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A sea of possibilities

We started ceramic workshops with our project Partners and the Łódź School for the Visually Impaired and Blind in Łódź in October 2023. The pace of events was very fast, because the first works of our participants were needed already in December. Together with the participants, we prepared glazed Christmas decorations. Anyone who works with clay knows that it is a material that requires time. Nothing can be rushed. The sculptures have to dry, they have to be polished, they have to be fired for the first time, glazed and finally fired again.  By the decision of our young, future ceramics masters, the decorations we made became the main product offered as part of the Christmas fair. The first decorations that we created as part of the ceramic workshops became a market commodity, and the funds obtained from their sale strengthened the budget of the entire school. Working with clay was therefore intertwined with conversations about the possibility of shaping the commercial offer of the ceramic studio. Together, we wondered how to start, creating an offer for the future company, and delved into the valuation of costs and revenues related to ceramic craftsmanship. The fair turned out to be a success and our products were very popular. This success translated into our further plans. We decided that our next works will also become an offer of a group of young ceramicists taking part in the CARE project, which will be exhibited at a exhibition, summarizing the entire workshop cycle of the project. But the exhibition, fair and exposition of our collective work is just a plan, the event will take place in September 2024. We are sure that it will be a unique event. The exhibition will be an interactive event. Our Young Ceramicists will exhibit all the works made during the ceramic workshops at their school’s stand to to submit them to the buyers’ market evaluation and make a contribution to the school budget. In addition to the fair, participants will conduct mini ceramic workshops for people interested in working with clay, passing on the knowledge they gained during the CARE project. The main highlight of the program will be the unveiling of a collective sculpture that we are still creating. The jointly prepared sculpture entitled “Sea of Possibilities” will become a joint work that will forever remain in the space of a public school, and will remind students of the opportunities for professional development in the ceramics industry.   However, there is still a long way to go before the exhibition Meanwhile, a study visit to the “Zbychewka” ceramic studio, which took place on May 21, is behind us. The participants of the project visited the workshop of our Master of Ceramics – Ewa Ber, to see and feel the charms of the work of a master of ceramics with their own eyes. During the meeting, talks about our own company and joint integration by the fire, we made sculptures that will be part of our joint project. Each of us has made a ceramic fish that will traverse our “sea of possibilities”. There is still a long way to go before the final of our cooperation, but we are proud of our achievements. However, the arcana of the work of a master ceramics is associated with elements that require special safety rules, firing and operating a ceramic kiln are tasks that require experience, caution and a large dose of knowledge. The participants saw the stove, took part in filling in the contribution, but they could not experience everything due to little experience in this area. That is why the master of ceramics conducting the workshops, prepared instructional videos for our students, which were discussed during a special edition of the workshops. The films are intended to introduce the arcana of the work of ceramic masters and indicate those stages of working with clay that require special care. In this way, the safety rules in the ceramics workshop were introduced. The workshops are still ongoing, new works are being created and we are all preparing for our visit to Sardinia, where we’ll meet CARE participants from other countries.  It will be a fantastic trip. See you.

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Empowering Creativity: Ceramic Workshops and Inclusive Initiatives in Nicosia

In the context of the project CARE in Cyprus, after a long period of preparations, we started our ceramic workshops with VI young students during February. Since then, the students have been gathering at Kuns Studio in the heart of Nicosia where they create their unique artworks, with the assistance of the ceramist, the trainers, and the VI experts. The students have created individual and collective artworks under the subject “The castle we hide within us”. The final artwork, which will be exhibited permanently in a public space consists of towers, walls, and figurines. The walls symbolize protection and togetherness and also connect with the history of the Old City of Nicosia, which is surrounded by the Venetian Walls, a significant historical monument. The students also participate in other creative activities aimed at cultivating their skills in presentation, communication, culture, and entrepreneurship. So far, they have practiced pitching their artworks and presented them during the Diversity Forum 2024 at Eleftheria Square. This event serves as an inclusive platform for individuals from all walks of life to engage in thought-provoking discussions and collaborative initiatives centered around Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) in both workplace environments and broader societal contexts. Following the conference, the Diversity Fair provided an interactive space where participants shared their experiences and initiatives in promoting DEI, contributing to the creation of a more inclusive society. While the ceramic workshops concluding in June, in September students will participate in a study visit at the Archaeological Collection of Bank of Cyprus Cultural Foundation, at an entrepreneurship seminar, and Access4All Festival in Limassol. CSI has prepared a rich and holistic program for the students to experience all the relevant aspects of ceramic creation and get the most out of it. It is very pleasant to see happy faces during each activity and also to see the progress the students have made.

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CARE’s ceramic workshops: a new pathway for young people with visual impairments in Europe. Let’s discover the uncountable benefits!

Erasmus+ CARE’s ceramic workshops are proving to be a true success for young people with visual impairments in Italy, Greece, Cyprus, Poland and Ireland. These workshops not only offer a unique opportunity to explore and develop new artistic skills but are also significantly improving the participants’ intrapersonal and interpersonal abilities, strengthening their social roles within communities. Participating in the ceramic workshops allows young people to discover and develop a sense of autonomy and self-confidence. Creating ceramic objects requires concentration, patience, and creativity, qualities that participants are learning to cultivate and appreciate. This creative process promotes personal reflection and emotional growth, allowing young people to explore their emotions and express them through arts and crafts. Working in a collaborative environment like CARE’s ceramic workshops promotes the development of interpersonal skills. Participants learn to communicate and work together, sharing ideas and techniques. This collaboration not only strengthens social bonds but also creates a sense of belonging and community, which is crucial for emotional and social well-being. One of the most innovative aspects of CARE’s ceramic workshops is the attention given to ergonomics and posture. Working with clay requires proper posture and specific movements, which help improve coordination and body awareness. This holistic approach not only improves the posture and physical health of the participants but also helps them develop advanced manual skills. Ceramics is also an art form that allows for extraordinary expressive freedom. In CARE’s workshops, young people can explore their imagination and bring their ideas to life. Creating unique and personal objects not only stimulates creativity but also provides a sense of accomplishment and pride. Each piece created represents a personal achievement and a work of art that will be displayed to the public very soon. These workshops, therefore, not only offer an opportunity for learning and growth but also a platform to showcase the talent and creativity of visually impaired and blind youth. Lately, public exhibitions of the created objects will not only celebrate individual successes but also raise public awareness about the importance of inclusion and diversity in our countries. Stay tuned for more updates about CARE!

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Improving self-esteem with a Ceramic Erasmus+ Course

Ierfop’s Care Project, the adventure continues for ten visually impaired young people From clay to ceramics. Under the guidance of master Nanni Pulli, the creations of the ten participants in the Erasmus+ Care course are slowly taking shape. Each object tells a story and becomes an emblem of the project itself, expressing both the uniqueness of the artist and the globality of Care’s message of inclusion and resilience. Thus, among the creations we find clocks depicting Sardinia, cups decorated with messages of accessibility, small nuraghi and flags of the 4 Moors, but also objects such as phoenixes and butterflies, representing rebirth and the will not to give up in the face of difficulties. After colouring and firing, the works will undergo crystallisation to add brilliance to the colour and transform the clay into ceramics. Improving self-esteem, manual dexterity and perception All in all, it was not only a training experience, thanks to the acquisition of clay working techniques, but also a socialising and awareness-raising experience. The group made and painted creations with the help of master Nanni Pulli and Ierfop tutors Claudia Serra, Alessia Cannas and Francesca Vargiolu, resulting in unique and artistically valuable pieces. While manipulating clay and painting, the participants improved their manual and perception skills, while gaining greater self-confidence. Finally, the opportunity to share workshop space allowed the group to get to know each other in depth, creating bonds of mutual esteem and support. The project will continue in June with in-person lessons at the Ierfop headquarters in Cagliari, via Platone 1/3, and will focus on entrepreneurship. To conclude the project, in October, there will be a meeting with participants from international partners and the realisation of a work to be displayed in a permanent exhibition in Cagliari.

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3rd Film Festival for Disabilities in Cyprus

Our Cypriot partners, Center for Social Innovation – CSI, on the occasion of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, organized the “3rd Film Festival for Disability” on 2 & 3 December 2023, in Nicosia. This distinctive cinematic celebration dedicated to inclusion, accessibility, and collaboration has firmly entrenched itself as an annual fixture. The upcoming iteration marks its third consecutive year, solidifying its status as a significant cultural institution. The overarching objective of the festival is to facilitate a meaningful encounter between the general public and the multifaceted issues surrounding disability, accessibility, equal opportunities, human rights, and diversity. Leveraging the transformative power of the 7th Art, the festival also incorporates parallel activities that serve to deepen the audience’s engagement with these vital themes. Moreover, the festival goes beyond the cinematic experience by incorporating informative initiatives. For instance, during breaks in the screenings, CARE brochures were thoughtfully distributed to the audience. These brochures serve as a conduit for disseminating information about the aims, objectives, and activities of the CARE project, shedding light on its profound impact on the visually impaired (VI) community. In essence, the “3rd Film Festival for Disability” stands not only as a testament to artistic expression but also as a beacon of awareness, fostering understanding, empathy, and support for individuals with disabilities. It exemplifies the power of film as a medium to catalyze social change and propel conversations surrounding the imperative issues of our time.  

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CARE at the 5th International Conference: “Literacy and Contemporary Society: Creativity, Equity, Social Action” in Cyprus

On the 4th of December 2023, during the 5th International Conference: “Literacy and Contemporary Society: Creativity, Equity, Social Action” organized by the Cyprus Pedagogical Institute, Cyprus Ministry of Education, Sport, and Youth, in collaboration with the University of Cyprus, our partners Center for Social Innovation – CSI , presented an activity based on the “CARE Manual on how to start ceramic workshops for the development of psychomotor skills” to be used for inclusive communication in formal or non-formal educational settings. The participants, comprising teachers and university students, displayed their interest in incorporating CARE activities into their teaching methodologies. The highlighted activity underscored the importance of empowering learners to present the process and meaning behind their artworks. This not only fosters creative expression but also improves public speaking skills and boosts confidence. In conclusion, CARE’s presence at the conference exemplifies a commitment to nurturing literacy, creativity, equity, and social action in contemporary education. As we explore innovative approaches to learning, initiatives like CARE contribute to a more inclusive and engaging educational landscape.

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CARE: C1- Joint Staff Training

Ιnternational training in Poland on how to promote the social and labour inclusion of visually impaired young people (V.I) through ceramic workshops. As a part of the “CARE: Ceramic Artworks to Raise Esteem and Employability” project, the 1st international training event occurred from October 23 to 27, 2023, in Łódź, Poland. Over 20 ceramists and educators participated in it, with main aim the implementation of ceramic workshops to visually impaired young individuals. In Poland, the participants engaged in various ceramic workshops and collaborated with other professionals in the arts and crafts field. Through their active involvement in these workshops, participants not only improved their manual dexterity, but also developed their socio-emotional skills, focusing on the expression of emotions through the creation of ceramic pieces. These skills are vital in assisting visually impaired young people in using ceramics as a means of self-expression and social interaction. This, in turn, fosters greater inclusion in society and provides new employment opportunities within the arts and crafts sector. Furthermore, participants had the unique opportunity to visit a youth center, where they interacted with visually impaired young individuals and offered support in specialized ceramic workshops. This experience served as a valuable lesson in understanding various forms of visual impairment and fostering empathy for visually impaired young people. During the training, the participants got access to helpful resources provided by CARE, which can be downloaded from CARE website. These resources include a special handbook with clear instructions for organizing ceramic workshops for visually impaired young people. It also offers a variety of fun and engaging activities that can help visually impaired young individuals improve their social skills and actively participate in these activities.   Ceramic workshops for visually impaired youth (ages 18 and up) will soon commence in Greece, Ireland, Poland, Italy, and Cyprus, spanning approximately 100 hours.  

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CARE: the artistic approach and ceramic processing to promote the inclusion of visually impaired young people. Find out the latest news from the transnational meeting in Wexford

On 7-8 June 2023, the European partners of CARE from Italy, Greece, Cyprus, Poland, Ireland met in Wexford (Ireland) to finalise the elaboration of the manual that will contain practical indications and educational lesson plans on how to implement creative ceramic workshops for young people, especially visually impaired ones. Through the processing of ceramics, young people will develop a new way of exploring the external environment, enhancing their sensory skills, their psychomotor and kinaesthetic skills, and also improving their ability to show emotions through artistic practice. To this end, ceramic workshops will be launched in the different countries of the partnership. Later, the young people involved will have the opportunity to participate in an international exchange abroad. In the upcoming months, CARE partners will work on: The development of a manual on how to implement ceramic courses to increase psychomotor skills of young people, especially visually impaired ones; The organisation of an international training for youth workers, who will then be involved in the implementation of practical ceramic workshops with visually impaired young people; The organisation of an international training for visually impaired young people, thus giving them the opportunity to travel abroad and exchange with other young people from the different countries in CARE The meeting in Wexford was also a good opportunity to strengthen cooperation between the partners and co-design new activities, reiterating the desire to work closely with young people, supporting them in their personal growth and inclusion process through the non-formal approach of the artistic practice and the ceramics. Stay tuned!    

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1st Transnational C.A.R.E Meeting

Nine participants from five partner organizations coming from four European countries attended the 1st Transnational kick-off meeting of the Erasmus+ project ‘’C.A.R.E.: Ceramic Artworks to Raise Esteem and Employability”. This project kick-off meeting took place in Athens on 17th – 18th January 2023 and was hosted by SIGMA BUSINESS NETWORK. The outcome of this three-year (2022-2025) project – funded through EU “Strategic Partnership” program – is to increase the self-esteem of young people with visual impairment (V.I.P.), by strengthening their psychomotor skills through ceramics workshops. Representatives from SIGMA BUSINESS NETWORK and all participating partners attended the meeting and had the chance to present their company and business area of their engagement as well as their role in the project. Project Management and implementation planning, Financial Management were also presented, while Project Quality Assurance Strategy and actions, Valorization and Sustainability were also explained, and their management was discussed in detail in relation to this project. The meeting also provided the opportunity for the partners to exchange ideas and thoughts on the program and discuss the arrangements for the next transnational project meetings to follow.  

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C.A.R.E.-New Erasmus+ Project

C.A.R.E. arises a key opportunity for young people with visual impairment (V.I.P.) to unlock their potential as individuals, as artists, and as employees, through ceramic workshops and enhances their psychomotor skills, as one of the foundations for development. Specific Objectives: To raise young visually impaired people (V.I.P.) self-esteem by strengthening their psychomotor skills. To enhance the young V.I.P.’s opportunities to employability in the field of art, culture, social and manual work, or to have them become future entrepreneurs. To give V.I.P. the confidence to become positive actors in the growth of their community, for their city, as well as the EU artistic scenario. To foster the capacity building and impact of educational and training centers with the introduction of pottery classes for all learners but equipping their trainers with the right skills to welcome V.I.P. To equip youth workers, educators, and trainers with the competencies to engage V.I. learners in their classes/workshops, and to foster the development of psychomotor skills in young learners through ceramics workshops. Expected results: A manual on how to start ceramic workshops A complimentary handbook with specific guidelines for V.I. learners Professional videos with the highlights from the local workshops and the transnational training events A manual with case studies   The project will be conducted by a consortium of 5 partners from 4 European countries: Italy, Greece, Ireland, and Cyprus. Lead Partner: I.E.R.F.O.P. ONLUS (IT) Partner – P1: PRISM IMPRESA SOCIALE S.R.L. (IT) Partner – P2: SIGMA BUSINESS NETWORK (GR) Partner – P3: ARDMORE EDUCATION AND DEVELOPMENT (IR) Partner – P4: CSI CENTER FOR SOCIAL INNOVATION LTD (CY)

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