Intercultural synergies in the handicraft field: MyHandScraft Workshops in Palermo

Tuesday 1 December 2020

Home / Migration / Intercultural synergies in the handicraft field: MyHandScraft Workshops in Palermo

Since September 24th, CESIE has been hosting every Thursday a workshop gathering artisans with different cultural backgrounds, and facilitating a process of mutual learning on handicraft techniques and intercultural exchange. Seven of the thirteen local workshops have already taken place, and, in spite of all undeniable difficulties linked to current cirumstances, they have been a success!

The participants have demonstrated great appreciation for each other’s creative work, and eagerness to learn from one another on a cultural, personal and professional level. Eight countries across four continents are represented: Italy, Argentina, Chile, Burkina Faso, Nigeria, Afghanistan, Cote d’Ivoire, Gambia. This cultural variety acts as a multiplier of opportunities for the improvement of intercultural competences as well as insights on world craft traditions, practices and techniques. Fusion also applies at the level of handicraft practices, as embroidery blends with woodcraft, jewelry-making with tailoring and crochet with recycling crafts.

The contents and methodologies provided in the comprehensive E-Educational Programme (EEP) developed by the MyHandScraft project are being applied to facilitate the local workshops, in an effort to improve local and migrant artisans’ skills and key competences. The three training packages that compose the EEP are therefore divided into content-based and practice-based sections, and employ non-formal, learner-centered educational methodologies , able to facilitate participants’ interaction, peer exchange and pro-active approach towards the learning process.

In the first part of the workshops, participants worked on improving their intercultural awareness through story-telling, group building activities and reciprocal maieutic workshops. The latter is CESIE’s flagship educational approach, whose entire work is inspired by its theorist: the sociologist, educator and activist Danilo Dolci. The second part of the workshops involves the creation of “Fusion Handicrafts”, i.e. physical products of cross-cultural cooperation in handicraft among the involved participants. The barriers posed to physical encounters by the spread of the Covid-19 infection, required a revision of the planned collaborative methodology originally envisaged for the creation of the products. As a consequence, the artisans started working individually on their own creations, which nonetheless will reflect inspirations, cues and insights triggered by the encounter with others’ creativity, facilitated during weekly online sessions. The third part of the workshops focuses on promoting a sense of initiative among participants, and on enhancing entrepreneurial and social entrepreneurship skills, able to positively affect their economic integration. Participants are currently at work on their creative portfolios and on the elaboration of an action plan to develop their cooperative entrepreneurial ideas in groups.

The local workshops within MyHandScraft will go on until mid-December, with the development of tutorials showing the creative process behind handicraft products, and with interviews which will be conducted with participants. The video material collected during the workshops will be later on used to develop another project output, the digital guide for handcrafters (IO5), which will be key for telling the story of this newborn intercultural community of crafters and to inspire new handicraft experiences.

About the project

My HandScraft – Migrants Hands and Skills to Create a Future Track is a project financed by the Erasmus + program: Key Action 2 – Strategic Partnership in Adult Education, and involves 5 partners from different countries:  Coordinator:

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