Autumn Seminar 2021

Autumn Seminar „Rewriting our story“ in Lorient, Brittany

After only 1 year, 8 months and 17 days we were finally able to organise another seminar. 625 days of missing each other and you could really feel the happiness of everybody during the seminar. Kenstroll Breizh prepared an amazing week for us with loads of opportunities getting to know a lot about their region, dances, language, and organisation. The workshop was held by our amazing trainers Pia Šlogar an Marija Pantelič.

Our entertaining trainers ( Marija & Pia)

45 people from 16 minorities from all of Europe arrived in our lovely hostel in Lorient to learn from each other, brainstorm on future projects and network. We produced a couple amazing short videos, theatre plays and small campaigns during the workshop and held the first (annual?) “Minority’s got talent”. On our excursion day the host organisation guided us to Ile-de-groix/ Enez Groe. A very idyllic small island just off the coast of Lorient. Fyi, the food was amazing and was voted by some of our participants as top 3 culinary experiences on YEN seminars. You just have to trust us on that.

During the week, a variety of topics were addressed, all under the banner of non-formal education. Many of the participants had never attended a YEN seminar before and got to know each other during the week. Through team-building activities and group work, they became a close-knit group. The seminar was the final part of our Workplan “Changing the narrative”. Over the year we explored how stories are told, how they impact our live and the perception of it. In the beginning of the workshop we analysed how stories have been told historically – especially about minorities. We recapped the role of the media as opinion maker  and how they may have had the effect of excluding certain groups. Thus, in our final event the idea that creating new stories is necessary and a powerful tool we have as minorities to change the narrative , and rewrite our story was the obvious conclusion for this year.

Therefore, during the seminar, we focused on the creation of new stories, how it can be told and spread, how to convey a message strongly, which effects it can have and how to design an effective campaign. Through texts, videos, photos, performances, the participants got involved and brought out their creativity, analysing the existing literature and become Storytellers themselves.

We want to thank all the participants, trainers, orga team, and the chefs that made this week memorable and hopefully some of the projects and collaborations of this week will last. Go on our Facebook page to see some of the beautiful pictures taken by Jakob Schäfer (Pawk).

From Left to right: Felicia, Andjelo, Martina, Christoph, Andor, Linea

We also had our extraordinary general assembly during the Seminar. And there is very good news. Our board is finally complete again! Welcome to Felicia Touvenot, Convenor for member integration and Christoph Graf vice president for external relations. Both are from our Sorbian member organisation Pawk and we are looking forward working together and are happy that our YEN-family grew. To learn more about our new (and old) board members follow us on our social media!

Moreover, the general assembly unanimously passed the resolution “No Bismarck Monument on the Czorneboh/Čornobóh”. While in some parts of the world problematic monuments and statutes are deconstructed, moved, or thrown in a river, the city Bautzen currently discusses erecting a new monument for Otto von Bismarck. “Bismarck was a monarchist and anti-democrat. His policy towards minorities living in Germany is described as particularly aggressive, especially regarding the Sorbian and Polish populations”. Together with our member organisation Pawk we stand for ”a diverse, colourful, open society without exclusion, discrimination and hatred towards minorities. This is the exact opposite of what Bismarck represented as a politician and person.”

Read the Resolution here.

We hope we will see everybody soon! And on this note – here are our upcoming seminars:

  1. Easter Seminar 2022: 8. – 15.4.2022, Knivsberg, Denmark
  2. Diversity Festival 2022: 25.6 – 2.7.2022, Koroška, Austria
  3. Autumn Seminar 2022: 10.-16.10.2022, Hermannstadt/ Sibiu, Romania