Calling UK young people: want to participate in a Youth In Action funded Street Art project in Luxembourg?

Inter-actions are organising a Youth Democracy project called “Street art” which will give an opportunity to more than 80 young people from 4 countries to have a participative reflection about the place they have in the society through urban cultural active participation. They are urgently looking for 4 UK young people to participate in the programme which runs from 21 June.

The themes will revolve around the role of active participation, empowerment, education, values. Street art forms are different around Europe and may change, but the street art stream goes on and is part and parcel of our all day life and urban space. Politics at any level cannot disregard this aspect that is part of our souranding and with this project we want to bring it to the open discussions.

In “Street art” young people will be able to participate in a complex self-development programme that will provide them with the necessary skills, knowledge and experience to become active social actors and get reflection about the topic. If they will come from the artistic backgrounds- the project will make them aware of civic dimension of their work, influence of their work on urban space and other citizens. It will also make them aware how their creation can be constructive for others and for their future employment. For all participants the project will be a chance to come into the dialogue with politicians on local level- the action that was not in their agenda till now. The project will reveal the sense of the common debate on topics that are important both for youth and for local authorities.

Active young people will take part in one of the 2 international Urban Seminars that will be organized in Luxembourg and in a “Open Art Week” that will organise street art events in several places in the country. It will give them a chance to reflect about street art and exchange their experience and opinions. These 3 events will provide young people with concrete methodology that they will be able to use after the international activity in their home countries with other peers.
Each Urban Seminar will have a particular focus. The first one will be around urban music (dance, singing, beatboxing), the second about visual art (graffiti, light animations, etc). The third event will bring together 40 young people who will organise events around Luxembourg.

During the 3 events young people will debate with decisions-makers, MEPs, deputies, mayors and experts about related topic as well as interact with local groups. The seminars will be organized in cooperation with local authorities and give visibility and content to the event. The discussions during the seminars will be facilitated by young people themselves to give them a chance to experience leading a real participative activity.

This project is organised in the frames of “Youth in Action” programme, and normally all the participants buy their travel tickets on their own and they are reimbursed on place in cash 70% of all the costs.

There is a participation fee of 30 eur that all the participants pay and this fee is reduced from the reimbursement of 70%.

All the other costs – food, accommodation, local transport, program, etc. are covered 100% by the organisation.

The conditions and all simple ones of course, the accommodation is in shared room in a scout centre in Luxembourg, etc.

For more information please contact:
Anna Roganova
Together network
26 place de la gare
L-1616 Luxembourg
00352 621 162 447

Welcoming young volunteers from Europe interested in Arts, Culture and Battleships

Aspire has received accreditation from the European Union to host young volunteers from Europe to come and work with us over the next two years on a range of community arts projects and productions.

The volunteers will take part in the development of a live site-specific performance inspired by and based upon the silent film Battleship Potemkin that Aspire is producing with the director and composer, Patrick Dineen. In particular they will be involved in the creation of a Russian-style choir who will provide the chorus for the performance.

The Trust has recruited two volunteers – Srdjan Grubacki from Zrenjanin in Serbia and Rezeda Muchtarullina from Russia – to take part in the project.

We are thrilled to have been awarded accredited EVS status as it will mean that we will be able to expand our network of cultural projects further across Europe and build on the cultural regeneration work we have been undertaking in the Balkans since 2009.

The EU’s Youth in Action Programme is managed in the UK by the British Council. The Programme helps young people to become active citizens and better equipped for the world of work, promotes solidarity, social cohesion an co-operation within Europe and neighbouring countries.

Head of EU Programmes at the British Council Ruth Sinclair-Jones said: “Youth in Action aims to prepare young people for life and work in our global society.International volunteering helps to build trust and understanding between people in different countries, as well as enabling local communities and organisations to benefit from the volunteers’ work. It broadens young peoples’ horizons and equips them with the skills and understanding they need to become global citizens.”

Poetry on the Hoof: There’s No Such Thing as an Englishman.

There’s no such thing as an Englishman,
He really doesn’t exist.
There was never a castle, a moat, a drawbridge,
His house failed to subsist.
There’s no such thing as an Englishman,
With blood deep blue, and skin ghost white.
There’s no such thing as fists of red,
Shaking in varicosed fright.

Because an Englishman is part Scot, part Gael, part Celt,
Part Saxe, part Franco, part Serb.
He’s part Indo, part Carib, part Sino;
Part Arab, part Thai, part disturbed.
His blood is a Mishra mash of madness,
of cultures a-far and a-near,
He doesn’t know whether he’s coming or going,
So he curse, he shout and he swear.

Because an Englishman is part woman,
Part he-man, part her-man, part sha-man.
Scratch an Anglo and there’s a vigorous hybrid,
In a gene pool of shimmering light;
Their bloods are the colours of mud and of sand
Their bones, the tastes of the sun and the strand;
Their tongues, taste the moon rising high in the sky
And falling rains, wash away, the tears in their eyes.

Their nerves weren’t forged in Sheffield,
But in Scotia, near and afar.
Their guts were shaped in Islamabad,
And the restaurants and bazaars of Belfast.
Their oaths don’t belong to king and country,
But to their brothers, their sisters, their cousins.
Swearing allegiance, history and platitudes
Till their shoes are glued to their feet.

There’s no such thing as an Englishman,
He just doesn’t exist,
And those who would want to deny this,
Are deluded, foolish, trapped fish.
The deniers, the nay-sayers and dandies,
Who are looking to protect their list,
Had better beware, their game is to scare
But they won’t.
The dance of the Englishman is over.

Removing the Rat Runs: call for European Partners

New adult learning programme for 2012: Removing the Rat Runs

We frequently use arts and creative practice in the development of innovative community engagement strategies and work directly with local communities to generate new local policies in the field of health, environment, education and culture. In 2012 we will be focusing on the health and environmental effects of urban traffic and will be doing this through the delivery of our adult learning programme, Removing the Rat Runs.

Removing the Rat Runs: calming local traffic through community actions

The ‘Rat Run’ project aims to increase local communities knowledge, skills and capabilities to reduce road traffic accidents in neighbourhoods and residential areas. Success of the speed reduction programmes in Liverpool UK, for example, has been proven to depend on good communications and building grass roots support and demand for reduced speed. It is the culture shift which ensures successful outcomes on traffic calming and road traffic accidents.
Grundtivg partners on the project will be involved in developing a European project which provides innovative insights and advice on best practice on establishing community based models of traffic calming.
Learners from the Grundtvig partners will be involved in designing local, national and European models of traffic calming based on the following model:

1. Devising a communications plan and overseeing an approach which will include
a. Identification of key stakeholders, interest groups etc and proposals for their engagement and recruitment to the campaign.
b. Utilise appropriate research to develop and co-ordinate a campaign across grassroots and influencers to achieve successful speed reduction
c. Develop key messages based on insight into attitudes, behaviours, motivations and barriers, and co-ordinate use across all partners for engagement and formal consultations to support consistency, using research to support targeting /effectiveness.
d. Develop communications protocol to ensure effective partnership approach
e. Develop supporting branding for partners to use
f. Develop a media relations strategy and action plan that will educate journalists, garner support for the agenda and result in positive media coverage.
g. Support community delivery partner / groups to run effective supporting campaigns – building community ownership and capacity
h. Evaluate the approach during delivery and refine approach in response to feedback

2. Identify community partners / organisations and individuals interested in championing this issue and taking the message into their own communities…eg schools campaigns, Councillors, parent led road safety campaigns, youth associations etc..
3. Ensure appropriate and effective reach of engagement with communities.
4. Facilitate with training, skills, financial and other resources, community led activities and campaigns to build support for the process and shift attitudes.
5. Integrate community activity with implementation phasing and partner agency communications to ensure an effective city wide approach.
6. Develop responsive and pro-active approach to engaging widely and building community capacity using social networking as one approach.

Do you want to be a Grundtvig partner?

We are now seeking European partners who would wish to collaborate on this project through a Grundtvig Partnership scheme. We are particularly looking for partners who:

* Regularly run innovative, creative adult learning programmes especially for disaffected and socially excluded adults

* Have experience of working within Grundtvig, Comenius or Leonardo European funding schemes

* Can bring a portfolio of teaching and learning expertise to the project including technical skills such as website design, production of learning materials

If you would like to become a Grundtvig partner please contact me at:

Aspire Trust Ltd
Valkyrie Lodge
30 Valkyrie Road
Wallasey CH45 4RJ

Tel. + 44 (0) 151639 9231
Mob + 44 (0) 77422 71570
Skype name richardnyowen

Eurovision Song Contests: hey, musicians, your EU needs You!

Controversy about Englebert Humperdinck representing the U’nul-point’K and a gang of Russian grandmothers representing Roman Abramovich at the 2012 Eurovision summit in Baku has led to the resurrection of a song which narrowly failed to qualify for selection as the EU official’s entry to the competition back in 1995 when the Euro was unleashed on the world of Irish farmers, British shop-keepers and Bulgarian flea market owners.

Instead of asking nation states to generate nation-state-of-the-art-pop songs, the EU has decided its about time it waved its own flag and get some one in who can do some aural flag waving on their behalves.

The song – Ich bin ein Berliner and du bist ein dummkopf – was written by Brussels burocrats on a night out in Sunderland, picked by Georgio Morodor, given an electronic make over and played to the turbo-folk hoardes across the Balkans through the late ’90s and early ’00s.

The concept that the EU itself should be represented at Eurovision is being hotly contested by the UK government and UKIP as it’s being seen as a surreptitious attempt to ingratiate the British public into the benefits of the Euro: and their resistence ensured that the song was never released on the Great European Public.

But nevertheless, you can’t keep a good man down (as Hotlegs once mumbled on the B side of Neanderthal Man) and the song is attracting a lot of interest on social media.

Well, the lyric maybe: the Brussels burocrats have been politely snubbed by Morodor and they are now looking for a suitable composer and musical arranger to bring their collective efforts to an eager, new young Eurovision audience.

For those aspiring composers and arrangers amongst you, keen to gather fame, fortune and eventual ignominy through the joy that is Eurovision, here are the lyrics in all their unedited glory:

In a restaurant, the elderly memories
one German, one Brit, one Rumanian, 
two Turks, two Hungarians and a Dutchman, 
swapped over cheese, wurst and red wine.
Our gestures give us away; 
the sweep of the hand from the plate to the waitress, 
the cough, the handshake, the awkwardness.
Signifying troubling difference.

but the younger ones laugh
as if nothing were amiss.
This is about them, here and now, 
putting our history behind them.
They ignore the coughs and embarrassments of their elders
adopting the easy going nature of a young Hungarian lad
laughing with a Romanian girl 
with no more to it than that.

And what binds us? The young to the old?
A spirit of peace, democracy and don’t forget the economy.
Its all about the economy, stupide.
You are the next generation of refuge workers
who will do shite jobs for the lousiest of pay
and then not unreasonably
apply for a national, legal identity.
Wir Sind  Berliner aber Sie Sind dummkoepfe.

Nudeln, rosti, pommels frites, pasta,
The European carbohydrates
Differ only in their shape and texture.
Deep down, the Bucharest lady
Secretly harbours the Irish waffle;
The ancient Bulgarian
Longs for tender mung beans,
Yet the Brits all gather around chicken tandoori.

Come in, Graham Norton: your time is up!

Poetry on the Hoof: Serbian kids past present and future, tense.

Serbian kids
Listen to turbofolk,
And Californian surfing pop,
riding your pentatonic scales and beatbox bullets
With ease.

You gas gobble up the guezler with the guzzler,
The soviet command with the Yankee demand,
The eastern promise and western demise,
With aplomb and the lead free sonic shrapnel
ricochet of NATO bombing.

Economising where you can,
With the diphthongs and glottal stops,
Preferring instead Cyrillic imperatives of Ч, Ђ, Џ, Љ, Њ and Ћ.
Your present itch is our future tense.

you go
looking to Paris
looking to Boston
looking to Moscow
looking to Rome
looking to Istanbul
looking to Athens
looking to Budapest
looking to Home
looking to Belgrade
looking to Zagreb
looking to Skopje
to Sarajevo
And Podgorica
Check out Pristina
wondering wtf lol SOS.
Past Perfect or imperfect?
Provisional or conditional?
But what a future it is.
We would be wised-up
to memorise it.

What does it mean to be European?

We’re here in a restaurant: one German, one Brit, one Rumanian, two Turks, two Hungarians and a Dutchman. Our gestures give us away; the sweep of the hand from the plate to the waitress, the cough, the handshake, the momentary awkwardness which signifies major, troubling difference.

But there’s a generational context to this idea of Europe: the younger ones here are laughing as if nothing were amiss. This is about us, here and now, putting our history behind us and ignoring the coughs and embarrassments of their elders and adopting the easy going nature of a young Hungarian lad whose laughing with a Romanian girl with no more to it than that.

And what binds us? Allegedly a spirit of peace, democracy and don’t forget the economy… Of course, it’s all about that and where we can get the next generation of refuge workers from who will do shite jobs for the lousiest of pay and then not unreasonably apply for a national, legal identity.

Have a Nice Day – Belgrade Style

Someone says ‘I love you’  to someone else on a mobile and up and down the train carriage little messages of encouragement and protection flutter by which are offered as a way of saying ‘take care of yourself through the forthcoming day as you never know what’s around the corner’. The hidden but frequently visible primaeval anxiety of the unknown – wrapped in that little message of “take care…” followed by “and you…”

J tells me of the Macdonalds restaurant in Belgrade where staff handed out hundreds of free burgers during the civil unrest and the student gatherings in Belgrade round about the time of the NATO bombing. Never thought I’d say it but hurrah for Macdonalds and their staff.

We stop off at the Sanctuary, a pub opposite a famous church so named as it protected the artists, leftists and radicals from the police: a secular place which is just a stones throw from the spiritual sanctuary offered by the church. They were always left alone apart from when Milosovic was in power  who then cracked down on them.

I can see why if you were a young firebrand all the bombings and corruption and edginess of it would appeal:  a rock and roll life style for those with no musical ability or talent – the X Factor with balls guts and high stakes – and where things matter more, are more heightened, have a greater intensity than the living of your life in a progression of civil obedience and decorum. Or as a member of a boy band for that matter.