Improving Exchanges Across the Divide Through Education and Culture

Creative Connections – Using the arts and new digital technologies to promote conflict resolution and positive community relations in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Moldova, and in the EU

EU4Dialogue – Promoting Conflict Transformation through Education and Culture

Smashing Times were selected by the European Commission as the only  Irish partner to take part in a three year project titled ‘Improving exchanges across the divide through education and culture (EU4Dialogue Component 3), taking place in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Moldova, and in the EU. The project aims to promote the transformation of the unresolved conflicts in the Eastern Partnership (EaP) region, leading to improved exchanges (regional, intra-regional and/or with the EU) through education and culture for both women and men in the conflict regions.

The project is supported by the European Development Fund and DG Near’s regional conflict transformation programme and aims to contribute to the transformation of unresolved conflicts in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Modova, building links between those countries and the EU. The project runs for three years from 2021 and aims to build spaces for exchange and opportunities for dialogue.

Smashing Times specialise in using the arts and new digital technologies to promote peace building and reconciliation and will design and implement Creative Connections, an arts-based  training programme using theatre and film to promote peace building, conflict resolution and transformation. We will work with artists, cultural workers, youth leaders, teachers, facilitators, peace workers, youth and community workers, leaders and all those interested in using the arts to explore the kind of society we want for the future inspired by equality, human rights, diversity and peace.

Trainers Freda Manweiler and Frederique LeComte in Tbilisi, Georgia, running training with participants from South Caucasus and Moldova including the conflict affected areas

The  consortium of partners is led by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) which is the world’s largest funding organisation for the international exchange of students and researchers.  As a  consortium partner for the EU4Dialogue project,  Smashing Times International Centre for the Arts and Equality will work with the Goethe Institute and National Library of Latvia to promote cultural and artistic activities and to present artworks for peace.  The full list of partners are German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), Campus France, Goethe-Institut, Foundation for the Development of the Education System (FRSE), Brussels Diplomatic Academy,  the National Library of Latvia and the Smashing Times International Centre for the Arts and Equality, Dublin, Ireland.

In Ireland Smashing Times are delighted to link with the Georgian Embassy and to support Georgian diverse cultures. Georgian is a gateway between Europe and Asia and although a young state, it has a rich heritage of culture and history.

In summary Smashing Times are working on a research and needs assessment and will design and implement a Creative Connections ‘Train the Trainer’ Training programme using the arts and new digital technologies to promote conflict resolution and positive community relations in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Moldova, and in the EU. The training takes place in two five-day residential sessions, in May 2023.

The consortium partner details:

German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD): The DAAD is the world’s largest funding organisation for the international exchange of students and researchers. The most important responsibilities of the DAAD include granting scholarships, promoting the internationalisation activities of German universities and research organisations, strengthening German cultural and language studies abroad and helping developing countries establish productive higher education institutions. The DAAD is also the National Agency for EU Higher Education Cooperation.

Campus France: Campus France is the French national agency in charge of promoting higher education, hosting international students and managing international mobility programmes. It is also responsible for the France Alumni network. As a public industrial and commercial institution, Campus France operates under the authority of the Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Higher Education, Research and Innovation, as well as in close cooperation with the French conferences of higher education institutions. The Ministry of Culture and the Ministry of Agriculture are represented on Campus France’s Board of Directors.

Goethe-Institut: The Goethe-Institut is the cultural institute of the Federal Republic of Germany with a global reach. We promote knowledge of the German language abroad and foster international cultural cooperation. We convey a comprehensive image of Germany by providing information about cultural, social and political life in our nation. Our cultural and educational programmes encourage intercultural dialogue and enable cultural involvement. They strengthen the development of structures in civil society and foster worldwide mobility. With our network of Goethe-Instituts, Goethe Centres, cultural societies, reading rooms and exam and language learning centres, we have been the first point of contact for many with Germany for over sixty years. Our long-lasting partnerships with leading institutions and individuals in over ninety countries create enduring trust in Germany. We are partners for all who actively engage with Germany and its culture, working independently and without political ties.

Foundation for the Development of the Education System (FRSE): For over 25 years, the Foundation for the Development of the Education System (FRSE) in Poland has managed programmes, projects and initiatives aimed at broadening basic and specialist knowledge and acquisition of new skills and competencies in formal, non-formal and informal education settings. FRSE is the Polish Erasmus+ National Agency in the years 2014-2020. The range of programmes and initiatives that the Foundation manages includes: eTwinning, Eurodesk, Europass, Eurydice, WorldSkills and EPALE.

Brussels Diplomatic Academy: The BDA has at its core a belief that diplomacy and business are essential elements in the growth of any economy, and bringing them together in dialogue and education is fundamental. Too often diplomacy and business have worked in separate spheres of influence and action, and when attempting to come together the lack of understanding on both sides has led to inefficiency and, on occasion, suspicion. But this needn’t be the case. Diplomats and business people use similar skills and knowledge because they deal with the same topics, just from different angles. At all levels of our services there is an understanding that as each domain develops, it can only fully achieve its goals by understanding the other. Everything we offer reflects this approach. We are 100% VUB, and the critical thinking, constant striving for excellence, and the open-mindedness of our University are integral to the services we provide. Right in the heart of Europe, the capital of Belgium and Flanders, we are ready to share our expertise and create opportunities for all those involved in diplomacy and international business to meet and grow.

National Library of Latvia: The National Library of Latvia (NLL) is a state cultural institution of national importance, under the supervision of the Ministry of Culture, acting in accordance with the law “On the National Library of Latvia”. The NLL is one of the largest cultural institutions in Latvia. The Law On the National Library of Latvia stipulates that the NLL shall be a universally accessible, universal academic library of the Republic of Latvia that serves the intellectual development of the whole nation; a repository for all Latvian printed matter, a national bibliographic–resource generator and a state centre for library–system development, an integral part of the national wealth of the Republic of Latvia; the NLL’s collections and databases shall be freely accessible. The NLL shall represent Latvia in international organisations related to library work, participate in the elaboration and implementation of international programmes for the sector, and cooperate with foreign libraries in accordance with the procedures specified in intergovernmental and direct contracts. The NLL is an institution for continuing vocational education and training registered with the Register of Educational Institutions of Latvia’s Ministry of Education and Science.

Smashing Times International Centre for the Arts and Equality:

Smashing Times International Centre for the Arts and Equality is an award-winning organisation dedicated to the promotion, study and practice of the arts, human rights, climate justice and gender equality. The company is led by  Mary Moynihan, Artistic Director, and an award-winning Writer, Theatre and Film-Maker and Freda Manweiler, Producer and Company Manager.

Our mission is to lead the development of the arts to promote and advance equality and human rights and to connect citizens to the arts, human rights, climate justice and gender equality, working with artists and local communities and communities of interest to create collaborative art practice in local, national, European and international settings. 

The company currently operates as a world class arts and digital hub for artists, citizens, communities and the general public across Ireland, Northern Ireland and internationally. Core services consist of membership, resources, advice and the implementation of a range of innovative projects promoting professional and collaborative arts practice and a youth arts Ensemble. The centre promotes membership, networking, training, guidance, support and advocacy in relation to using high quality creative processes, collaborative arts practice, research and new digital technologies to promote equality and human rights for all.

The company produces an annual and multi-annual inter-disciplinary arts programme with a focus on economic development, tourism, community outreach and education. All artistic mediums are supported with a focus on the performing and collaborative arts including theatre, film, visual arts, dance and music.