• Photo by Alex Kat

Activity

Across boarders with borderline children

Creating art with children with special skills.

An activity by
partnering with Europe Grand Central

Explores the borders

Silence Art

Why

Odc ensemble, creates hybrid art often involving citizens in theatrical and non-theatrical spaces.
We engages, inspires, entertains and challenges audiences with theatrical productions that range from the classics to new works,
combining dance, new media and visual arts and music. We combat oppressive power structures and represent the voices
of marginalized people.
We create projects where people from marginalized groups; in particular people of colour, varying body types, class backgrounds, and abilities can be who they are, are accepted as equals, have access to performance based education, and see themselves represented in performance on stage.

We shared our stories and values and learned from peoples experiences outside of our own in order to combat oppressive power structures and represent the voices of marginalized people.

The Workshops at Vocational School of Eleusina make us to create art with children with special skills. Giving voice to a highly underprivileged societal group and guiding juvenile delinquents and adolescents with mental disorders ranging from autism to schizophrenia

Eleusina is an industrial area at the periphery of Athens with very high poverty rates and ethnic minorities that straggle to integrate.  These workshops gives the chance to work with adolescents in a special vocational high school in Eleusina, a school where children with special needs stand a chance of higher education.

Art is an ideal form that allows us to observe how different  elements can team up to make something. How the whole is way more than the sum of the parts from which it consists.

We did this workshops to allow the joy and power of making art together to inhabit the deprived individuals. To allow them to dream bigger.

Hopefully, a deeper understanding on mental disorders and social exclusion will emerge in Athens, a city of approx. 6 million people that bares very little acknowledgment and respect to people with special needs and skills.

Location

Ελευσίνα, Δυτική Αττική, Ελλάδα

Characteristics

Area

Eleusina is an industrial area at the periphery of Athens with very high poverty rates and ethnic minorities that straggle to integrate.
The workshops that organised at Eleusina, gave us the chance to work with adolescents in a special vocational high school in Eleusina, a school where children with special needs stand a chance of higher education.

Audience

Artists, Cultural Operators, Citizens of Athens and Eleusis, people interest in multi cultural projects, politically sensitized people and critical thinking audiences.

How the audience/participants were reached or discovered

The audience/participants were reached or discovered ODC Ensemble activities by:
Press kit and photos to all media (Print and electronic media).
Invitations to journalists and cultural reporters.
Interviews in radio and tv.
Video spots, photos and posts at Social Media, Facebook page, Youtube channel, Vimeo channel.
Monthly newsletters at the 15000 subscribers of ODC Ensemble promotes all the projects-activities
Trailers and events for promotion through internet and tv.

How it was done

film
interviews
music
performance
photos
sound
theatre
workshops
writing

How


http://www.globalgrandcentral.net/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/green-life-3.mp4

Results

Thanks to Europe Grand Central program, we gave voice and sound to a highly underprivileged societal group and guided adolescents with mental disorders ranging from autism to schizophrenia. Through our workshops at Vocational School of Eleusina, our collaborator musician Tilemachos Mousas, created a music band with children with special skills and thanks to this artistic program, the Vocational School of Eleusina was awarded as “best school in Attika, Greece” by the Greek Minister of Education. Following the workshops and with the participation of these children, we created a short film titled “BORDELINE”. These activities and their successful outputs, impacted ODC Ensemble to meet new collaborations and new audiences. After this experience, we continued working with children with special needs and in July 2017 we presented the theatrical performance “LUISETTE, THE BACKSTAGE OF A REVOLUTION”, coproduced by the Greek Festival (sponsored by the ministry of culture) and Eleusis 2017 European capital of culture.The best moment for all of us (the team and the audience) was the participation of the students with special abilities from the special vocational high school of Eleusis. They were the true protagonists of this project, worked closely together with actors, musicians, and visual artists. And their appearence in the performance was the most emotional moment.
Through the EGC, we caught our goal to create projects where people from marginalized groups; in particular people of colour, varying body types, class backgrounds, and abilities can be who they are, are accepted as equals, have access to performance based education, and see themselves represented in performance on stage.
We shared our stories and values and learned from peoples experiences outside of our own in order to combat oppressive power structures and represent the voices of marginalized people.
Learning through storytelling and working with marginalized communities such as the children with special skills of the vocational school, in our case, have been a great lesson for all of us. To make room for the understanding of individual differences to rise and to discover ways on how different people can make together one joined piece of art, have been a great experience for us with a vast social compact and made it to a frontline national news and a national award by the Ministry of Culture. We are already using these outputs in our next activities and this experience has been crucial for our audience development.

How it went

Main lessons learned

We think that in our case the project was an absolute success. For our organisation due to the Greek laws it would have been extremely difficult, almost impossible to get a special permission to work with adolescents with special needs unless the workshops and collaboration run under a big EU umbrella. So, bypassing the bureaucratic obstacles was a perfect good start. The Vocational School of Eleusina is a very progressive special high school supported by the love and commitment of the tutors of special education who wish to provide stimuli to their pupils, but unfortunately there are no music or dance classes designed by the ministry of Culture. That is the main reason that we could not possibly by pass unless a structural collaboration took place. So, thanks to EGC program we got access to the school and had the chance to offer workshops to the pupils in the fields of music, dance and visual arts.
We stayed in very close contact with the educators of the school who supervised all the workshops; at least three educators and a psychologist was present during the whole duration of the workshops. The workshops were followed by discussions with the educators and the director of the School after each session, where they would feed us in with very useful counseling and ideas.
The success of this series of workshops can be depicted with indicators and long lasting outcomes like the following:
a) some pupils that had no previous musical training were taught to play instruments (guitar, percussion, piano, base and vocals). The workshops were spread in time and were organised in artistic visits of the choreographer Athanasia Kanelopoulou, theatre director Elli Papakonstantinou, music composer Tilemachos Moussas and visual artist Malvina ….The children were very positively affected by the workshops and could release emotion, develop their movement skills and also speech abilities and express themselves freely. This resulted to an overall improvement of their hole being, behavioral and learning ability. Their marks at school improved dramatically. Dramatic improvement was achieved with dyslectic kids and autistic children in terms of speech and movement skills improvement.
b) The pupils were divided after a while in three groups according to their inclinations and needs: movement, theatre and music groups and kept on working with our group. The music group created a musical band, called:”Eleusis”. They worked so profoundly that they managed to compile a series of songs and have public gigs opening the official inauguration ceremony of “Eleusis 21” , cultural capital of Europe and more.
c) In June 2017 the theatre, movement and music group joined forces with professional artists and rehearsed through a period of two months for a performance titled: “Luisette, the backstage of a revolution” under the direction of Elli Papakonstantinou. The performance was commissioned by “Eleusis21” and “Athens & Epidaurus Festival 2017” and was presented in July 2017 for 4 performances at the Old Elaiourgeio of Eleusis. The performance was dealing with issues of equality and democracy and had a great social impact and press cover. The pupils with special needs and the professionals were treated as one equal group. The families and school educators were extremely supportive attending the rehearsals and some educators also being part of the final performance.
d) As a result of this work achieved at the ‘Vocational School of Eleusina’, the school was awarded “Best School in Attika (wider Athenian area) Award by the Ministry of Education” in a special ceremony, where the music band performed live. This award and general press attention resulted from the performance had a great impact and helped the School continue their great work. This year (academic year 2017-2018) is the first year that music became an official lesson in their programming by the Ministry of education. Press visibility generated by the performance and activist pressure helped enormously for this achievement.
e) Finally, the pupils involved in these workshops, rehearsals and performance all came from very underprivileged areas of Athens. Our work empowered the children and their families, gave them future dreams and perspectives. But, it also resulted in opening a public dialogue about second category citizens and human rights (especially through the performance).

Inspiration

Our main inspiration has been the children themselves, their skills, constraints, potentials and problems facing in the social lives. The work has been documented as you may see in the attached files that depict some of the expressive faces of the children. Another source of inspiration has been their social backgrounds and underprivileged areas where these children live: highly industrial area of Athens facing social, environmental and racist rhetoric problems. There are some fotos to present the situation in these areas.

Activity Timeline

2016

  • Thanks to the artistic program by ODC Ensemble, the Vocational School of Eleusina was awarded as "best school in Attika", Greece by the Greek Minister of Education Awarded cultural program for musician Tilemachos Moussas Musical Workshop with children with special skills.

    A one month workshop at Vocational School of Eleusina to create a music band with children with special skills. Giving voice and ..sound to a highly underprivileged societal group and guiding juvenile delinquents and adolescents with mental disorders ranging from autism to schizophrenia, Tilemachos Moussas created an award-winning music band.
    Eleusina is an industrial area at the periphery of Athens with very high poverty rates and ethnic minorities that straggle to integrate. These workshops gives the chance to work with adolescents in a special vocational high school in Eleusina, a school where children with special needs stand a chance of higher education.
    Music Ensembles are an ideal form that allows us to observe how different elements can team up to make music. How the whole is way more than the sum of the parts from which it consists.
    We did this workshop to allow the joy and power of making music together to inhabit the deprived individuals. To allow them to dream bigger.
    Hopefully, a deeper understanding on mental disorders and social exclusion will emerge in Athens, a city of approx. 6 million people that bares very little acknowledgment and respect to people with special needs and skills.

    This video is an extract from the award ceremony for Best Cultural Program (addressed to children 6-18 years old from all over Greece) by the Greek Ministry of Education. During the ceremony the children of the Special Vocational High School of Eleusina performed a song on borders and refugees. They have composed the music and wrote the lyrics about migration themselves and they have created a fusion song with elements from hip hop, rock and world music.

  • A short film from documentations of the workshops by director Elli Papakonstantinou, visual artist Pantelis Makkas and ODC ENSEMBLE team

    A short film from documentations of the workshops by director Elli Papakonstantinou, visual artist Pantelis Makkas and ODC ENSEMBLE team
    at the Vocational School of Eleusina… working with borderline children gathering their stories and ideas of borders in writing and also through recordings.
    These children are officially characterized as “borderline” children in terms of knowledge capacities. But what comes out from their descriptions and stories is that they also leave in a societal and ethnic borderline.

  • The Visual artist Malvina Pountzikoglou makes a 15th day workshop with the kids on the theme of Border Crossing.

    The Visual artist Malvina Pountzikoglou makes a 15th day workshop with borderline adolescents (aged 12-21).

  • “Workshop Green Planet”: a visual arts workshop from Adi Atassi a Syrian visual artist and Khaldoon Daoud a Jordan visual artist

    We did this visual arts workshop to make room for the understanding of individual differences to rise. And how different people can make together one joined piece of art.
    In the frame of the cultural program “Europe Grand Central” and in collaboration with “Eleusis 2021” a unique encounter took place at the Special Vocational High School of Eleusina.

    were invited to workshop and create together with the children. From this workshop, the outcome was a piece of art on borders titled: ”Green planet” that was created by the two artists in collaboration with the children.
    On a white canvas that was split with “borders” marked with a tape beforehand, the artists invited the children to color a colorful borderless world. Then, the tapes were removed revealing borders anew. The two artists reworked the painting of the children.

  • A workshop by director Elli Papakonstantinou at Vocational School of Eleusina working with borderline children

    1 month workshop by director Elli Papakonstantinou at the at the Vocational School of Eleusina… working with borderline children She s been gathering their stories and ideas of borders in writing and also through recordings.
    These children are officially characterized as “borderline” children in terms of knowledge capacities. But what comes out from their descriptions and stories is that they also leave in a societal and ethnic borderline.
    These documentations leaded to a short film.
    The children field a questionnaire. We asked about their boarders and how they will overcome them. The questionnaire gives us and the participants alike a fascinating insight to how borders are perceived by different people. At the same time it opts to strengthen the participants self- in using the tool of language for healthy dialogues.
    Stories of “borderline” children :
    Borders. Looking old houses. Notebook and pencil. Radio. Clog the words. Border – town, democracy, walls, tunnels, my room, my mobile, borders between freedom and dependence, parents, teachers, age, social position.
    Borders.
    Between people, to animals, to nature …
    The spiritual communication can break the borders.
    Everyone’s limits are the borders.
    To EXCEED yourself!
    To go to America and germany.
    To break the sound barrier
    Adrenaline!
    Borders because of fear.
    Health!
    To break the frontiers of knowledge.
    Borders.
    Τo not exceed the limits.
    The borders of me.
    The stress.
    My nerves.
    The opinions and suspicions.
    Το have confidence.
    Exceed emotions.
    The constricted as borders.
    The serious issues.
    Borders of love and friendship.
    A line connecting two dots.
    The sea.
    The ocean.

2017

  • Louisette: The Backstage of Revolution, performance by Elli Papakonstantinou/ODC ENSEMBLE

    This performance of ambulatory theatre, a co-production of the Athens festival and the Eleusis 2021 European capital of culture, is the end product of a fruitful collaboration between the ODC Ensemble and the students of the Special vocational high School of Eleusis and is part of the Europe Grand Central project.
    Elli Papakonstantinou’s Louisette (the title comes from Marat’s pet word for the guillotine) will be presented at the old oil factory of Eleusis, where viewers will watch the making of a film about bourgeois democracy and the French revolution. however, during shoot breaks, something is amiss. how do contemporary individuals relate to the tripartite motto “liberty, equality, fraternity”? the performance will draw on texts by Jean-Paul Marat, Heiner Müller, Guy Debord, Raoul Vaneigem, Nikos Gatsos, Friedrich Nietzsche, Mary Oliver, Victor Hugo, Maximilien Robespierre, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, excerpts from the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen (1789) and contemporaneous legal texts, Wachowskis’ The Matrix, and Travis Stout’s videogame Assasin’s Creed: Unity. it also draws on texts composed during improvisation with the students of special abilities from the special vocational high school of Eleusis. the latter are the true protagonists of this production, working closely together with actors, musicians, and visual artists.

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