Step 1: Inspiration, critical thinking and idea development

Introduction seminar (5 - 13 July, 2017)

Bridge It! Programme year starts with an introduction seminar that has a specific topic (known before applying for the programme). The main aim of it is to inspire others and get inspired.

The seminar will consist of conversations, discussions, presentations in various forms, role games, films as well as many practical workshops, where you can engage yourself both intellectually as well as physically. What we appreciate the most at this stage is your thoughts and exchange with others.

What do you care for in your community? What are the problems you see in the society and how far do they influence you and your environment?  

What should and could be changed to get these problems solved? As long as it doesn’t harm others, there are no right or wrong opinions. We care for all of them.

At the end of these seminar days, you will have formulated a concrete idea for yourself about a possible solution of one specific social problem in your community. It can be done in a form of a smaller or bigger project, or some activities. You can do it alone or collaborate also with somebody from the seminar. Now you know what you want to do - and that’s a good start!

For the bases of our thematical work, we have chosen the concept of “IMAGINED COMMUNITIES” developed by Benedict Anderson, professor of international studies. He used this term for exploring nationalism based on a belief, that any community so large that its members do not know each other on a face-to-face basis, must be imagined to some degree.

Bridge It! is going to look at this topic a little wider, challenging different aspects of our “imagined” community lives. More concrete for this year - our identities in the society and our attitudes towards living “green” as well as our cultural diversity within the region.

There are 2 introductory seminars planned for year 2017, both taking place at the same time from July 5 till 13. The topics are following:

 

I  "Cultural diversity: connective rather than separative?"

 

Nationalism, refugee crisis, populism, marginalization and discrimination...we all know that there are cultural differences between countries, regions and ethnic groups all over the world, as well as our countries around the Baltic Sea. The notion of multicultural identity has been nevertheless a burning topic for some time now.

Coming closer to the human being in the middle of it all, it is important to understand each one’s experience in this cultural clash. Each one of us comes with a cultural background and it’s a human right to celebrate it. How can we celebrate our differences together, and not think it will weaken our own identity? How can we rebuild a new “togetherness”?

The Introduction seminar of Bridge It! programme is about challenging the concept of Baltic region identity and inviting to share participants’ own vision for it. During discussions and experience-based exercises we would like to give the chance to participants to step beyond borders and realize strengths and limitations of our cultural identities at different levels: personal, societal as well as global. Once we understand ourselves and how the mechanism of identity shaping works, it becomes much easier to find efficient ways to cooperate and live together in harmony.

 

 

II  "Eco-communities: following a trend or a real need?"

 

Organic food, electric cars, natural cosmetics, eco hipsters… Being Eco-friendly became trendy already a while ago. This has led many businesses review their marketing strategies in the aim of becoming ‘more environmental’. And this is not only a matter of enterprises. We as customers are affected by trends, and naturally more and more people are following the green lifestyle. Politicians do not stay behind either: Kyoto Protocol, the UN Climate change conference and etc.: But what is that all about: green PR or deep self-consciousness?

In this introductory seminar of Bridge It! Programme, we would like to go deeper and explore what it really means to be environmentally friendly and how green is the status of the Baltic Sea Region? Do we have any kind of green Baltic community? And if yes, who is in and who is out? If no, should we create it? To make a full picture we would like to invite participants to discuss the topic from different angles: political, economic, social and personal. 

 

Here are some moments from last years seminars...