Sharing, connecting and learning during the online learning festival, Amsterdam

On Saturday 21st of November 2020 the SALT and CLCP facilitators training in Amsterdam was completed by an online learning festival. It was musically enlivened by Oed-player Alsharaa. A group of seven neighbours from the eastern district of Amsterdam shared their learnings with the guests of the festival, who were: Neighbours, people from other local organisations and a civil servant of the eastern district of Amsterdam.

Against the backdrop of corona, the training unexpectedly became an online training. Despite this, how has the group of local connectors gone through a collective process of change? What became their shared dream and what are their newly formed plans for the future?

The dream

The group presented their shared dream as local connectors for 2025: ‘To create a place for connection, where people can develop themselves, where they can come together, do things together and make art.’

A number of plans have already been formulated for the coming year, some of which are already in the implementation phase. The Women’s group is organising casual high tea & workshop afternoons, an International women’s choir has been founded, there are plans for more Salt visits, a creative writing course and a gathering in the style of ‘Tales of 1001 nights’. Other plans are: A course for local children to make animated films, building bridges between different cultures by organising gatherings, watching films together, eating together and organising talks about equality.

Some quotes and personal gemstones (learnings) by the participants of de SALT training:

“Sometimes you doubt yourself, then when you hear others say: ‘You can do it’, I start to think: ‘I can do it’.”

 “By having conversations about equality, we have been able to make real connections with each other. We became friends.”

 “The salt sessions have taught us to be beter listeners and to ask more questions.”

 “I hope I can inspire other women through social musical projects so they feel more at home and follow their dreams”

Having had many appreciative conversations during the year the participants have developed a strong connection with each other. Despite the online training, where creating real connections seems hard. Guests of the festival have noticed the closeness of the group through their presentations and have said: ‘If you manage this online, you sure will nail it in real life!’

Finally, here are some of the collective harvesting topics and tips from the festival for other neighbourhoods who want to work towards more connection.

Within the collective learning journey two main topics were harvested:

‘Working together and organising neighbourhood activitities on the basis of equality’ and ‘Believing in one’s strength to make dreams come true’.

Together with the guests of the festival these topics were discussed and tips were formulated:

Tip 1:

Music is a tool to connect, even if you do not speak the same language, it connects directly to the heart. Find ways and experiences to connect with people without the use of language.

Tip 2:

Instead of approaching someone from a label or a target group, approach someone from their strengths. This is a more humane way of connecting and stimulates equality.

Tip 3:

‘Agree to disagree’. We are often inclined to convince each other of our own right or conviction. There is a chance that the other will no longer listen sincerely to what you have to say. That is a waste of the quality of the conversation, but also of the relationship.

Tip 4:

Start by offering a listening ear and giving space to one another. By offering a listening ear you put the other in their strength, so they can take their first step and take initiative.

Tip 5:

Discovering and sharing your own strengths, gives motivation and inspiration to others to do the same.

 

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Comment by Birgitta Schomaker on December 23, 2020 at 8:34pm

Thank you iSiZ for capturing & sharing the learning, and for the concrete tips for collaboration. 

Comment by Rituu B. Nanda on December 11, 2020 at 3:44pm

Congratulations on this great work. I am excited about the actions which are being taken. 

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