Good News Drummers in Bujanovac and Vranje and Comic Strip Trip in Loznica
During December, we adjusted to working in the virtual world and hung out with secondary school students from Vranje, Bujanovac and Loznica at online workshops. The workshops are a continuation of the educational process started in the programme for university students “WHY SCHOOL? – On Identities and Intercultural Issues” held in October. The university students who went through the School formed groups in charge of different towns and were given the task to explore the intercultural heritage of the given towns, as well as to prepare small lectures with the help of associates of Group 484 – presentations that will be part of workshops for secondary school students.
Three-day online workshops for secondary school students were held on 11-13 December for students from Vranje and Bujanovac, and on 17-19 December for students from Loznica.
In Bujanovac and Vranje, we researched “town secrets”, i.e., interesting facts about towns and personalities that have contributed to positive changes and the richness of the cultural mosaic of towns. The researched material was turned into news about “great heroes”: secondary school students learned to master the form that news should meet, which questions it should answer, as well as how to shape the researched content into news. The great heroes are people who have significantly contributed to the development of the town (like the former director of the Vranje hospital, Dr Stanislava Ilić Gočobanka or Dr Isabel Emsley Hutton, a Scottish doctor who spent part of her career in Vranje during and after World War I), and then we focused on the present-day challenges in the pandemic situation and on the “little heroes” of today – all the people who do something good and encouraging for their community in a situation that is difficult for everyone. Secondary school students focused on gathering good news from the community, which sends a message of solidarity, encouragement and cooperation or is witty and optimistic.
This news was collected and “published” on the town square and in the streets and parks after the workshops. Four representatives were selected for the street action “Good News Drummers”. This group equipped themselves with costumes and drums and took action to encourage their fellow citizens by reading the good news about “little heroes and heroines”. The reading would begin with the slogan: “We are fixing bad things, we are good news drummers!”, and the good reaction of fellow citizens led this group to repeat their announcement several times during the day and in several places.
After the Vranje-Bujanovac action, we moved to Loznica. The virtual “Comic Strip Trip” led us to the reconstruction of the lives of the workers of the Loznica factory “Viskoza”. This factory – used to be one of the Yugoslav giants after World War II, changed the demographic structure of Loznica, habits, dynamics and architecture of the town, and its population increased several times. University students’ presentations spoke about the social life of Loznica during several decades of the 20th century – about the promenade in Loznica; about the Gučevo mountain lodge, which was a popular resort; about the department store “Drina” and changes in the everyday life of the people of Loznica.
The reconstruction of everyday life of this period was done by making comics with the participants of the workshops. To create the comics, we used: sentences from the film “Face to Face” from 1963, which deals with the problems of the daily functioning of a Yugoslav factory; photos from the factory “Viskoza” and photos provided by the participants of the workshops. By combining different sources: texts, photographs, films, we created comics and learned about the encounter of cultures and habits during the development of Loznica in the 20th century.
The research (of history) of everyday life and intercultural heritage was led by a team of associates: Ivana Bogićević Leko, Luka Knežević Strika, Jelena Mijić, Sanja Stamenković, Miloš Janković, Jelena Randjelović, Dragan Protić from the art collective “Škart” and Jelena Jaćimović.
The programme is implemented by Group 484 within the joint regional programme “Dialogue for the Future: Promoting Dialogue and Social Cohesion in and between Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and the Republic of Serbia”, implemented by UNDP, UNICEF, and UNESCO, and funded by the UN Peacebuilding Fund. (UN PBF).