News from Second Polish Living Lab

Written by Sara Faściszewska

On the 15th and 16th of March, another meeting of the Polish Living Lab’s group took place in Kraków. This time around, Jagiellonian University provided a safe place for the discussion regarding equality in school settings and for the exchange of inspirational ideas for local pilot projects. Two days of intensive workshops passed in the blink of an eye, during which the group of teachers, educators and, NGO representatives worked together on developing new methods to aid the implementation of civic engagement in Polish schools.  

The workshops were divided into two diverse types of activities, to provide a more holistic approach to the accomplishment of the goals of the project. On the first day, on Friday, members of the Polish Living Lab had an opportunity to participate in a group discussion about how equality is understood at school and what it means to apply its values on local grounds. Members mentioned similar obstacles in this matter and then shared the determination to overcome them through their daily commitment and possible institutional changes. Our inspiration session did not end there. Afterwards, our members engaged in a conversation with a representative of civil society and the Plenipotentiary of the Mayor of the City of Kraków for Equality Policy who work tirelessly to create a more inclusive educational environment in the city. They discussed the inclusion of youth from various minorities, such as Roma children, children with experience of migrations, LGBTQ+ youth, and pupils struggling with mental health issues, and strategies to support them and their well-being at school (eg. Cultural mediators, educational materials prepared by the municipality, the rating of LGBTQ+ schools).   

On the second day, the Polish Living Lab focused more on practical activities. To begin the work, participants received a brief update on Estonian’s Living Lab experience, thanks to Laif Kalev’s visit and inspiring presentation. Members had a brainstorming session to define major problems, on which they want to focus their pilot projects. After that, people with similar challenges or thematic interests gathered to develop some initial solutions, which might in the future evolve into their local projects. By the end of the day, our participants created four preliminary groups, concerning various fields of civic education, which included for example: HerStory Initiative, supporting Youth in the adulthood process and creating an equal and civically engaged school. Right now, our motivated members have time to dwell deeper into their ideas and make some first steps towards the realisation of the projects. We cannot wait to see the development of these exciting ideas! The next meeting, this time online, is supposed to take place in April when participants will be able to show their progress on the work.  

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