National seminar Autobiographical Method for Migrants’ and Minorities’ Inclusion
The seminar aims to promote the project and first three intellectual outputs in UK.
Due to COVID restrictions we organised three seminars with smaller groups. The first one took part in St Albans Chapel – The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, St. Albans, on 22 July 2021. It gathered 11 participants from social enterprises and charity organisations.
As it was the first seminar we have the following preparatory activities: defining a list with possible participants, choice of the venue for the conference (we chose St Albans Chapel- as it has a lot of meeting spaces and we could keep the Covid rules, that were very strict in UK in that period), defining the main idea of the conference (according to the application form), the agenda, key presenters, logistics, accommodation and other practical aspects, drafting the template for the invitation letter, the evaluation questionnaire.
The objectives were the same for all three seminars:
1. inform participants about the project and the intellectual outputs O1, O2 and O3
2. make participants more familiar with using autobiography in social inclusion of different vulnerable groups – particularly low skilled/qualified adults from migrants/minorities
3. identify possible follow-up activities at local, regional and national level
The event took about 6 hours (4 sessions of 90 min. each, 2 coffee breaks and one lunch break) and the basic structure of the schedule was:
– participants’ registration
– first speech from the host organisation – welcoming participants and introducing the main guests (speakers)
– welcome speech from Aneta Wujek, DCVS project coordinator
– the 3 presentations related to national situation (made and held by a representative from Herts Welcomes Refugees and Simon Aulton – CEO of Community Action Dacorum)
*of low skilled/qualified adults in general
– Q&A session
– presentation of the project – aim, objectives, activities, partners (Aneta Wujek)
– presentation of the intellectual outputs IO1, IO2 and IO3, Q&A session (Aneta Wujek/ Musarat Inayat)
– introduction of autobiographical method – Aneta Wujek/ Paula Geere
– presentation of 4 British participants at the LTT from Rome, short statement about their impressions
– 4 working groups moderated by the 4 participants (at the LTT and local ToT) – testing autobiographical method (short exercises aiming to deepen participants’ understanding of the method).
– presenting the results of the working groups, changing opinions about participants’ feelings
– 4 working groups moderated by the 4 British participants at the LTT from Rome – possible application of autobiographical method – particularly using IO1
– presenting the results of the working groups
– conclusions, future plans, final Q&A session
The second seminar took part in Welwyn Garden City and was hosted by Hyde Community Café, on 23 July 2021. It gathered 12 participants from public structures (Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council), social enterprises and charity organisations. It was dedicated to stakeholders, general public and potential new UK partners in delivering new project based on the autobiographical method.
The event had the same agenda but the the 3 presentations related to national situation were held by a representative from Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council and Simon Aulton – CEO of Community Action Dacorum)
The third event one took part in Old Town Hall Hemel Hempstead on 12th August 2021. It gathered 14 participants from public structures (Dacorum Borough Council) museums (Dacorum Heritage Trust) social enterprises and charity organisations.
The event was dedicated to the stakeholders, members of the Local Government, Adult Education, the Heritage Trust and Hertfordshire Year of Culture. This was a great networking event where the staff established new links and reinforced the existing ones.
The objectives were the same for all three seminars but we presented also the IO4, as it was finished at that moment).
The agenda event was similar with the previous two, the 3 presentations related to national situation were held by a representative from Dacorum Borough Council and Simon Aulton – CEO of Community Action Dacorum)
There were very interesting ideas about future projects and activities. EELGA and PARCA were both able to refer their learners to DCVS during the pandemic, when most schools closed their doors to adult students or moved ESOL classes online. AMICI methodology was embedded into English language classes and it had the added bonus of promoting digital inclusion and teaching new skills. Because of AMICI ESOL, one of contingency hotels for asylum seekers had to upgrade their WiFi quality, which later on benefited other residents and educational providers.
Another relevant proposal was to use the methodology developed during the AMICI project in order to help build self esteem in young people – particularly NEET-s (we tested this during the Youth Employment Project, which was delivered in cooperation with the local JobCentre).
Dacorum Heritage Trust (who worked closely to DCSV during the project) proposed another project idea – to develop a project based on AMICI methodology, but tell the story of Hemel Hempstead/ Dacorum Borough through personal stories, aiming to successfully promote and share our local history. In this respect DCVS is looking into applying for a grant from the Heritage Fund.
Each participant at all 3 events received promotional materials – a folder with the visual elements of the project – including a personalised notebook, a personalised pen, a press release and all presentations we made during the seminar (in the sessions I and II), a T-shirt, a keychain and a calendar for 2022 with 12 from the most relevant pictures from the project.
Dacorum Council for Voluntary Services created an email list and Whatsapp group with participants’ contact details – in order to disseminate the project and follow up activities. Three days after each seminar they sent to participants them an e-mail to thank for their participation and kindly ask them to fill the evaluation questionnaire.
Processing the evaluation questionnaire DCSV concluded that all of them appreciated the events in terms of content (topics, covered, speakers, the quality of intellectual outputs, logistic etc.) – al participants gave scores ”excellent” or ”very good”. Some participants (12%) considered the report between presentations and practical activities as ”good”, the others gave also ”excellent” or ”very good”. Also all participants agree (21 participants ”strongly” agreed) that the stories of migrants and minorities represents important life lessons for anyone and could be used as a tool for diminish racism and xenophobia and also for increasing inclusion of these groups.