Three Saturdays of intensive workshops. Amazing participants. Inspiring guests. Countless discussions about social issues. Myriad ideas waiting to be introduced. That’s the summary of YoWo’s Solidarity Project workshops that took place in February and March.
Mówiciuch workshops was the first solidarity project organised by YoWo Poland. With participants from across the country, we discussed what it means to be an activist in today’s world. We talked about social issues that are important for us and which of them need the most attention today. We also discussed what we could do right here and right now to promote positive changes around us. During three days of workshops, we met inspiring creators of socially engaged fashion brands, had numerous brainstorming sessions, searched the Internet for hard data related to important social issues, exchanged our views and, last but not least, inspired each other to take action.
Inspiring guests and introduction to non-formal education
On the first day of Mówiciuch workshops we had a chance to get to know each other and discover the notion of non-formal education. We established some rules for our cooperation, putting emphasis on partnership, creativity, self-expression and learning from each other. During the meating with our guests, creators of Punk Parrot and UniPride, we asked them questions about launching a fashion brand and designing socially engaged clothes. It was amazing to see their passion and commitment and observe how they manage to combine it with actions promoting animal rights or equal rights for the LGBT+ community. We came to the conclusion that the clothes that we wear can be a kind of manifesto that we issue to the world. They serve us to express our identity and our views and they can be a platform for advocating for important issues. Our guests showed us how amazing it is to use our experience and creativity to promote positive changes in our communities.
Do your research
Inspired by our guests and their stories, we felt compelled to take action ourselves. We decided to deepen our knowledge on burning social issues. Each of us listed problems we deemed important to tackle. It turned out that some of these topics were interconnected – ecology, for instance, is an important aspect to consider when designing friendly cities, promoting LGBT+ people’s rights is connected with the fight for equal rights for women since after all the aim is to create a society where everyone is treated with equal respect, and last but not least mental health is an issue that concerns everyone without exceptions.
Not to base our knowledge solely on our convictions, we were looking for data, studies, articles and websites that would help us better understand certain issues in their complexity. We came to a conclusion that knowledge helps us better target our actions. The research phase was really satisfying. Some topics turned out to be so complex that we would have loved to have even more time to spend on digging into them. The second part of the workshops, dedicated to sharing newly discovered information was particularly valuable since we could present our findings and listen to other research presentations. We finished the day with a feeling that we had gathered a lot of information on issues that we deemed important, ready for the next part of workshops – writing socially engaged slogans.
On the third day, it was time to face the creative challenge and work on our own slogans. To prepare for the task, we brainstormed and tried to recall slogans that stuck in our mind – from the ones used by commercial brands to those used in social campaigns. We analysed them in terms of linguistic elements that made them catchy and attractive. Decomposing a number of slogans helped us understand the tricks that stood behind them and gave us a set of tools that we were able use in the following part.
In pairs, we created slogans, trying to use specific linguistic techniques such as rhymes, alliteration, or trying to weave cultural elements or metaphors into the content. However, above all, we relied on our own imagination and creativity. Working in pairs, it was easier to inspire and guide each other to come up with original ideas. It was one of the most intense moments of the workshops, our heads working at top speed, fingers rhythmically tapping on the keyboard, while the Google doc was gradually filling up with new slogans. Together we created over a hundred!
Soon we will be able to share the results of our work. Stay tuned!
article by: Klaudia Kuk, participant of “Mówiciuch” workshops