UTRECHT TRAINING SESSION
After a very successful training in Athens, Greece in February, the I-TAP-PD partners finally had a chance to organize another training in Utrecht, the Netherlands, on April 8, 2022. Teachers and artists from Greece, Ireland and Serbia, some of whom had been working together for some time and others who were meeting for the first time, came together in Utrecht to explore this partnership between teachers and artists. 34 people volunteered their time, knowledge, experience and creativity during these 5 days to gain new insights, learn about each other’s education systems and about the state of the art of teacher-artist partnership, which is well established in some countries, still in the experimental phase in others and non-existent in yet others.
The first day was spent on creative and reflective activities that led to getting to know each other better through creative exchange of the story of our name, determining our expectations and hopes for the coming days, experimenting with Creativos Genialos and metaphorically telling the story of our adventure by helping our little people avatars explore the possibilities of the location, and expressing our impressions of the first day through the medium of photography.
On the second day, we worked on exploring new methods of sharing and using our own experiences and personal histories to create collaborative artistic expression.
The third day brought a topic about curricula to our attention. An exciting process helped us understand the education systems and curricula of partner countries. Most of us were surprised at both; how different our education systems are, and yet how like-minded teachers are regarding their work and children. The playful drama interpretations of the curriculum highlighted this process and made us reflect on the school life of the children we work with. The day ended with a fantastic performance in the theater. Then we left for an after-party hosted by the choreographer: Josephine van Rheenen.
The fourth day started with a Tiny People Tour through Utrecht. In this way, we creatively reflected on our collaboration. After that, the tour soon turned into a pleasant walk through the park. Next was a workshop based on magical thinking and humor, through which we created our multi-purpose gadgets that help us in our daily teacher-artist work. Finally, to summarize our experiences, we created manuals for teacher-artist partners in the spirit of IKEA manuals.
Finally, a few people gave a Pecha Kucha about why they both wanted to participate in this training and what they had to add. In addition, they were told what they had already done in the past regarding I-TAP-PD. For example, photos and videos were shown that depicted projects and workshops.
The fifth day was a day of creative evaluation – exploring the possibilities of future collaboration between teachers and artists. Some serious lesson plans and brilliant project ideas took place in international teams who discussed their inspirations, hopes, visions and desires for future work and collaboration. After this workshop, which was also a specific form of evaluating the work of the past two weeks, we participated in a space evaluation, expressing with our bodies our impressions of the week we were leaving behind.
Promises were made everywhere to keep in touch, continue to work together and develop activities; addresses were exchanged, and it is exciting to see what will grow from these initiatives in the future. Seeds were planted. It needs time and care to germinate.