lasting a period of four months. Broadly speaking, each season has a chosen theme that serves as a prompt for creative and collaborative exploration within the centre, its resources and its wider community of Lefkosia, Cyprus and the EU. Our centre will offer an open and malleable space that will be shaped and cared for by participants according to the needs of each season’s explorations. It will serve as an open workshop and a resource centre for information, equipment, and connections to individuals and institutions that can facilitate their learning around the given theme.

The theme will be chosen by a committee of staff and young people on the grounds of its relevance, scope, breadth and flexibility of exploration. Participants will be presented with a range of stimulus material in preliminary workshops initially run by centre staff, but very quickly becoming student led, that will serve as prompts for discussion and brainstorming sessions on how they might creatively explore the theme within their local and EU context. Over the course the weeks that follow, centre staff support the young people to find out information through the centre’s resources and network of contacts on the matter; to schedule meetings, walkabouts or workshops with these contacts to aid further exploration of their theme.

For example , if the season’s theme is waste , participants may link the theme to environmental issues of sustainable living and investigate methods of waste management in their communities. They may run waste audits, use the internet and contact local institutions and companies to research a variety of waste management policies and methods used in Cyprus and the EU. They may want to compare such policies and present their own proposals or recommendations based on such investigations in the form of a documentary film . Participants might choose to formulate and implement their own recycling, or reduced packaging campaigns in their homes, schools or neighourhoods and document their experience of designing, promoting and tracking such a scheme through publishing and photography. They might initiate a composting scheme for the centre’s garden or consider a waste heat recovery method to apply to the centre’s kiln, thus finding ways to make their own creative space a sustainable environment. They may want to survey people’s attitudes to waste and explore what might lie behind common notions such as wastefulness, extravagance, uselessness through creative writing or dramatization. They might find ingenious uses for apparently ‘waste’ materials by making them into resources for stage and prop design for a play, or into musical instruments with which they perform a concert, or to present an art installation exclusively out of discarded possessions.

As a shape for potential outcome – both collective and individual- may emerge, the centre’s team of staff will help participants to choose and shape their projects, divide up their work, and make the most effective use of the centre and its resources. It is important that the centre instills in its young people a sense of realistic and responsible acquisition, use and care of resources. We will begin with a core stock of essentials to set up a basic functioning of each area of the centre, but we will encourage the young people to take ownership of the centre’s pool of resources as projects evolve by deciding for themselves, as teams and project managers, on what that season’s collective endeavours justify as expenses on more equipment. Each season will have a fixed budget, and participants will be required to decide on its administration in a collaborative, flexible, responsible manner and then apply for any extra resources in a procedure that models application for funding that they may have to present as European citizens and project managers of the future.

This is essential to the learning process of each season, and will also define the ongoing development of the Centre’s resources. In this way, our centre will be shaped and evolve in response to participants’ projects and needs.
The network of contacts with the local community established by the centre will play a key role in every season’s project. We will encourage familiarity and use of local institutions such as libraries, museums, national archives, government and European departments, cultural contact points and citizen’s support offices, companies and foundations, schools and universities that will lend the participants opportunities for broader context of research and train them in practices of active citizenship. In addition, the centre will serve as a nucleus for interchange between young people and individuals in their community, such as artists, craftspeople, carpenters, designers, photographers, musicians, dramaturges, teachers, academics, journalists –who through their craft, skills and profession might inspire, support, train and enhance the project participants’ creative learning experiences. These individuals will act as mentors and role models who are invited by the young people to run training sessions in specific crafts or uses of equipment, to share their own experiences and ideas relevant to the specific theme, or they may consult with the participants on their progress, ideas and challenges faced in a season’s project. This interchange and collaboration will not only enrich the young people’s learning by adding the communal dimension to the season’s experiences, but it will also help plant seeds for deeper social relations, where individuals in the community are given the chance to play a valuable role in the motivation, development and creative endeavours of a younger generation.

Alongside the thematic projects work, each season the centre will run a core programme of workshops on skills essential to successful learning, collaboration and citizenship . Based on current educational research and practices, and run by members of the centre’s staff employing a range of learning strategies, the workshops will engage the young people in the practices of critical and creative thinking, communication and study skills, problem solving and working with others. The value of learning as a creative and reflective process, one which deserves space and patience, is at the heart of these workshops and of each season’s thematic project. Our methodology strives to make learning a fulfilling and rewarding experience for young people. We will offer an atmosphere that welcomes curiosity, discovery and creativity for the individual alongside the excitement and momentum of reaching an outcome as a team. Throughout the season’s work we will support participants to claim a sense of ownership and responsibility – individual and collective – over their learning process. We will promote reflective practice by encouraging young people to keep personal journals in which they document their individual experiences and to hold regular group meetings in which they exchange ideas, solve problems, agree on next steps and set targets as teams. After the season’s presentation or outcome, we will counter the sense of individual deflation or loss that can so often follow the euphoria of reaching a collective goal, by supporting project participants to reflect on their achievements in a series of evaluation workshops. At this stage we also encourage progression by offering training in best use the centre’s resources to find stimulating and relevant avenues for future application of ideas and skills discovered in the season’s experience. The centre’s doors will remain open to all project participants who may want to act as future mentors and role models at the centre.