A Mutual Understanding in Gdańsk

ARTPAD visit in Gdańsk, Poland written by Paulina Pawlicka

The second research visit of the ARTPAD project team took place in Gdańsk, Poland between 31st of March 2016 and 2nd of April 2016. This was the meeting that brought our mutual understanding of resilience and core idea of how the Best Practice Guide should look and be like so that it was reader-friendly. The group dynamics brought us to the point where we set off to the deeper water and the individual differences of the group members became more visible resulting in fierce discussions. This showed how engaged in the project everybody was and resulted with better getting to know each other.

As the first meeting during the visit in Poland was planned for early afternoon, those who got to Gdańsk a day earlier had the opportunity to participate in a morning drama training session aimed for students of social work and early education at the University of Gdańsk. The training was led by our ARTPADer Adam Jagiełło-Rusiłowski. This created the opportunity to discuss the goals and the process of the training, which is the project’s Intellectual Output 2.

After the ‘welcome part’ of the meeting accompanied by lunch, everybody transferred to the Gedania 1922 kindergarten in Gdańsk to see the children education place working on introducing free play and equipped with a creative playground and huge outdoor area of the Gdańsk sports club. The discussion that followed the visit, introduced the theme: what free play is, the playworker’s approach and how to facilitate free play. During the afternoon session back at the Social Sciences Department of the University of Gdańsk the group worked on the Best Practice Guide. Each person introduced the chapter they had worked on. We also discussed the overarching aims of the Best Practice Guide and groups that it is addressed to.

The second day of the ARTPAD visit, which was All the Fools’ Day in Poland (April the 1st), started at the 12th Elementary School in Gdańsk, where the group had the opportunity to experience two actual lessons (with fifth-graders and second-graders) with elements of drama led by the certified drama teacher. It was an interesting and direct experience as the children agreed that the ARTPAD group stayed in the same room and even participated in the introductory part of the lesson. The lunch took place back at the University of Gdańsk, where the drama teachers leading the sessions with the children joined us for a reflection session. The rest of the day was spent on discussing the Best Practice Guide. In the evening the group met at Adam’s and his wife Magda’s house where the hosts prepared and served a delicious buffet dinner (home-made Polish and fusion) for the ARTPADers.

The third day took place again at the University of Gdańsk and began with the management meeting. Finances, action plan from the last meeting and preparation for the next meeting in Hungary were the main issues. Furthermore, a discussion on the second output of the Project, which is the drama and play course for teachers and youth workers, took place. We have made a decision, that a pilot of the course will take place in Gdańsk in February/March 2018. The last part of the meeting was held by Wendy Russell, our external elevator, and focused on the group dynamics and process of working on the Best Practice Guide. The session was followed by lunch, which was the last part of the visit.