Hearing young children on topics of global importance

Webinar with May Lene Karlsen, 27 May 2021, 5 pm (CET). Discussant: Stefania Maggi

About the webinar

Hearing children is of interest to anyone who believes that every voice is important for a society to be whole. It is of interest to those who believe that to neglect, marginalise or systematically overlook a group of people, is to deprive our communities of the qualities that only this particular group can offer. Hearing children is not just a concern for those working directly with and for children, but for all who believes in a society where every voice counts.

The international community, through the United Nations convention for children’s rights, have agreed that every child have a right to be heard and yet we find that few active attempts are being made at engaging and hearing young children on the big issues facing our world today. Why is this?  Do children under the age of 12 have a place in the social discourse on topics such as the pandemic, inequality and racism? Can they contribute to politics and policymaking in meaningful ways? What could systematic attempts at hearing young children on big issues look like? These are some of the questions that will be explored in this webinar, drawing on examples and experiences gained through the Children Heard project.

Children Heard was initiated in March 2020 by a counselling psychologist in the UK and a community psychologist in Norway. Through partnerships with three UNICEF offices in Europe, they gathered the views of 240 children aged 3-12 about their experiences and opinions on the pandemic. The project is currently gathering views on racism through a family-based interview and are experimenting with methods of engaging young children on topics of global importance.

About the presenter

May Lene Karlsen is a counselling and community psychologist. She completed her doctorate in Counselling Psychology at the University of Surrey in 2010 and have since then worked in services for children and families with a particular interest in pre- and primary school aged children. In addition to clinical work, she has worked as an associated and visiting lecturer at several doctoral programmes in the UK, as clinical lead for a children’s charity in London and now as a community psychologist for a local government in Norway. She is a committee member of the Community Psychology Section of the British Psychological Society and an active member of her own local community in Sandefjord, Norway. She co-founded Children Heard in 2020 with Dr. Gail Sinitsky.


About the discussant

Dr. Maggi is an interdisciplinary scholar whose mixed-methods research bring together developmental sciences, population health approaches, participatory methods, statistical modelling, and arts-based approaches. Her work focuses on individual and collective resilience; positive development and emotional intelligence; social, educational and relational determinants of early career development; impacts of climate change on children and families; and enabling factors promoting individual and collective environmental behaviours and action.  Dr. Maggi is also a science fiction author, an entrepreneur, and child rights advocate. She is cross appointed between the Childhood and Youth Studies program and the Department of Psychology at Carleton University.

Avivo opens Avivo Village the nation’s first indoor tiny home community for individuals experiencing homelessness

Avivo Village, an indoor community of 100 secure, private dwellings or “tiny houses” created to provide shelter to individuals experiencing unsheltered homelessness, opened in Minneapolis’ North Loop Neighborhood on March 8, 2021. Avivo Village was created as a COVID-era means to shelter individuals in a socially distant, dignified way. Residents will have access to Avivo’s unique combination of recovery services, mental health services, and career education and employment services.

In December, a preliminary opening of Avivo Village provided indoor housing for 16 initial residents — many of whom have since found housing while working with Avivo’s housing case managers. As of April 16, nearly 70 residents were housed in Avivo Village’s tiny home community.

Picture retrieved from Freethink

One major inequity in Minnesota’s homeless community is a disproportionate number of Native Americans experiencing homelessness compared to Minnesota’s population as a whole (11% in 2019 of surveyed homeless via hmismn.org compared to 1.4% of MN population via Census.gov in 2019). Avivo Village was created in partnership with the city of Minneapolis, Hennepin County, and the state of Minnesota – but also with a strong partnership between Avivo and the White Earth Nation and the Red Lake Nation, to ensure a welcoming community.

Story submitted by Aaron Shaffer, United States of America

More info here or at aaron.shaffer@avivomn.org

How the COVID-19 pandemic provides an opportunity to rethink desinstitutionalization in Europe

Webinar with José Ornelas, April 29, 2021

About the webinar

Deinstitutionalization is a theory transformed into a social movement after the II World War, focused on the transition of all individuals who were in institutions to community contexts, contributing to diversity within the social realm. With the emergence of Civic and Human Rights Movements, deinstitutionalization became a priority including people with mental illness, people with disabilities, children, youth, and elders.

Nevertheless, evidence demonstrates that the majority of people were involved in a continuum of services of transinstitutionalization from large scale segregated wards to smaller segregated housing, employment and schooling programs in the community. From the self representation movement, and experiential leadership of consumers/ survivors, emerged a new wave of services and programs (e.g. independent housing, employment and education in regular markets and and schools) still not fully generalized in Europe. 

The pandemic contingency brought awareness on the extension and volume of  institutionalized people, particularly the more recent massive segregation of elders, while the psychiatric wards, and the large group homes for the disabled people, and for children & youth were mostly maintained. In these contexts countless COVID 19 surges emerged, providing a renovated awareness about the urgency of reclaiming deinstitutionalization as a Human Right. We are now prepared with tools for community research and practice to provide a direct response to deinstitutionalization and social integration through housing with the Housing First Model, with employment and education programs through ecological and collaborative integration in the social and community regular contexts.

About the presenter

Prof. Ornelas is a Clinical and Community Psychologist, specialized in community intervention and integration of people in extremely vulnerable situations. Completed his first doctoral degree in the Boston University (USA) – 1979-1984; and a second doctoral degree in the University of Oporto (1999). He completed his aggregation in the University of the Azores (2009). 

From 2016 to 2019 Ornelas was the principal investigator of the Horizon 2020 HOME_EU Reversing Homelessness in Europe, GA/726997, and is currently the coordinator of the EEAGRANTS Project (OC4-B11 | ISPA) PEER NETWORK: Gender Violence and Empowerment. He is the scientific adviser of a community-based program on the promotion of educational achievement in 5 Portuguese national counties, in parallel with teaching and research supervision of Master’s and Doctoral thesis on Psychology.

The Rise and Fall and Rise of the Chorlton Community Arts Festival‘ in Manchester/UK

A dialogic webinar with Carolyn Kagan, Monday April 12 7PM

The ‘New Bank for Community Ideas and Solutions – NBCIS‘ – a global initiative to support creative community building in times of crises – is proud to present it´s first Dialogical Webinar on Monday, April 12, 7 pm CEST.
The idea of ’NBCIS Dialogical Webinars’ is to be inspired and learn from creative and surprising ideas and solutions for community building in times of crises. we learn directly from authors of stories about their background and ’the making of…’ 

In our first Dialogical Webinar we will focus on “The Rise and Fall and Rise of the Chorlton Community Arts Festival” in Manchester/UK. The Festival is a unique way how to build community adressing and being inspired by the wealth of creativity within a community. Carolyn Kagan, community psychologist and chair of the festival, and Peter Topping, director of the Arts Festival will present their story and will be open for dialogue.
Join us on Monday, April 12 at 7pm CEST by registering at https://www.eventbrite.de/e/the-rise-fall-and-rise-of-the-chorlton-community-arts-festival-tickets-148513691449.

The Rise, Fall and Rise of the Chorlton Community Arts Festival

A New ‘Temple’ for Community – Contemplating in Nature and among Modern Art (Stoa169)

You walk a lovely agricultural Bavarian landscape close by a small river. A bend on the trail opens a new sight, and there you see a hall of art in the middle of nature. On a part of an agricultural meadow near the village of Polling, on the banks of the river Ammer, in the middle of Pfaffenwinkel, an open columned hall is being built: the STOA169. More than 100 artists from all continents were selected to design one column each, which together, as an archive of today’s art, would carry the common roof of the STOA169.

Picture sent by Wolfgang Stark

STOA169 reminds not only on meditative buildings in Indian temples or on the buildings of the ancient Greek philosophy of ‘Stoicism’. It is a modern community building architecture in which people of all ages, background, colors can come together. The open hall and more than 100 columns individually designed by well-known artists represent the state of modern art from all continents. simultaneously it reflects our heritage as human beings, our past, present and future challenges as a planetary community.

Does an open hall for art as part of the nature (no walls, no fees, no rules) create community today? It invites individuals, families, young and old to come together and be inspired – connects people who have never met before. Many discover new perspectives by wandering between the columns: for some it is a place for peace like a temple, for others a ‘bonbonierre’ of surprises. Kids just love to run around, hide between or climb the columns. The majority of visitors leaves with shiny eyes and a smile on their face. That is how you create community.

Story shared by Wolfgang Stark, Germany

More info here at wolfgang.stark@stw.de

ECPA Awards

2021 call for nominations is now closed.

The European Community Psychology Association (ECPA) confers awards in the four different categories:

  1. The ECPA Lifetime Career Award: The Award is to honour individuals with outstanding, long-term scientific contribution to Community Psychology theory, research, and practice.
  2. The ECPA Young Career Award: This award will recognize individuals for their notable contributions to the field of community psychology and who are within eight years of the award of their Ph.D.
  3. The ECPA Best Doctoral Thesis Award: This Award is to identify the best doctoral thesis on a topic relevant to the field of community psychology completed between January 2018 to December 2020.
  4. The ECPA Contribution to Practice Award: The Award is presented to honour individuals who are making a significant contribution to the field of Community Psychology (e. g., have developed intervention projects in local or virtual communities, which produced a significant impact in the communities).

Procedure rules

  • The prizes are awarded biennially.
  • Nominations and self-nominations are both accepted.
  • Each application should include a 1-2 pages letter describing the nominee’s work and why they are worthy of recognition, as well as the proposer (when applicable) and nominee’s personal data (names, address, and e-mails).
  • Nominations should be sent as e-mail attachments to the ECPA BOARD (at ecpa.psychassociation@gmail.com) by April 30, 2021; notifications are made in May.
  • We strongly recommend submitting supporting documents, including published papers, books chapters and/or other relevant outputs.
  • For the ECPA Doctoral Thesis Award, please submit a document (max. 5,000 words) summarising the main sections (i.e., state of the art, methodology, results and conclusions), including a summary of the thesis (~300 words) and a brief presentation of the doctoral student (~200 words).
  • Each award is accompanied by the Award Certificate and announcement of the award on the ECPA website.  More benefits for the winners include: free membership for 1 year; free registration for the ECPA conference; public announcement of the nomination at the ECPA conference. 
  • The prizes will be awarded by a Committee, which will include one person from the ECPA Board and at least two invited external experts.

Fostering children playing freely outdoors – towards a post-pandemic vision

One of many consequences of the lockdown in UK is that children are not allowed to meet and play out with their friends at their defined but closed playgrounds. In some cities in UK this situation led to creative and ‚anarchic’ responses, where residents took control of their streets, transforming parking spaces and public roads into attractive playgrounds for children in the neighbourhood.

Picture by John Sturrock

Beyond those activities, the main issue addresses the impact of erosion of everyday freedoms of children in their play, restricted and controlled also in times of non-pandemic. “Is it right that we’re packing our kids into small spaces and letting cars all over our streets? The pandemic has allowed these conversations to be had, which otherwise might be seen to be too radical.”, the author is citing a parent governer and public health researcher in London.

For me these community activities are in the first line a remarkable example of empowerment in action. But rethinking what we take for granted seems even more important. A crucial first step is a shift in attitude as to the current model of ownership of public space.

Story shared by Monika Bobzien, Germany.

Read more about the story here or contact at monika.bobzien@arcormail.de

Greyton Transition Town, South Africa

Greyton Transition Town (GTT) is the first official transition group in Africa. It was initiated in 2012. A significant focus of their work is on environmental and humane education in local schools. Their activities include transformation a municipal dumpster into a green park and planting 500 trees and planting an outdoor classroom using Ecobrick; learning about permaculture and creating organic food gardens in all six local schools; setting among swap shops where parents and children bring clean and dry recycle wastes in exchange for vouchers; setting up a trial hummane educational program aimed at inspiring empathy in children, etc.

Picture retrieved from Transition Network

Greening of the environment by planting trees in a former dumpster, creative use of non-recyclable materials(making them into Ecobricks for an outdoor classroom), creative ways to encourage the collection of recyclable wastes by children and their parents(by exchanging them with vouchers), the use of organic wastes to plant and provide organic food in the local schools, among other outcomes.

Here is an example of using waste to green the environment, provide organic food, and even building materials. Here is also an example of creatively engaging students and parents in environmental preservation/community building by creating mutual benefits, e.g., the voucher card swaps.

Story shared by Margaret Sergon, USA.

More info here

Rainwater Harvesting in São Paulo, Brazil

Residents of San Paulo, Brazil, experience a chronic water crisis. Because of this, residents of Brasilandia, who have no storage tanks, decided to build their own storage systems. Unfortunately, what was build did not filter the water and did not close tightly causing residents to be seriously ill by using the harvested water. Luckily, Isabela de Menezes of Transition Granja Viana proposed a safer solution. She organized worships that taught residents to make water systems that filtered and stored water directly from the roof. The first two workshops in 2014 were conducted by professor Urbano in Granja Viana and Brasilandia.

Residents learned to build water systems that filtered and stored water. Residents had enough water for household use and watering vegetables.

This is an example of a sustainable solution to a community problem. The solution, given as a skill, made it possible for replication- one neighbor teaching another neighbor.

Story shared by Margaret Sergon, USA.

More info here