As I write this in our office here in Oldham, I am looking out of the window to a grey sky, it’s not quite raining yet but I have a feeling it might be fairly soon. This time in just two weeks I will be in the Macedonian city of Kumanovo; in similar weather but surrounded by the trappings of a brand new cultural experience.

On the 5th March, myself (Steph) plus our three Alternarration artists, MJ, Mel and Rabhia will be jetting off to Macedonia to share in the final results of this European partnership project. The four day trip predominantly centres around the sharing and testing of a resource that has been created by our Macedonian partners, the Centre for Intercultural Dialogue. This resources takes into account the research that has been undertaken by all three partners throughout the duration of the project and has compiled it into a resource packed with activities and tasks that can be run by youth workers across Europe to help them address the key issues of the project. During the four days we will be invited to share practice and test out some of the activities that have been devised.

A key part of this sharing process will also be led by our team, with our artists having the opportunity to talk about the experience that they have had working on the project, the young people that they have worked with and what their responses have been, and the digital tools that they have used to create their artworks. We hope that this will provide support to the delegates from across Europe in making use of digital and online tools (many of them free and open source) as a way of communicating with young people and helping to share and disseminate their views and ideas.

While we are in Macedonia we will be keeping followers up to date via all the usual social channels (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram) and our artists will be posting some responses to the visit after we return.

Just two weeks after we return, I will be off to the Culture Geek conference in London to share some of the findings from the Alternarration project and discuss the importance of digital engagement methods in addressing digital and online themes that are of such significance to the lives of young people in the 21st Century.

Originally formed in 1991 as a community theatre project for Oldham’s Asian community, Peshkar has evolved into the UK’s leading participatory arts organisation targeting young people who are deemed hard to reach or socially disadvantaged.

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