Danish courses provided new competencies to counsellors

On September 15th-16th and November 1st – 2nd UU Vejle and VIFIN conducted the two training courses in Actvise – Forum Theatre for approximately 45 enthusiastic counsellors, teachers and other education professionals who spent two days together with the facilitators to achieve new competencies in working with young people. During the two days they were introduced to different exercises in Forum Theatre, together with perspectives on bringing in digital media to the method.

The Participants is watching a forum play

On the first day of the course Rikke Mørkholt Jensen from the creative consultant firm ACT! was responsible for introducing and teaching warm-ups, value exercises and forum plays. By trying the different methods themselves, the participants gained an insight into how the method would work with the young people they are working with. At the first course Risto Ruottunen of the finish partner was also present and added his input and Forum Theatre expertise.

Forum plays makes it possible for young people to test ’real’ situations in a safe environment such as conflicts in school or problems with parents. “It is ideal to use such a method for the young people we are working with” said Anne Henriksen from UU Vejle, who are also one of our project partners.

On day two of the courses Jacob Knudsen and Niels Ole Ankerstjerne from VIFIN were in charge of introducing the participants to some of the possibility of using digital methods in forum plays. By using services like YouTube, blogs and mobile cameras the processing of the dilemmas in the plays can happen over longer periods of time. Participants were allowed to play with both smart phones and YouTube to try out their ideas in practice and they produced some truly creative results.

The participants in both courses were very enthusiastic and involved, and the first reactions to the methods were positive. Participants expressed that they appreciated that methods were presented in relation to their daily work and target group, and the facilitators’ abilities to communicate and their dedication were praised highly. “I thought it was great how the facilitators made it very specific how it could be used in the daily work. It seems like most participants are going to use both some of the theatre exercises, but also incorporate technology”, said Sine Bjerre Martinussen after the second course.

The project now moves on to develop a handbook material about Forum Theatre and digital media, which will work as an introduction to the methods.  This will also be useful for those who have not participated in courses.