“Picture Your Story” project Multiplier Event

Last two years a consortium of European partners developed a methodology to fight polarization and to build bridges in communities all over the world, using picture language and storytelling, mainly targeting youth. Picture your Story is a project of SMK University of Applied Social Sciences (Lithuania), Storytelling Centre (The Netherlands), Youth association Infofront (North Macedonia),  Seiklejate Venneskond (Estonia), Asociación Cultural por la investigación y el desarrollo independiente del teatro profesional en Andalucía (Spain) and the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences (The Netherlands) in collaboration with Edward Janssen (Ontward/The Netherlands). This international project is implemented under and with the support of Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union.

Over the past years a consortium of six European partners made a journey, exploring the possibilities to connect youth with different cultural backgrounds in order to build more respectful and resilient societies. Storytelling and picture talk were our tools. This journey has resulted in the Picture your Story methodology which was shared at the PicS conference on the 23rd of September in Vilnius.

The fact that SMK University of Applied Social Sciences has created the possibility to live stream the event and partner support to conduct online Zoom methodology workshop allowed to have foreign participants to join virtually. This was of great importance in the current turbulent times of the COVID-19 pandemics that has greatly limited the mobility of individuals.

The event kicked off with a welcome speech live streaming by the project initiator, Arjen Barel (Storytelling Center, the Netherlands). It was then followed by informative speeches and expert panel discussion. This has allowed the participants both in the audience and ones joining online to learn more about the foundation PicS partnership based this method on, the latest theories about polarization, in/exclusion and finding common ground etc. This theoretical part of the event has also introduced participants to how storytelling can contribute to creating social impact and encouraging behavioral change and focused on the power of using pictures.

In the afternoon there was a time for participants to discover the PicS methodology and toolkit in the workshops. Later, ones interested could express their ideas and feedback during the open mic and networking closing part at the end of the conference. “We were pleased to see the light in the eyes of the attendees and the curiosity to apply the knowledge in their work. Many attendees have expressed their excitement to use the PicS toolkit in their work.”, says Diana Garlytska, the Picture Your Story project administrator at SMK.

Overall, it can be concluded that the event was rather successful and has reached the objectives. Now that the project is coming to an end it served as a highlight of a two years long journey. SMK and the whole consortium is particularly happy with the outcomes of the Picture Your Story project Multiplier Event. We made it!