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ABOUT THE PROJECT
Commonality and difference.
Bialystok and its dwellers in the eyes of foreigners

 

Each individual sees one’s surroundings, the place in which one lives and people in it, from the perspective of his or her own culture and experience. We perceive the space of our every-day life as common and obvious. Its unique characteristics naturally become “invisible” to us. It is difficult to observe those characteristics, and even more difficult to describe them. Only when we find ourselves in a completely new environment, we start to discover and adopt it in a more conscious manner. On one hand, we search it for familiar elements, which we are accustomed to in ”our” space (things that seem common). On the other hand, we begin to compare it to “our” space, searching it for elements which we find unfamiliar and strange, and which – as such – make us feel perplexed and insecure (things that seem different). 

The project “Commonality and difference” will allow us to look at our own city and region through the eyes of foreigners, who remain sensitive to those local characteristics which we do not consciously perceive any more. It will help us to capture (and sustain) the processes of “familiarization” of the physical and cultural surroundings within the spaces of Bialystok and Podlasie, which are familiar to us – Bialystok and Podlasie dwellers, but often appear confusing to those who come to Bialystok and Podlasie from other parts of Europe.

By directing attention to those elements of our reality which are astonishing to the guests from other countries, and – on the other hand – to those elements which, despite the cultural distance, they find to be familiar, the activities we propose within the project framework will allow us to rediscover our city and region, and ourselves as its dwellers. But not only this…

Applying comparison as the method of inquiry into our own social and cultural surroundings, at the same time we will be getting to know the outward contexts of this comparison: other European cities, other regions, other cultures, other youth circles. Working together in a multinational, young group, we will get a unique chance of personal contact with the representatives of other countries, mutual learning and understanding, and above all – common action.  

 

The project “Commonality and difference” is aimed at:

  • Creating conditions for multicultural integration of the youths from Poland and Bialystok with the youths from other countries,

  • Extending knowledge that young people have of the cultures of particular European countries and as a result – weakening cultural stereotypes,

  • Developing the ability of intercultural communication among the youths,

  • Encouraging among the youths attitudes of tolerance and respect towards other cultures and their representatives,

  • Raising reflection and discussion about cultures and cultural differences in Europe within the local community,

  • Promoting the city and region among Europeans (by showing its local cultural specificity and its European context).

 

The project “Commonality and difference” is addressed to:

  • foreign students,

  • participants of international exchange programs (university and high-school students),

  • international volunteers,

  • and other foreigners who live or work in Bialystok.

 

Within the project framework we will engage in the following activities:

  • Creation of an international photographic group, whose members will take photographs in two categories:

  1. What in Bialystok is surprising and astonishing to me? What is different from my home city/country? What seems unfamiliar to me?

  2. What in Bialystok reminds me of my home city/country? What makes me feel like home here? What seems familiar to me?

  • and describe (comment, interpret) the resemblances and differences pictured in the photographs in the light of their own experiences.  

  • Compilation of a photographic album based on the collected visual and descriptive material. The publication will be completed with articles on social subjects relevant to the idea of the project and translated into English.

  • Launching of a bilingual (Polish-English) website of the project, reporting on its progress and presenting its effects: www.bialystok.uwb.edu.pl.

  • Preparation of a photographic exhibit clinching the project and publicizing its effects (in Lacznik Gallery at The Faculty of History and Sociology, The University of Bialystok).

  • Organization of cyclical meetings of the international group. The meetings will be devoted to exchange of experiences and observations connected with the project realization. They will also provide an opportunity for discussion about the idea and practice of multiculturalism, with relevance to Bialystok, Podlasie, and Europe. In addition, we will invite experts to participate in these discussions as guest speakers and moderators. The meetings will be combined with film screenings, culinary workshops and other attractions. All these will be open for anyone interested in participating. Information about the project meetings will be publicized via posters, the Internet and the local media.

  • Organization of a thematic event, The International Day, within the framework of Humanities Week at The University of Bialystok. The event will be combined with a presentation of the project.

  • Promotion of the project via posters, the Internet and the local media.

 

We started the project “Commonality and difference” in December 2007, and we are continuing till June 2008 according to the following schedule:

No.

Activity

Beginning

Ending

1.

Preparation and printing of info materials

January

February

2.

Getting in touch with potential participants

January

February

3.

Meeting and informing about the project

February

March

4.

Launching of the project website

February

March

5.

Cyclical meetings of the project participants

February

June

6.

Promotion of the project (Internet, posters, mass media)

February

June

7.

Work of the photographic group (taking the photos, writing the descriptions)

March

April

8.

Compilation of the publication (edition, translation)

April

May

9.

Organization of The International Day

May

May

10.

Preparation of the exhibit

May

May

11.

Printing of the publication

June

June

12.

Distribution of the publication

June

June

 

Guide for “Commonality and difference” project participants:

Those interested in participation in the project are asked to take photographs in two categories:

  1. What in Bialystok is surprising and astonishing to me? What is different from my home city/country? What seems unfamiliar to me?

  2. What in Bialystok reminds me of my home city/country? What makes me feel like home here? What seems familiar to me?

One should take 1 to 5 photographs in each of the categories (10 at maximum altogether). The photographs may picture: places, people, events, phenomena, objects, etc..

For your special consideration! Because the photographs collected within the project framework will be ultimately publicized in print, they should be taken in highest resolution (best quality) possible.  

Each photograph should be accompanied by a description (comment, interpretation) by the author, explaining what the photograph shows and why it was taken (why this particular object was pictured, and not some other). We will greatly appreciate descriptions with references to the authors’ experiences, home countries and cities. The description may be in the form of a short essay or personal reflection. However, it should not be longer than one A4 page (TNR 12, 1.5 interspaces, margins 2.5 cm).

In addition, authors are asked to attach a short note about themselves, containing basic personal data – name, last name, birth date, country, contact – and information about the reason for staying in Bialystok (student, volunteer, etc.).

Photographs, together with their descriptions and information about the authors, should be recorded on a CD-R or DVD-R, and sent to the following address no later than on April 15, 2008 – Fundacja UwB, ul. M. Skłodowskiej-Curie 14, 15-097 Białystok – or handed directly to any of the project coordinators (as listed below) during one of our meetings.

Organizers:

                      PROJECT IS REALIZING BY:       
 

IN COLLABORATING WITH:
 

Koło Antropologii Obrazu Koło Naukowe Socjologów Fundacja UwB Instytut Socjologii UwB Uniwersytet w Białymstoku


 

Projekt is Financed By: 'Youth in Action' Programme, Urzęd Marszałkowski Województwa Podlaskiego and Prezydent Miasta Białystok, and so Samorząd Studentów Wydziału Historyczno-Socjologicznego UwB.
 

‘This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This publication [communication] reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.’

 

Urzęd Marszałkowskiego Województwa Podlaskiego Prezydent Miasta Białegostoku 'Youth in Action' Programme Samorząd Studentów Wydz. Hist.-Soc.

 

 

Projekt is Patronized By:
 



BIAŁYSTOK ONLINE

 

 

Partners of the Project: Akademicki Klub Turystyczno-Krajoznawczy and Erasmus Student Network – Politechnika Białostocka.

 

 

 
  Akademicki Klub Turystyczno-Krajobrazowy International Exchange Erasmus Student Network  


 

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