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Workshop Identity a Story about Europe

23 July 2013

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W.I.S.E. is a EU Grundtvig Parnership between educational institutions and the cultural sector connecting communities in Germany, Italy, Poland and the UK.

The two-year project (2013-2015) explores the relationship between language identity and memory through story-telling workshops with groups of over 65. WISE seeks to explore the lives of individuals who were in the past actively involved in society and its history and are now compelled by their age and the new social structures to accept a marginal and isolated position.

The project will offer story-telling workshops that will draw on the scenic and performative arts to develop the participants’s narrative skills and provide a safe environment for them to share their memories and stories. The workshop participants (between 8 to 15 in each country) will be identified in different types of communities: from a metropolis like Berlin to the little farming town of Apiro in central Italy. Towards the end of the workshop series the participants will be encouraged to re-create their own biography telling their story as a theatrical narration. The dramaturgical script obtained from the narratives of the workshop participants will be translated into English (by Cardiff University students) and used as a basis for the writing of a sort of European "Bildungsroman" which will then be presented publicly in the various countries re-translated into the 4 languages.

We hope the process will be a way to mark publicly the value of the political and civic role played by the elderly who become aware of the continuation of their action as moral legacy. Through story-telling and performance the participants can learn to be "generative" (E. Erikson) contributing to the enhancement of the contexts in which they participate reinforcing social institutions enriching their own social networks and ensuring continuity across generations. The witnesses of our recent history will become the protagonists of a renewed sense of community.

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