Monday, 1 December 2008

DARE to engage! What a Klimt exhibition and an intercultural conference have in common

Conference Feedback from Alexandra Jastrzebska,
Servei Civil International de Catalunya, Barcelona/Spain


A century ago, Vienna hosted Klimt’s work group exhibition, the Kunstschau. Along with the 2008 secessionist exhibition in the Viennese Belvedere, a conference organized by the DARE Network entitled “Intercultural Dialogue: Challenges for Education for Democratic Citizenship-EDC and Human Rights Education-HRE” took place from November 14-17 at the Hilton Danube. Formal (teachers, universitarians…) and non formal (youth workers, NGOs representatives and activists…) education practitioners gathered with European policy makers to reflect on the current possible improvements that are to bring to the field, exchange about good practices and create networking.

I found the call for this conference on the database of the Salto youth resource centre, and since the selection process began, I’ve received regular information about the preparation so that I felt aware and implied in the conference. During the conference, in the discussion groups and later on by meeting informally practitioners who have been involved in the field for a long time, I got the chance to confront my visions with experienced people. Some of them were representing higher institutions of Europe, giving to the expert instances, a human face. Council of Europe become more accessible to me, reinforcing my will to actively take part in building, diffusing and promoting European citizenship and the values most of us are sharing in our work.

Beside practical information on how to pursue the action, the final session was a speech of Bashy Quraishy about intercultural reality in the prospect of the education of minorities. Talking about his experience, observations and researches, the speaker shared a personal view; he quoted his father, a teacher, who used to say that education is a tonic which sustain the spirit, building our minds with knowledge to live the daily life according to the system of values we live for. This is why long learning is so important. I remember my father telling me that he would not lock me in my room to make me study: I have the tools, he is trying to pass me the values in which he believes and it’s up to me to concretise them- a way in sum, to empower me. I always thought therefore that I had the keys to choose and strive in order not to disappoint him. This process of responsabilisation made me trust that it is up to me. I’m still acting consequently.

In 1908, The Klimt’s group imposed an interdisciplinary approach in art, with a revolutionary combination of all means created for our expression and in a wide range of fields, as toys for children or theatre settings. He is now famous for the way of thinking he has set up, somehow contributing to think globally, with the belief that inclusion of small actions in subsystems can achieve a better general way of being. He may felt actualized at the moment he achieved that. He became famous for a way of thinking, almost a philosophy of living.
As the Klimt’s group originally innovated for the Gesamtkunstwerk- the total work of art, DARE reinforces the idea of GesamtSozialAktionWerk for practitioners in Education for Democratic Citizenship and Human Rights Education, performing and implementing visions as well. Of course, we are also exposed to doubts, but this kind of conference helps us coping with reality, strengthening our hopes and gaining new inspirations to later deal with the various projects we are involved in.

This is how I would justify this event. Grateful thanks to the prep-team for having allowed me taking part in the great conference and I would like to share a thousand smiles with the participants, for the positive mood we shared and the great memories I keep of the weekend.