Activist’s School

On March 11-13, 2016, there was an educational programme “Activist’s School” for Bragin residents held at the Green Cross Belarus NGO educational centre within the framework of the initiative “Incubator for Cooperation (Incubator of Initiatives for the Sustainable Development of Bragin district”) being implemented as a part of the project “Support to Local Development in the Republic of Belarus” funded by the European Union and supported by the United Nations Development Programme.

The main task of the “school” was to develop capacities of the district’s activists and the public group for coordination and collaboration of initiatives.

Classes were held on different subjects from early morning until late at night. As part of the cultural training, there was a meeting with Fedor Soroka from Bragin, one of the restorers of the triptych icon Deesis” who talked about the work of the studio, basic principles of restoration and showed all restoration stages of the icon from Bragin. To continue the artistic topic, Anna Vygonnaya, the initiative’s expert, conducted a class “Paradise Tree of Bragin District. Cultural Basis for Developing Brands of Bragin Districtin which she talked about making a souvenir label of Bragin district. It was offered to take a flower (a rose or a peony) as a basis which was found in almost all the traditional icons of Bragin region. Under the guidance of the expert, participants tried to copy one of the flowers from the icon represented at the exhibition at Bragin Historical Museum. While working, the expert talked about peculiarities of writing icons and the work of old self-taught icon painters. At the end of the class, participants discussed a set of postcards with fragments of icons having images of flowers as an alternative souvenir of Bragin district. A discussion on the topic “Cultural and Historical Context of Bragin District” was also held within the framework of the training, which was held by Anastasiya Yungina, a cultural specialist. Moreover, the participants of the training visited cultural and recreational events “Maslenitsa” at the museum complex “Dudutki” and theatres in Minsk.

A training «Moderns and Traditional Methods of Cultural and Educational Work with Children and Adults” included a discussion on the topic “Traditions and Modern Times. A +Souvenir as a Means of Integration of Local Agro-Communities”, a musical and poetic class “Among Friends” and a class on the culture of speech. During the discussion, Anna Vygonnaya, the initiative’s expert, suggested considering different kinds of gifts and ways of their representation in souvenir shops, including shops at museums. She asked to speculate on the topic of compliance of presented souvenirs to the concept of “memory of the place”, to assess their attractiveness and presentable look, and the quality of presentation at souvenir shops. Lina Tsivina, an invited artist, shared experiences in the development of souvenirs in Molodechno district, showed designed samples of souvenirs, talked about the process of finding images and ideas.

During an interactive class “Among Friends” held by Alla Belyavskaya, a musician and teacher, the participants were preparing little musical theatre plays individually and with the teacher’s help. As a result, all those plays composed a little musical performance. A class on the culture of speech was included into the program especially for the participants of the mini-initiative “Museum Theatre”. The main part of the class took place on the basis of the literary material for a theatre play “Historical Bragin District”, which was to be performed at the holiday event “Bragin Fair” in May. After holding the trainings, the teachers noted that they would like to introduce such work forms into their classes with children.

Within the framework of the training “ Psychological Foundations of Working in Teams”, the district’s activists learnt to build fruitful relationships at work, avoid conflicts, praise and criticize each other under the guidance of Elvira Khmelnitskaya, a therapist. The participants also developed teamwork skills such as an ability of leading, interacting, reasonable debating, collective decision-making with the help of Dina Ponyatovskaya, a psychologist and art therapist. They also took part in the discussion of the upcoming holiday event “Bragin Fair” which was to be held in May.

Thanks to the intense and fruitful work at “Activist’s School”, the district's residents got not only a lot of new information and food for reflection but they also were stimulated to generate new ideas and ways to make them true.

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