Fine Arts for FINE Learning – International workshop in Vilanova i la Geltrú

“I have learned more things in 5 days than in a whole year” (Catalan participant).

“I don’t remember the last time I felt so happy” (Greek participant).

“Until now I had never felt that sensation of having made the right decision for my life: to come here” (Catalan participant).

“I have participated in many Erasmus+ projects but none of them is similar to this one” (Greek participant).

From March 25 to 31, the international workshop ‘Fine Arts for FINE Learning’ took place in Vilanova i la Geltrú (Barcelona), an activity that we can describe as surprising and with a resounding success, thanks to the contributions of the entire group , both participants and organizers, as well as the attitude of care, empathy and solidarity they have shown.

Thanks to the dozen activity proposals, collected in the preparation phase, the program was the genuine result of the ideas of the 5 national teams, who began their journey to Vilanova unaware that they were about to participate in, and jointly create something, that we can call it a training show and performance. The 5 groups, made up of young adults with artistic and social interests, from more than 10 nationalities (Italy, Hungary, Greece, Portugal, Catalonia, Bosnia, Senegal, Germany, France, Poland) shared the same interest: to develop their capacities as educators and workshop facilitators, using the fine arts as the main tool.

Throughout only 5 days, counting the one full day visit to Barcelona, ​​​​ they have shown their courage and curiosity by discovering new methods while experiencing them firsthand, participating in games, exercises, workshops and presentations, which aimed to reflect on the combined power of non-formal learning and the fine arts.

The aim of the workshop was to foster the concept of ‘FINE Learning’, applied not to the arts but to learning  and training processes, collaboratively developing a new pedagogical method that should help many other people and organizations to use the fine arts to carry out FINE educational activities, relevant and meaningful for those who participate. This brand new concept revolves around an understanding of the fine arts as a privileged and natural source of competence, which we have put into practice by focusing on the 4 elements that define it, selected for their impact and empowering potential. ‘FINE’ is an acronym that refers to a ‘Focused’ learning process, capable of improving specific skills and attitudes, understood by the person who is learning by doing; ‘Inclusive’, where everybody can participate in equal footing; ‘Nurturing’, because it feeds the soul and body, as well as ‘Engaging’, because it is based on teamwork and reflects a personal commitment to improving the community.

The 5 project partner organizations want to spread this concept among all those individuals and youth organizations that carry out training and life-long learning programs, as well as among all those art schools that wish to incorporate new methodologies to adapt to the personal situations of young people who want to develop their artistic talents in a these difficult and uncertain times.

If we pay attention to the comments, reflections and evaluations of the group, the experience has been very positive for everyone, including those people with difficulties to communicate in English, who had not participated in a similar activity before (about half of the group) or who, for whatever reason, have special needs that make it difficult for them to participate in similar educational actions done with the support of Community action programs.

The passion for the arts, the curiosity to explore their educational and transformative potential and, again, the empathy and care for others, have created a sense of cohesion and unity in the group that has allowed us to overcome any obstacle, creating an empowerment experience and the construction of collective knowledge which will take us longer than usual to analyze and understand; a week after its completion we are still digesting so many emotions.

The international team of facilitators responsible for the program has been assembled by Marco Farina, Miriam Weinzierl, Lorenzo Brancotti and Lluc Martí, activity’s coordinator. The workshop has been carried out by the Fundació Catalunya Voluntària in partnership with the Youth Center of Amarante (Portugal), the Co-Efficient Association (Hungary), the United Societies of Balkans (Greece) and the Human Rights Youth Organization (Italy), thanks to the support of the Erasmus + program of the European Commission and the Spanish national agency (‘key action 2 in response to the Covid-19 situation, to promote the use of the arts and creativity as a tool for inclusion’).

If you would like more information about the project’s upcoming activities, in which it is still possible to participate, we encourage you to send an email to projectes@catalunyavoluntaria.cat. For more information about the activity you can consult the following link: https://www.catalunyavoluntaria.cat/en/the-fine-arts/  or watch these videos at Youtube: Fine Arts for FINE Learning KA2 / Fine Arts for FINE Learning – what it is about/ Fine Arts for FINE Learning – how it went