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Valmopris Pilots

For the European KA2 Valmopris project, on validating non-formal learning in prisons each participating country has to deliver 6 pilot projects in prisons with minimally 3 prisoners involved.

Since Changes&Chances is not just an educational organization for prisons, we are running the pilots with a variety of target groups and with a variety of art disciplines.

The first pilot was Ed, Mirthe and Peer creating Noah’s Ark for the Bosch Parade with recovering drug addicts It attracted a lot of attention from the media. Under ‘ projects’ on this site you’ll find photo’s, video’s, and an interview with Ed of ‘Stowaways’.

In Arnhem two inspired teachers, Saskia and Sanne, of Cultuurmij Oost work with a group of young people with behavioral issues. They will create a magazine, so there will be planning content, finding their writing, drawing, photographing and designing talents will take place and then working hard in collaboration to get it done.

In Zutphen prison a band was formed and songs were written, rehearsed and played. The teacher, Hanneke, also gave personal lessons to a number of the participants so that good progress could be made.

In Rotterdam, in De Nieuwe Kans, young people without school diploma of which some have been in touch with Justice will be followed on the Level5 method during a theatrical project.

And last, but not least, down South in Sittard prison, Ed and Monique will make a video with the prisoners, and some of the guards and staff that will transformed into an ‘Augmented reality’ item to be seen in an app on your smart-phone projected on the façade of the prison when you visit there. Partners and other visitors will be given access to the app. The director of the prison is very enthusiastic about the project and wants to get broad media attention for it.

Empatheast Vratsa Bulgaria

“Rethinking social good and social innovation”

 Changes and Changes will be one of the organizations participating in the Empatheast forum in Bulgaria  from 11-13 November

In this meeting in Vratsa, one of the poorest regions of Bulgaria, we will be embarking on a journey where we make new models of relationships between individuals, groups and communities.

Social innovations are not a solution to all problems, they are not enough per se, but they represent a way for mass mobilization of group intellect in the name of new solutions that will allow more people on the planet, in our country and our region, to live with dignity and to their full potential.

It is vital that we become more efficient at using our common resources. Only with innovative solutions by and with communities can we reduce the costs for non-effective and expensive social solutions, perpetually repeated by local and central government despite their proven ineffectiveness. So we need to change the way these solutions are designed and move towards developing solutions bottom-up, as they are more stable, honest, adequate and inclusive.

More information: http://empatheast.net/#home

First European Commons Assembly

How the commons can revitalize Europe.

The commons is an emerging paradigm in Europe embracing cocreation, stewardship, and social and ecological sustainability. Commons perspectives could help to reinvigorate Europe with constructive and concrete policy implications on many terrains. However, much of the current dominant narrative of the EU, focusing on growth, competition, and international trade is in strong contrast with the worldview of the commons. C&C chair Ed Santman was present at the first European Commons Assembly.

In mid-November of this year, the European Commons Assembly was held in cooperation with the Commons Intergroup in the European Parliament, made up of Members of the European Parliament from different parliamentary groups, mainly Greens, the United Left (GUE/NGL), and several Socialists & Democrats Group (S&D) members. The ambition was to promote the establishment of creative institutions and political alternatives, from the local to the European level. In the call for the Assembly, ‘commoners’ from around Europe stated: “We call upon governments, local and national, as well as European Union institutions to facilitate the defense and growth of the commons, to eliminate barriers and enclosures, to open up doors for citizen participation, and to prioritize the common good in all policies.

CITIZENS LAB

In April C&C was invited/selected to become one of the founding members of the European Citizens Lab.

Funded by the European Cultural Foundation, the Robert Bosch Stiftung and the Stiftung Mercator, this new initiative links artists, journalists, architects, politicians and change makers from all over Europe. The ambition is to create a common ground for cultural collaboration, showing that there is more that we, people from Europe share, than what divides us.

Citizen Lab will also promote and provide tools and expertise for social change to grass-root initiatives, thus driving participatory processes for change.

changes chances CLab

Stowaways

To celebrate the great Dutch painter Jheronimusch Bosch, who died 500 years ago, there will be a impressive parade of floating art objects drifting through the city of den Bosch. Working with a group of people who are recovering of their drugs and alcohol addiction, Peer de Rijk, Mirthe Wacki and Ed Santman will be working on a contribution for this parade based upon the Jheronimusch Bosch painting of the Ark of Noach. It is a big project and it will take us much of April, May and June to realize it. The result of the project can be seen in den Bosch on 16, 18 and 19 June.

Boschparade interview Ed Santman

changes chances boschparade

changes chances boschparade02

Real Life, partnermeeting in Bologna

Lots of dicussions during and after the partnermeeting of the Real Life project in Bologna. There was so much to discuss, two and a half days were hardly enough. But at the last day we really made a lot of progress and we all went home with clear ideas on how to continue with the project. In the next month we will frequently have Skype sessions to prepare the first training, that will take place in September in Rotterdam.

C&C Partnermeeting Bologna

New office

Very applicable, in “de Vrije Wolf” in Utrecht, a building that has been used as a prison from 1856 until very recently, we will be sharing an office with Click F1, our partner in the Real Life Project.

Valmopris, nonformal learning

C & C is the Dutch partner in the European Project Valmopris. Through the validation of informal learning, a learner in prison can become motivated to nurture this positive reinforcement in an educational setting, pursuing additional education (either formal or informal) or engaging more seriously with career planning. The impact of informal learning validation in a prison setting is clearly something with a significant potential to encourage learning and further competence development.

VALMOPRIS draws upon the tools and techniques developed through the LEVEL5 validation system which has previously been piloted across diverse educational settings, including in prison-based vocational training. VALMOPRIS, supported by the European Prison Education Association (EPEA) designs, delivers and validates informal learning activities with the focus on KC5+1 (primary Key Competence of “Learning to learn”)

VALMOPRIS will actively contribute to policy discourse on prison education and the role of informal learning. It hopes to bring a change in the mind-set of education in prison, raising the profile of the social and personal competences acquired through informal learning and the way they can be assessed and validated. It hopes to promote the motivation of prison learners to engage in in(formal) educational activities in line with the Council of Europe Recommendations on Education in prison and seeks to establish a continuation of the train-the-trainer program, designing it to meet the requirements of A KA1 mobility activity for prison teachers throughout Europe.

The project, will measure the effect of validating informal competence development on prisoners’ motivation to engage in further learning. Training prison educators across 8 countries to create and deliver informal learning opportunities and to provide systematic validation of learning outcomes, the project will explore the role of and impact of informal learning validation in prison, as well as examining the process of setting up and implementing activities for informal competence development in this context.

Real Life Project kick-off

RealLife is an innovative project in which serious gaming and virtual reality are used to improve skills needed in the 21st century and skills needed for employability aiming at those at the edge of society, especially prisoners. Training skills in a safe and virtual reality will help prisoners to function in real life, give them new skills and enhance their sense of initiative.

The objective of the project, is to develop an innovative tool, the Real Life game with a certificate that validates the process of informal learning, that takes place while playing the game. Real Life will design a strong tool for disadvantaged groups by implementing seven pilots in six European countries that will include 80 prisoners, 14 mentors and 35 prison guards. Focus will be on different groups, youngsters between 17 and 23, woman and (older) men.

The ultimate target groups of Real Life are those who lack basic skills and failed in the traditional education system. Within this group the focus is on those who have been, or threaten to become in contact with Justice and criminal law.

Not only digital literacy is low among this group, a lack of skills, necessary for finding a job often leads to an existence in the margins of society.  Many of them have bad experiences with regular formal education. The innovative approach of Real Life will offer them opportunities for working on the improvement of basic skills and competences. We will use digital tools like Serious Gaming (SG) and Virtual Reality (VR) as an effective strategy to work on their soft skills and thus improve their chances on employability. Another important target group are the future mentors, people working directly with prisoners or other disadvantaged groups), like educational staff within prison or people from local organizations.

The use of gamification is a user-friendly method that can be delivered on an individual basis to promote employability and reduce recidivism for prisoners. To measure effectiveness of the serious game, the partners will study the rate of recidivism in the first 48 hours to two months after prisoners leave detention.

This way the projectpartners are able to measure the impact of the game almost immediately and improve the game. The game will focus on new learning possibilities to be applied in prisons: digital tools, games that educate, train and inform, can provide an alternative sustainable learning tool for disadvantaged groups. Many among the end-users have learning disabilities and reject more traditional teaching approaches.

With the current possibilities digital media offer, it is realistic to expect that a team of experts, like the partners from Nottingham Trent University, will be able to develop a working serious game in a virtual environment during project Real Life.