- DAY (PRESENTATIONS ACCORDING TO SCHEDULE)
The first day was dedicated to the initial introductions and presentation of the project, partners, their countries and localities; the differences in culture and way of life, specific problems, heritage, state symbols, identities and culinary arts …
With the help of the relevant non-governmental organization, the partners were acquainted with the integration of immigrants and Euroscepticism. They also learned about the importance of using art to deepen one’s awareness, and with the effects of volunteering and of mutual acceptance. The latter is one approach to preventing crisis and for overcoming the stigmatization of immigrants and connecting them to the lives and work of other residents.
Anka Kolenc, the founder and leader of the Association Theatre Kolenc that is the lead partner of the project Heart of Europe, emphasized in her introduction that:
- The goal of our meeting and of our project is to promote the awareness of love,
- the spreading of interpersonal love, friendship, compassion, mutual acceptance, and supporting the diversity of others while preserving one’s identity. All of which, is also the mission of our heart centre of Slovenia. We feel that this is the only way to a sustainable life on our planet.
- Together we strive to create hearty and noble acts, places of virtue, Heart Points, first in our home countries, then all around the world.
The project event was also welcomed by the Deputy Mayor of the Municipality of Litija, Lijana Lovše. She stated that the Municipality of Litija is the central municipality of the state of Slovenia, the fact of which is a point of pride for the citizens. She wished everyone a pleasant meeting, and much hearty energy in the Municipality of Litija.
The president of the Association Theatre Kolenc, Lovro Lah, presented the partner organizations in Slovenia.
Although the lead organization for carrying out our project is the Association Theatre Kolenc, in the realization of this project three organizations intertwine: Association Theatre Kolenc gives our work a professional, scientific basis; The Institute Kolenc Family Theatre, has its main purpose in executive function; and
The Association GEOSS is the main Slovenian partner, contributing the basic theme of the project: a Heart Point of Slovenia, an example of good practice that we want to see in other countries and areas, that has existed since 1981, i.e. 37 years
Anka Kolenc described the basic mission of the Theatre Kolenc more thoroughly: teaching and spreading consciousness with the help of art and nature. We try to equip each message with awareness. Such learning enables in-depth knowledge, refined with experience. The notion of this approach is hidden in a familiar phrase: pedagogical eros.
The Kolenc Theatre is one of the first Slovenian theatres that introduced animations and audience participation. This creates comprehensive lessons that simultaneously teach and entertain. We do performances for children and for adults that are interactive and lively exciting. Every performance has a heartfelt message, through which viewers encounter life’s values and the power of positive attitude towards life.
The Theater Kolenc also performs theatrical tours around the Local Community Vače with the central point GEOSS, symbolizing our rootedness in this area, and all the best and most noble within us. Our Paths of Cultural Heritage are interdisciplinary and related to history, archaeology, ethnology, geology, palaeontology, biology, and art.
The awareness of what we are is also one of the things that shapes our destiny. The positive values of our cultural heritage, from which we form experiences, revitalize values such as: self-awareness, respect, love, compassion, courage, heartiness, everything that forms the base of our roots and of being Slovenian. Encouraging and revitalizing these characteristics at the personal, national, and international level is our vision and mission in the future. THIS IS THE BASIS OF CULTURAL TOURISM.
Anka and Lovro alternately complemented each other in the description of activities and descriptions of the relations to the time and space in which we work and live:
From all of the above stems the fundamental orientation and attitude towards many of the problems and issues of today’s European society, with which we perform our theatrical and pedagogical mission.
Because we see the meaning of progress and of survival in emotional, personal, and wholesome development, that is reflected in our attitude towards everything around us, and not in mere survival, we believe that we should all be actively involved in every problem.
Even if we do not see a solution at a given time, we must all be involved; we need to constantly seek understanding connection, integration…
We see the involvement of youth in all activities and environments to be extremely important, we try to employ as many young people and adults as possible in our environment… even though many areas gave up on that already.
Despair is not in the vocabulary of our Theatre! We accept and admire those who aren’t the same as us, for without them, our world would be static and boring.
For the past 37 years we have been learning love, on the basis of our Heart Point, GEOSS. It is not conditional. Love also does not know the words of judgement: more, less, better, worse … Its tongue is simple, and shining from the eyes, infinite warmth blooms around the heart, stretches mouths into a smile and opens the arms in a hug.
Each of us has endless amounts of love. It only needs awakening. To be dug out of a mess of negative thought patterns, fears, militaristic and economic threats, religious and political pressures, declarations of war and all kinds of horrors… that we repeat all the time and destroy each other.
Awakening, and deciding to want love is our mission. That is the mission of the Association GEOSS and of the Theater Kolenc. This is our mission and our permanent group project. When you really set on his way, there is no way back.
A member of the SLOGA Humanitarian Society, Vera Haliti, presented the work of the EU and some strategies for the integration of immigrants. She emphasized that, according to The Diaspora Department, the integration of Albanians into everyday life was best in Sweden.
They have integrated Albanian language lessons already in the primary school system, and they also have Albanian along with other subjects. In order to better integrate into a foreign society, it is essential that one preserves one’s identity, culture, and language, and at the same time integrate, not assimilate. To not stop being Albanian.
There was also an interesting debate about the future of the EU and the role of volunteering.
Volunteering is also an important activity on the path to mutual understanding, integration, compassion and acceptance. Although today of the world is oriented towards profitably, volunteering is still quite present. Mrs. Sonja Zidar Urbanija presented the volunteering in Local Community Vače, and the President of the Cultural Association Lipa Vače, Ms. Špela Cvetežar, and Vice President of the Women and Girls Association Vače, Ms. Tanja Mrva added the details about their organizations. They emphasized the satisfaction and heartfelt feelings of compassion, cheerfulness and happiness generated by performing volunteer activities and by socializing.
Slovenian evening began with the performance of the friendly French theatre Mata Malam, whom the members of the DGK befriended five years ago during the implementation of the joint project Crow’s Flight (Vranov Let), when we searched for, and found, foundations for international friendship. A poetic presentation of the theatre Mata Malam presented a hearty connection to the Kolenc Theatre.
The Family Theatre Kolenc presented the topic that the Association Theatre Kolence pays the most attention to: Love. The key thing in love is a decision; deciding whether you want to love or do you want to be told you’re right?
When you really decide that you want to love and care, the thing works! You suddenly understand and comprehend that we are different … that we are individuals at different stages of individual development that we live in different cultures, with different spiritual charges, all of which are magnificent!
We concluded the evening with a wonderful song about love, which was sung by Slovenian film diva Olga Bedjanič in the 60′.
“Do not wait for spring, do not wait for May,
What do you care for grassy green?
The heart does not wait for anything, it beats and ticks, cries out to love,
Why wait for May? “
Day 2 was dedicated to learning about examples of good practice of cultural tourism in Vače, to the awareness of identity, getting to know the example of an international Heart Point at GEOSS, designing a project logotype and project identity, and a satirical film presentation of a successful solving of an immigrant problem.
First, at the more than 800 years old square in Vače, we got to know with the importance of cultural heritage for each of us. Cultural heritage is the material and spiritual wealth that we inherited from our ancestors. This wealth is not only around us, but also within us. It permeates every cell of our being.
Anka said that this must be taken into account when building Heart Points.
And when we build our heart cells, your stations, your heart in every country, think about it. This wealth should always be our starting point, wherever we are. Whether in France, in England, or in Italy, everywhere – let us think of our heritage, which is a part of us.
Creaky, creaky! Creaky, squeak!
There by the well there boils chatter,
mean laughter and chortling,
now and then, a surprised shriek!
Gurgling of the water into buckets, and the squeaky
Like the bell that calls for aid,
when the barn has caught on fire,
calls to the well the squeaky creaky, creaky, squeak.
Quickly, like the ground is cutting them,
from every-which-way are rushing the farmwives,
to blabber the news among themselves
under the ruse of a bucketful of water.
“But I said, that she said…”
“Today he screamed like he was insane…”
“It looks like it will go apart…”
“And wham! She slapped him!”
All across, all order-less!
Language, gesture, crafty tip –
a real Babel-like chaos!
And in it all: creaky, creaky, squeak!
The roofs have darkened:
the bell tower rung out eight.
The womenfolk have gossiped their fill
and shuffled off among the houses.
In the dusk there’s only a soft exclamation:
“I’d nearly have forgot the water!”
And a lonesome: creaky-squeak!
After the presentation of Menart’s Village Gossips, we also saw the church of St. Andrew and the glass Easter sepulchre from 1864. The images are made of multi-coloured glass, ground at different angles. The glass is attached to a dark base, so that the masterpiece shines in all its beauty when switching the lights on.
Next was a tour of The Alea of Creativity created in the late eighties and early nineties, when Association GEOSS organized creative art and sculptural retreats. All the memorials carry messages that are related to our culture, living, way of life, history, way of thinking, and character that was shaped by it.
We also saw a 5x enlarged replica of the Situla of Vače, which is the most valuable archaeological find in Slovenia. The scenes that are carved on it are a testament to the ancient way of life. Situla is so important for the Slovenian country that in all documents there are pieces of images from the situla.
Next there was a visit to an organic farm in Slivna, where Mrs. Barbara Vrtačnik presented the various products that housewives need on a daily basis, that are the work of the Vrtačnik family. We also watched the process of making ceramic vessels and other products.
Through the interactive experience of the Ethnological Village of Slivna, we tried to come closer to better awareness of our identity. The Ethnological Village of Slivna is in a way a symbol of the historical Slovenian self-sufficiency. Slovenia has quite a mountainous landscape where the people would not survive if their lifestyle and their economy were not self-sufficient. Our ancestors produced and made everything they needed to survive: from food to clothing, as well as their own modest homes – they built and maintained it all themselves. Anthropologists believe that this is a heritage that we should be aware of in order to develop it fully.
At a site that was calculated as Slovenia’s centroid, we experienced a theatrical presentation of GEOSS and its symbolic qualities – as an example of a Heart Point for friendship, for peace, and for mutual acceptance and understanding on a personal, national, and international levels.
Long life to all the nations
who are longing to await the day
When wherever is the sun’s reach
Strife would banished be, away.
Who long to see
countrymen all free
Border-landers not devils, but neighbours be!
This was followed by a reflection of the experiences and a workshop to create a common logo, intended to reflect the integration of all our diversities with common love and an idea. At the workshop, we put some very good suggestions on the board and selected a common base, to which we would add our proposals for further meetings.
We ended the day with the screening of the film “Here Comes Jemima”, followed by a guided discussion about migration and about the impact of art on people’s way of thinking. Art – especially music, theatre, film – with its live energy, stimulates the experience, based on which problems can be easier to be brought to consciousness, perceived, and based on this, we can actively act in life.
The film “Here Comes Jemima” is a hearty, moving, and educational movie satire for youth and adults, with a central theme of immigration, and is made in the production of the Association Theatre Kolenc, financed by EACEA, Europe for Citizens. The film is about an immigrant girl named Jemima, who came to Slovenia from Syria a few years ago with her mother. She would certainly prefer to stay at home, where she felt safe and loved in her environment, where she used to walk to her ballet lessons, where she studied, and had fun with her peers … But life set different trial before her … Experiences as they can, with potential unscrupulous leaders, heartless decisions, impersonal capitalism, misunderstandings, ignorance of other cultures and ways of life, borders and fences, set before any of us.
After dinner, the members of the partner organizations also supported Stefano Delia, a member of the Italian partner organization, who prepared the project Faces of Europe, which contributed additional value to the Heart of Europe project, by photographing the participants.
On the 3rd day, the participants learned that a positive memory of heartiness and sympathy that was possible even in the most horrific circumstances, such as the Second World War. Here we have in mind, above all, the memory of the positive actions of people who, during this period, unselfishly helped each other to the best of their ability.
Likewise, volunteering can also, through positive practice, work to overcome stigma and spread positive human actions and peace.
We learned that in the future we want to live in the European Union that will support diversity as a value, without which there is no common European culture. This is the cornerstone of democratic civil participation for the active citizenship of Europe.
We also discussed how to plan and promote Heart Points in partner countries, and what is the way to a positive interpersonal relationship through a theatrical approach like.
After discussing the framework starting points for the implementation of the project for each individual country partners, we also took a bus to see the cultural and natural heritage of the wider area of GEOSS. We visited Litija, the Sitarjevec Mine and the Ljubljana Castle.
Before we went our separate ways, we enjoyed a nice picnic on a sunny meadow behind the Ljubljana Castle with sweet Slovenian delicacies, which were voluntarily and lovingly prepared by members of the Women and Girls’ Association Vače.
We chatted about hearty connectivity and project tasks, which may still seemed to be unclear and unfeasible, but they are so inviting and noble that we could hardly wait for their gradual implementation, and for the meeting at the 2nd event in Larissa, Greece.