Solidarity Academy 2018: Borderlands

The borderland is not just a district near the line separating two countries or areas. 

Solidarity Academy: Borderlands

17th – 24th of November 2018

Project supported by the grant from International Visegrad Fund

We can see it also as a metaphor – the idea of borderlands opens us to the widely defined problems of relation, conflicts, interferences etc. and can serve as starting point for discussions about the media and the way of telling stories. The project: ‘Solidarity Academy: Borderlands’ seeks to tackle these issues as its target group are young people (20-30 years old) with a broadly understood connection to the media. They are young journalists, scholars, analysts, writers, and bloggers who believe in intercultural dialogue of the youth as well as the importance of high quality and ethics of the media.

The region of Central-Eastern Europe shares a lot of common things. They are of various backgrounds: historical, cultural, social and political. The countries of the region also face similar challenges and struggle with similar, same or shared problems. Journalists and reporters play extremely important role in these societies. Many of these issues can be observed on the level of small local communities. Those communities resemble the whole societies in a way. Due to shared past, present and future local communities in V4, Balkan and Eastern Partnership countries also face similar problems and could benefit from good practices and implemented solutions. These regions (unlike many others) have been also historically shaped with numerous border changes and conflicts between the nations and ethnic groups. Therefore the case of borderlands is extremely relevant in the region.

During the project we rethought an idea of borderlands together and looked for a deeper and wider understanding of this topic. This concept, however, serves as a pretext to see some problems in a new light and can be used to find new tools for describing reality.

At the workshops and lectures held during the Solidarity Academy (SA), 12 participants had the opportunity to expand their knowledge and improve their skills on such issues as borderlands on both local and global scale. Workshops and tasks that the participants dealt with were both theoretical and practical. The participants had the opportunity to work in a big, international team, in smaller expert groups and individually under the supervision of a trainer. Major part of the SA program was held in Gdansk (6 days). However a small part (2 days) took a form of field trips to Kaliningrad (Russia), Kartuzy (Poland), Szczecin (Poland) and Żuławy (Poland). The candidates were asked to pick a preferable site for a trip. Each group (consisting of 3 participants) went to a different site. There participants had the opportunity to conduct a fieldwork and check some tools and concepts developed during the workshops and their own definitions of the borderlands.