Re: [xmca] Some words about Hi Neighbor

From: zdravo (zdravo@EUnet.yu)
Date: Fri Dec 16 2005 - 14:46:35 PST

Dear Ana, Lois, Linka, Volker

Two weeks ago we sent sentences and Lois and Ana invited us to tell
something about our activities through which they were created by youth. It
was not quite easy to join conversation that goes in many directions but
diversity is good opportunity. Well, let me try to say something about our
work based on ideas of Lev Vygotsky and to make short story out of pretty
long history of our work.

War in former Yugoslavia started in 1992, the only sources we could rely on
in those difficult times were the inner sources, inner strength, that is,
what was available then. A spark, but strongly motivating spark, we only
found it in the work of Lev Vygotsky.

His socio/cultural approach is a powerful source for building common and
constructive response to "drama of life" /the expression of Anna S. / . The
interactive field becomes common space of general exchange between age
groups, between different people, and that is where remarkable potential
lies. The center-margin relation is rendered highly relative and whatever
turns out along the way is a joint activity. What is really happening

and how does it look like, in the very circle? It is limited neither by the
number of people nor by a strictly defined target group. It is open. We
started by using all modes of human expression. What was happening, what it
was like in practice, is this: participants dealt with tasks that displaced
them from everyday reality; but not in a way of escaping from it, but of
living in it in a richer and more human way. So words for example, were made
free from their conventional, everyday communication. And thus freed they
won the freedom of producing and building more and more new stories. But the
stories are not all that came out, it was tremendously important to keep
integrated the entire potential each of us carries. We do not favor one mode
of expression along that single line, but all possibilities were kept
wherein interactive frame.

Our activities were marked by Vygotskian orientation. We were keen on
meeting people sharing this orientation. The closest connection we found
with East-Side Institute for Social Therapy in New York. What we got from
this community? We got a possibility to transform our existing activities
into new, a different form of activity - performance. Owing to our encounter
with them things that are happening now are related to our challenging

At this point, we wish to return to the youth sentences and pay attention to
the history of this creation and to look upon it once again. Our practice
built within social space strongly contested by war and conflicts taught us
about life as we live it, or to say it more precisely it taught us about
social sources of life. Through common activities, wherein the obstacles put
by traditional social roles and labels vanish the human exchange occurs in
a genuine way and enormous capacity for learning for development becomes
transparent. Majority of these young refugee people participated in Zdravo
da ste programme since their childhood and their creative participation does
not represent their life experience - it is their life experience.

It seems to me that there is not the proper time for our inclusion, but
better ever than never. Vesna

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