In November 2019 the VOLPOWER research consortium met in Bolzano, South Tyrol to discuss developments in the project and plan our activities for the year ahead.
Blogpost by Marcus Nicolson, VOLPOWER Project Manager
The meeting lasted two-days and was hosted at the EURAC research institute. We discussed the achievements of the project to date and considered how we will gather our research data in the coming year.
One of the main issues for planning was the implementation of VOLhub activities within each regional setting. Each country team is working hard to keep engaged with their volunteer group and plan fun and interactive events. Furthermore, VOLPOWER will hold a creative arts training workshop in April 2020 in Malta. Over the coming months we will put together the programme for this event which will involve creative arts professionals in the delivery of workshops. We want the volunteers to share their stories and life experiences through new and innovative practices, including photography, collage and audio recordings.
Following the research consortium meeting, Glasgow VOLPOWER team members Maggie Laidlaw, Marcus Nicolson and Umut Korkut took the opportunity to visit project partners in Ljubljana, Slovenia and Zagreb, Croatia. In meetings in each locality we had the chance to meet with the local volunteer groups, NGOs and stakeholders involved in integration related work and/or the voluntary sector. The drive from Bolzano to Ljubljana took a bit longer than expected but we did get to see some of the Austrian alps and our first sight of snow this winter!
In Ljubljana we met with the local volunteers in a museum café where Markos is working. We had some great Eritrean food cooked by chef Ali. It was a great moment to catch up with those volunteers we had met in the Croatia international volunteering event in the summer and learn more about young people’s lives in Slovenia. The Slovenian team made us feel very welcome and we are very grateful to all those who attended our dinner and meetings in Ljubljana.
We continued our journey by bus to Zagreb for the final meetings of our international working week. In Zagreb we met in a mosque in the east of the city. There we met with a huge range of volunteers, including the participatory theatre group from the Centre for Cultural Dialogue. The group are planning to perform in schools to challenge prejudice in the Croatian context. Anisa has written an earlier blogpost on the VOLPOWER website about the work of the group and the planned production. Please have a look at this for more details on the theatre group.
The trip was very successful and allowed us to both reconnect and meet with new volunteers across Europe. We are looking forward to the next year of the project and to continue working with our great team of international volunteers across Europe!