In December 2021, the Erasmus+ KA2 project “Flourish Centers: Design of Participatory Intergenerational Learning for Social Cohesion” was launched with the aim of its innovative elements being used as the bridge for sustained interaction and learning between generations by cultural heritage interventions.
As the COVID-19 pandemic has severely disrupted the everyday lives of millions of people within the EU and the world, many new challenges have arisen in all sectors, affecting political, social, cultural and financial processes. In order to cope and continue within lockdown or under heavily restricted measures, foundational elements that connect and develop a society, namely communication, culture and education, are moving their services online. This transition had numerous effects on people that have already limited digital skills, like elderly adults who do not only find themselves digitally excluded but also socially isolated and marginalized.
The FLOURISH project aspires to give voice to those who are at risk of social exclusion as well as opportunities for marginalized groups to actively participate in social life, providing more opportunities for developing sustainable connections and interactions in order to build more sustainable socially cohesive communities. Through carefully planned intergenerational project activities, disadvantaged elderly adults over the age of 65 who belong to marginalized groups and face a limited participation in digital culture will interact with young people aged 18-30, building relationships across generations whilst also developing their digital capacity through the interactions and activities. In addition, their social inclusion will be supported as they will have the opportunity to cooperate and collaborate with their youth partner in order to create and record the process of creation of a cultural heritage product.
The project is going to produce 3 main results in order to achieve the mentioned goals:
PR1-“FLOURISHING”: Online Learning Platform: Partners will develop an e-learning MOODLE platform with an interactive digital infrastructure that will ensure the target groups are able to fully harness the benefits of intergenerational learning. The online platform will present the material in units, allowing learners to select the modules that are most appropriate to their learning needs, and will be complemented with interactive units, exercises, mini tests, presentations. Specifically, the Platform will serve a two-fold function: a) to train adult educators in intergenerational learning b) to support senior adults and young adults in the creation of their cultural heritage products by providing them with the relevant tools.
PR2 – FLOURISH CENTERS: Intergenerational Cultural Affinity Space: The blended affinity spaces are series of 4 x 2 hour workshops of both online and offline activities which bring together disadvantaged elderly adults and youth who will lead the workshops and will have already being trained with the correct methodology in order to collaborate on a specific cultural heritage activity.
PR3-FLOURISH: Living virtual experiences (LIVE) exhibition: Partners will develop an empowering, next generation inclusive community exhibition space to disseminate the products/creative outputs produced by participants of PR2. This is an innovative way to address responsible geographies of cultural identity and the controversial processes of social (re)memory and forgetting. The virtual exhibition space of the present (LIVE), could act as a space for participants to co-author lived societal and place-based memories, drawing on the concept of Second Life and simulations of sort.
The project brought together five partners – the project coordinator, Pistes Solidaires, and the project partners, Synthesis Center for Research and Education Limited from Cyprus, Exeo Lab Srl from Italy, Austrian Association of Inclusive Society (AIS) from Austria and Innovation Hive from Greece.The Kick-Off meeting took place online on 13th & 14th January in order to discuss the first steps of the project’s management and implementation. The 2nd TPM will be organized in June in Nicosia, Cyprus with the aim to overview the next steps of the implementation process.