Kitabna - Our Book CIC (UK), Educational and Cultural Bridges'' NGO (Armenia), Cultural & Social Narratives lab. (Armenia), and Cardiff School of Modern Languages in Wales, UK have organises a series of training events.
On 14 and 15 April 2023 in Yerevan took place workshop “Co-creating children’s stories with Nagorno-Karabakh refuges”. This was second stage of the project since first one took place online on April 1, 2023. During the online meeting the participants got acquainted with each other, with the aims of the project. Helen Patuck the facilitator of the project has shared Kitabna’s methodology of writing children’s books with communities affected by conflict and disaster. Most of the participants were psycologists, educators and civil society representatives, working with Nagorno-Karabakh/Artsakh refugees since the war of 2020.
The key goals of the workshop series was as follows:
• Creating a safe and shared space of learning with practitioners contributing to the wellbeing and education of children affected by the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict
• Sharing Kitabna – Our Book CIC’s methodology of writing children’s books with communities affected by conflict and disaster
• Inviting participants to share ideas from different sectors
• Imagining and defining what a toolkit of helpful practices could look like
• Planning the co-creation of a toolkit of appropriate practices
As the results show main goals of the workshops was to create a safe space to share the following tools with participants, to enable them to use them in their work with children:
• engaged storytelling using a children’s picture book
• child-led discussion around themes arising
• the emotional timeline to express emotional journeys in stories
• “animating your environment” - bringing objects into dialogue to create a simple story
• the 5 stages of a story: setting, challenge, meeting the challenge, transformation, how the setting has changed
• group storytelling circle game to practice the 5 stages
• individual story-writing
• establishing themes
• group story-writing and team book creation
With the group’s creation of compelling individual stories; two final team books exploring the concept of finding safety in wartime and the challenges of childcare and adoption; and positive feedback, we can understand that these methods were well received and have been transmitted effectively.
During the 2 days’ workshop the participants actively participated in several team building activities, group works, and storytelling activities. The participants were very happy to take part in the project, to create the networking and were looking forward to the next stages of the project.
The project is financed by Arts and Humanities Research Council of UK.