Street action “Home = Visitors” in Vranje
On Wednesday, April 22, 2014, from 8 p.m. in Branko’s Street in the centre of Vranje, Group 484 and a group of high school and university students from Vranje involved in Group 484 educational program organised a small street action “Home = Visitors”.
Within the action, Vranje high school students presented a publication of postcards “Home = Visitors” designed with the mentor support of Ivana Bogicevic Leko and Luka Knezevic Strika, Group 484 program associates, after months of researching the presence and influence of foreigners in Vranje now and then. Passers-by had the opportunity to go look at the photographs of the research process projected on the facade in Brankova Street, but also new, bold postcards of Vranje, which in a humorous way tell about integration into the local environment and provide a different view of Vranje from the perspective of its citizens who came to this town as “foreigners”, and then continued to live in it. Passers-by could also talk to high school students, but also receive a gift publication / package of interesting postcards.
The next day, on Thursday, April 23, a presentation was held in “Radoje Domanović” Elementary School and three presentations in “Bora Stankovic” High School in Vranje. Within these presentations, a group of high school students had the opportunity to tell their peers in a humorous and interesting way what they had learned about foreigners in Vranje now and then.
Although it might not seem so at first glance, the contribution of people who came to Vranje from other countries is very important. For example, the first district hospital in Vranje was founded by Dr. Franjo Kopša, who had come to Vranje from Slovenia, while Helen King from America and Vida Matheson from Scotland came to Vranje at the end of 1918 to jointly manage the Home for Children without Parental Care. Numerous other examples show that numerous cultures have encountered in Vranje throughout history with visible influences that make the town authentic, dynamic and rich.
The high school students have researched since October 2014. The aim of the research is to discover interesting facts about the encounters of numerous cultures specific to Vranje. Through meetings with foreigners who are currently living in Vranje and through researching stories about foreigners who in the past contributed to the development of Vranje, the students have made a series of interviews and collected a rich narrative material and photographic archive. During the following three months all the seminar attendees will gain practical experience in working with marginalised groups, through the direct practice that the Faculty of Political Sciences is conducting in cooperation with Group 484.
Project: Our New Neighbours – improvement of migration policy in Serbia and the Western Balkans
Objective: building trust and sensitisation of local communities for understanding the situation of asylum-seekers and migrants
Implementers: Group 484 (educational program “We and the Others” and the Centre for Migration)
Support: Open Society Foundation