One Caucasus Creative Education Program is a multilayer program aimed at strengthening education in multiethnic regions of Georgia. The program was started in 2014 and is carried out by One Caucasus NGO, a Tbilisi-based non-profit - in cooperation with international and national partner institutions, including the National Center for Teacher Professional Development and The Other Space Foundation, a Warsaw-based non-profit. The program works with two key audiences - students and teachers, and in a broader context - also schools and local communities. Our activities focus on creative and inclusive education - in which the subjectivity of all participants in the educational process is crucial, and the motivation to develop practical skills is at least as important as the knowledge passed on.
One Caucasus Creative Education Academy (OCCEA), is a cycle of trainings addressed to the teachers from multiethnic schools in Georgia. The initiative is currently implemented in the framework of the One Caucasus One Europe II project, financed by the European Union's Creative Europe program.
The goal of the OCCEA is to support teachers in the use of creative and innovative teaching methods. The program covers a wide range of topics, including:
- Group dynamics and psychology
- Building a positive and supportive learning environment
- Creative teaching methods (such as co-creation and self-evaluation)
- Each year we recruit at least 12 teachers - from at least 10 ‘minority’ schools (in 2023 we focus on teachers of Georgian language) mainly from regions: Kvemo Kartli and Samtse Javakheti.
Benefits of the Training
- Improved teachers’ skills in creating and running creative lessons,
- Improved student engagement and achievement,
- Increased teacher’s satisfaction,
- Improved school climate.
OCCEA - step-by-step
- Workshop in Tserakvi - last weekend of August or first weekend of September. Result: the teachers create their own creative lessons scenarios based on Georgian curriculum
- Practice & Implementation: September-October. Result: the teachers implement and evaluate their creative lessons scenarios in their schools.
- Workshop on-line: end of October. Result: learning from experience of implementing creative lessons, upgrading scenarios, follow-up.
FOR CHILDREN AND YOUTH
During the ten editions of One Caucasus, we ran 118 different workshops/cycles of workshops led by educators coming from 36 countries (5 continents) for at least 1700 kids from more than 30 villages (Armenian, Azerbaijani, Georgian, Greek, and Armenian-Azerbaijani) of Marneuli region. Since 2018, One Caucasus started to work with the youth of the Bolnisi region as well.
One Caucasus Education Program varies year on year, though the philosophy or our work remains. Our practical approach consists of learning by doing method, participatory planning, and by people for people approach. Our experience in education is based on merging the art disciplines (visual arts, video, animation, photography, music, performance, theater, dance, creative writing, etc.) with social and educational areas (learning languages, coding and programming, public space awareness and architecture, initiating local initiative, research, history, etc). We base our educational activities in villages across the region on the following structure:
- research/mapping – participating kids work in teams to find unobvious spaces in their village, collect stories by interviewing elders, etc.,
- inventing story – basing on research/mapping results – the kids invent new elements and together with educators/artists they create scenarios that will be artwork,
- creating art projects – the kids participate in creating a process based on scenarios – using experience, the know-how of artists/ educators – they learn to work with various art methods, at the final stage – professional artists take a lead in transforming the work of participants into the professional art forms (editing films, animations, preparing installations, multi-event art-walks or such forms as for example preparing a 3D model of the future center of Aghmamedlo village conducted by Tunisian architect and educator Reem Chaki),
- presenting artworks to the public – the works are later presented in specially designed by OC architects – Education and Art Corners of One Caucasus Town during the festival.
ONE CAUCASUS EDUCATION PROGRAM YEAR BY YEAR
For the tenth edition of One Caucasus - we worked in 6 villages (2 Armenian, 2 Azerbaijani, 2 Georgian) including 3 that we visited for the first time: Saimerlo, Kachagani and Tekali. Altogether 131 kids took part in the workshops. The new videos, short movies and even computer games were created by the local youth together with international One Caucasus educators. For the first time in history of One Caucasus we also organized the special "red carpet" event (day before the festival): we invited all the kids (who took part in OC workshops in 2023) for the Premiere event - where they could see for the first time the works that they co-created.
Back to normal for the ninth edition of the festival, the Workshop and Participatory Architecture teams composed of 16 volunteers conducted 12 workshops in the villages of Tsereteli, Kvemo-Kulari, Imiri, Tserakvi, Shaumiani Khachini, Sioni, Akhkula, and Damia.
Among the workshops conducted by the Workshop team was a video for a famous Georgian professional footballer in which the children of Tserakvi presented their village before inviting a football player named Kvara to play a friendly match against their team. In the village of Kvemo-Kulari, a group of young people aged 12 to 17 participated in the creation of 3 First Aid tutorials and created the character of “First Aid Man''. In the villages of Tserakvi, Shaumiani Khachini, Sioni, and Akhkula, 27 children created an animation entitled "Road to Shulaveri'' led by the Ukrainian artists Anastasia Kashtalian and Polina Piddubna.
The 2021 festival edition was unlike any other, as a result of a surge in COVID-19 infections in July, all cultural events were cancelled, and even prohibited throughout the Georgian territory. This decision came as a blow 24 hours after the arrival of international volunteers in Tserakvi. The One Caucasus Festival did not take place in 2021... at least not exactly, because it was without counting on the creativity and adaptability of the One Caucasus team, who turned this apparent bad news into an opportunity to be useful to communities that did not have access to the vaccine... The idea was "If you can't attend concerts during the festival, then festival’s music will come to you... with a vaccination point and a mobile concert stage!!!
Despite all the constraints, 7 workshops were finally conducted by 15 volunteers in 4 villages (Tsopi, Opreti, Akhula and Tserakvi). Regarding Akhula, Tsopi, and Opreti, workshops for adults led by the participatory architecture team enabled the renovation of a mini-market in the village of Akhula. Meanwhile, children and adolescents in Tserakvi were able to participate in 3 workshops, such as creating and installing signs with street names in the village that simply did not exist before, or the first aid workshop.
in 2020 One Caucasus Education Program was pretty diverse and unique. Our team our educators representing 9 countries held 15 different workshops such as Model Building in Tserakvi, that allowed local youth to develop the model of the new space for recreation they would like to see in their village, or the workshops on moviemaking in Shaumiani, Shulaveri, Mareti and Sadakhlo villages, as well as Animation Workshops in Mareti kids by a professional animator. The Festival was also filled with various workshops on-site for the youth participating such as Creative Poetry Writing, Handmade Mandalas, Sports, etc. In 2020 we also introduced full scale research-to-evaluation approach - which resulted in released evaluation report.
in 2019 One Caucasus Education Program was created by an international team of artists, animators, architects, activists, filmmakers, and volunteers. Dozens of new products were created such as new videos, maps, artbooks, documentaries, paintings, etc. The Program covered such villages as Damia, Sioni, Shulaveri, Tserakvi, and others. The Festival featured the results of young residents of Marneuli and Bolnisi municipalities and other target groups.
In 2018, One Caucasus had a unique edition in sense of its location (as the One Caucasus Program and Festival moved for a year to Bolnisi municipality) and of its activities. Some of the most prominent activities back in 2018 were art-walks in Bolnisi town, Khachini village, and Poladauri. Moreover, our teams of international artists created art exhibition spaces and organized various types of workshops during the Festival.
That year our teams made various workshops in such villages as Shaumiani, Shulaveri, Aghmamedlo, Tsiteli Sopeli, Araplo, and Tserakvi. The scope of the activities went along with the approach of participatory planning, mapping, creative writing, filming, etc. Six videos as the results of the workshops were created and exhibitions of the results were made during the 2017 One Caucasus Festival.
The 2016 Program of Education of One Caucasus was one of the largest in sense of scale and coverage. Here is the list of some of the best activities from 2016:
The Academy of Informal Education of Marneuli region.
The Academy was designed to transform the unique educational experiences of One Caucasus workshops into an all-year Informal Education Program that was conducted in towns and villages across the Marneuli region. The first phase of the workshop took place in the city of Marneuli from 1st to 6th of August 2016. 17 teachers and educators from the area were invited to join interactive, non-formal workshops led by experienced trainers. They were introduced to the non-formal education methods and tools which they can use in their everyday work back at their schools. The second phase was the co-operation with the international educators and to practice with them their skills in the framework of One Caucasus. The last phase consists of starting and conducting their own informal education initiatives. uWorkshops and artistic interventions 11-28th of August 2016
From the 11th to the 28th of August international educators teamed up with the teachers from the Academy of Informal Education in order to work with the local communities. By the means of several interdisciplinary workshops, they gathered stories, legends, and knowledge about the region. As the result, a Local Multilayered Archive will be created and presented during the One Caucasus Festival.
In 2015 the One Caucasus Education Program covered various places and activities including:
StoryPuri: The history of a region and its people is hidden in the flavors of local cuisine. We started to collect and revitalize the recipes and stories of the four ethnicities of the Marneuli region: Azeris, Armenians, Georgian, and Greek.
Caucasus News + Cartoon-Making Workshop: This year, the kids are involved in an interdisciplinary movie project called “Caucasus News”. In other words, they work as a TV Station by creating their own news using different methods such as stop-motion cartoons and standard reporter-style shooting. The workshop’s aim is to bring kids from the Armenian, Azerbaijani, and Georgian villages of the Marneuli district together. Mixed teams will assume functions such as reporters, journalists, animators, cameramen, sound engineers, etc.
Computer-Programming through Fun: The main goal of this workshop is to introduce the idea that computer programming can be a creative and fun activity. While working in SCRATCH, children create their own interactive stories, games, or animations with the possibility of sharing them with others in the online community. Workshops are a great opportunity to: learn the innovative and algorithmic way of thinking, develop analytical skills and also collaborate and reason in logical and efficient ways.
Children in Words: We work with local kids using short forms of literature and inspire them to write their own stories.
Let’s English It: During the “Let’s English it” workshop, kids learn English through having fun and while enjoying learning songs. Moreover, common singing makes kids more confident and inspires to learn languages.
What is communication? How to communicate with strangers?: This year our long–term volunteers and trainers Naila Huseynli and Irakli Mikiani involved Azerbaijan teenagers to the Communication workshop. The master class called “What is communication? How to communicate with strangers”. The main goal of the workshop is to get information about the forms of communication, norms, and values of other cultures, improve communication and discussion skills, express feeling, making empathy.
In 2014 the Education program - being the first such program within the One Caucasus was challenging as well as unique. The set of workshops included types of events such as music workshops by professional musicians (ex: workshops by Julian Chambers for the local young musicians), workshops of journalism, filmmaking, designing, comics, animations, video-cartoon making, and last but now least - the amazing workshops by the gospel professional from UK/Jamaica Clive Brown who visited One Caucasus specifically for creating the unique new international music workshops and projects with local young musicians in Marneuli and Tbilisi, and to perform the new music at the One Caucasus Festival.