The Without Borders Project was first conceived in Poland, 2011, at the ‘Short Cut Conference’ run by the International Council for Cultural Centres. The partners involved in this new cultural exchange project are Valley and Vale Community Arts in Wales and the Bread Houses Network in Bulgaria, with Project Development Workers Nick Clements and Vanessa Volpe.
The Bread Houses Network, www.breadhousesnetwork.org, is a network of Culinary-Cultural Arts Centres within the global International Council for Cultural Centres. The Bread Houses Network (BHN) works to inspire people and communities to discover and develop their creative potential and cooperate across gender, age, ethnic, and religious background through collective bread-making and accompanying art forms. The Network strives to create community ‘Bread Houses’ throughout the world that act as Culture, Art, and Community Centres where members come together to make and create Bread and Art. As many participants can attest, bread-making is an art form in and of itself, often passed down through generations, and during baking time groups can collaborate on creative projects from music to storytelling to drama or share their own work through poetry readings or displays.
The Without Border project is seeking EU funding to enable the Bulgarian staff of the BHN and other allied community workers to gain new creative and entrepreneurial skills, and to set up a programme whereby they can:
- Use creativity to try to stimulate the active employment of disadvantaged groups in the labour market in Bulgaria.
- Give support to start up independent economic operations and own businesses.
- Stimulate the development of innovative models of social enterprises.
Artist Nick Clements and Occupational Therapist Vanessa Volpe will be training the staff in a range of creative and occupational techniques, using skills developed here in the UK which are new to Bulgaria. The year and half project will use creativity and occupation to promote increased self worth, to build confidence through new skills and participation, to promote and foster innovative solutions to domestic and work-related issues for the staff, and to stimulate creativity and creative approaches. These skills can then be passed on through their work to their clients.
The project will achieve its goals through four means:
- Studying the experience of other countries, also through on-site visits to Wales and UK.
- Dissemination and exchange of information and experience, also through publications, organisation of events, establishment and/or inclusion in partnership networks, twinning.
- Exchange of programme details and on-site exchange of experience.
- Joint or coordinated organisation of social experiments by adapting and/or validating (testing) innovative models, practices, services, products and support systems.
We hope that we are successful in gaining funding for this innovative project, sharing skills and approaches through creativity and developing new connections between the partners in Bulgaria, Wales and the UK.