15 participants between 21 and 50 years old took part in the first intensive course of the Erasmus+ funded project SciCultureD. A 5-day immersive, co-creative learning experience in Athens with facilitators and experts from Greece, Malta, Norway, England and Germany, partly physically present, partly hybridly connected. The focus was on exploring innovative educational models for sustainable development in Greece and beyond.
Monday morning started with a creative paper snowball throwing session to get to know each other. This was followed by an introduction on the Design Thinking process, which provided the broad framework for the week’s creative process. For inspiration aswell as an introduction to the topic of sustainable education, all participants and facilitators went on a field trip to the “open school” Ellinogermaniki Agogi Educational Institution. The school’s concept is a project-based approach along with a large team of R&D (“Research and Development”) staff active in about 40 EU funded projects. Afterwards, the expedition took us to the Ellinkon project, a large-scale construction project on the site of the former Athens International Airport. However, the concept of this large-scale project was discussed very critically within the group.
Tuesday was the first day of group work in the so-called “Home Groups”, in which the participants were divided to find solutions in the field of education for sustainable development. It started with an input on stakeholder engagement and an interactive role play. In the afternoon there was another inspiring lecture on “Posthumanism”. Both days were dedicated to “discovering” within the “Double Diamond Design Thinking Process”.
Wednesday morning started with a “Science and Movement” session. For once there was no verbal discussion, or at least hardly any, but the session was mainly about movements of the body. In the afternoon we went on an excursion over the whole hotel area – at least as far as the wifi of the hotel reached, in order to look for possible places for the presentations on Friday. After the “Double Diamond had opened up on the first two days, the afternoon was all about narrowing down the specific “problem” that the individual groups wanted to work on within the further Design Thinking process. For this definition, we offered a Maker Workshop, in which participants first built models individually and then combined them into shared visions of what education could look like on the way to a green transformation. Here are some impressions:
After the groups developed their vision and thus defined their concrete “problem” in more detail, the “Double Diamond” opened up into the development process. It started with collecting sounds and developing a soundscape of what the future could sound like. The last input with which the groups were then “released” into their work phases until the presentation session on Friday was an introduction to the Business Model Canvas, which could help to further concretize the developed solution approach or project idea.
Observing the different “home groups”, it was easy to recognize different group dynamics as well as different ways of working. While some were immersed in research and working quietly, others were engaged in a theatrical dress rehearsal. One group diligently prepared materials with paper for their presentation and the fourth group used the numerous water bottles on the tables in the conference room for joint brainstorming. The result was four different presentations, whose unifying feature was that they all took up the creative methods of the previous days and included them. Moreover, it was remarkable that all of them brought the whole group in their presentations in a participatory way. Euphoric and inspired, we all went to a final dinner in a Greek restaurant before everyone started their way home again the next day.