The very first communication event to the AAA stakeholders (public servants in different functions, teachers, trainers, and people in cultural institutions) took place in a time far, far away from now – it was called the “pre-Corona time” – does anybody remember? Well, back then it was possible to make an onsite event, gathering many interested persons and parties in the topic, discussing face-to-face, exchanging during coffee breaks, and even having a drink together after the event. This first Multiplier Event was a kind of test event in order to show our target groups and stakeholders the AAA training materials and get their opinions at an early stage of finalization. Two weeks after this first event Europe was in lockdown and no more events were possible. Meanwhile, we all got used to the online events but anyway our Slovakian Multiplier Event was a premiere for our team – and Alenka Valjašková, AAA project leader at partner QUALED, managed the event perfectly well. This is her summary:
“The Slovakian AAA Multiplier Event took place on the 20th of October 2020 and served primarily to present the results of the project and to discuss them with stakeholders. The Multiplier Event in Slovakia, besides the discussion about project outcomes, focused on non-violent communication, which was a leitmotif for our project training materials. The target group for this event was the pedagogical staff of the University of Žilina and media and press professionals. Several students (the final study year) and pedagogues from other university departments also participated in the event: The Department of Mediamatics and Cultural Heritage, Department of Social Pedagogy, and Department of the Multimedia and Information and Communication Technologies. Twenty people participated in the event.
Our program consisted of a presentation of the training materials and a workshop held by Jana Randa, who has 12 years of experience in lecturing and facilitating. She primarily deals with the conscious work with prejudices, participatory processes in schools, and socio-emotional education. She currently works at the Research Institute of Child Psychology and Patho-Psychology and as a lecturer at the Inclusion Centre. Participants were asked to comment and answer questions in the chatbox or ask a question via this tool or via the “raise a hand” tool. Mrs. Randa used one of our Activities, in which she demonstrated how the person could better understand the scheme of non-violent communication.
We presented our AAA project materials after the workshop session because we thought that participants would need an overview of the basics of non-violent communication first.
We introduced them to the “Catalogue of Prejudices and Arguments”, Guidelines, Activities, and Initiatives collected during the project duration. We showed them how to work on an online platform and how to search for the desired category of Prejudices or Activities.
In the end, a discussion took place. Participants were enthusiastic about the material and considered it very important for their work. One participant was especially grateful that such a project exists. He participated as a teacher, but he is also a media professional – a correspondent for the homosexual QYS magazine, so he encounters hate speech frequently. Another teacher commented that the theme of aggression and appropriate response to it is very relevant – it is the basis for mastering communication in an era full of hate speech. Some participants declared that they would welcome one more iteration of our event and presentation of the project materials, where they would invite their colleagues or students. The usability and easy navigation on the e-platform was positively assessed, too. The mobile app for this project is also regarded as a very useful complementary tool.
At the end of the event, we asked participants to fill a prepared evaluation questionnaire and they answered that they feel better prepared to encounter “hate speech” and that they are satisfied with the developed materials and with the online Multiplier Event. The non-violent communication, as the focal point of the project, was assessed as a useful and feasible approach to the hate on media or face to face. One of the participants commented: “Very nicely crafted lecture and especially apt used examples from practice. Especially useful materials for me as a teacher but also as a person working in the media.”
We feel that the Multiplier Event in Slovakia was a successful online meeting and that the materials from the Arguments Against Aggression project could spread among professionals in public positions.”
(Picture credits: QUALED)