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CULTURAL PROGRAM

Purpose of the guide

Cultural exchange is a tool for promoting understanding, empathy, and appreciation for diverse perspectives. This Cultural Event Guide aims to provide a complete overview for organizing memorable cultural events that celebrate heritage, traditions, and many more. a

How to use this guide

This guide is designed to be user-friendly and adaptable to various cultural event initiatives. Follow these steps to make the most out of this guide:

  • Familiarize yourself with the structure and contents of each section.
  • Customize the templates and methodologies provided based on the specific goals and preferences of your cultural event.
  • Utilize the checklist at the end of this guide to ensure that all necessary steps are taken before, during, and after the event.
 

Target audience

This guide is for:

  • Organizers: Individuals or groups responsible for planning and coordinating cultural events, including educators, youth leaders etc.
  • Participants: Those interested in learning how to organize or contribute to cultural events.

Whispers of the Past

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Whispers of the Past

The project is supported by the Estonian NA through the Erasmus + program! ❤

This project has been funded with support from the European Commission Erasmus+ programme. 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.

Definition

Cultural events, within the Erasmus+ context, are usually structured evenings organized by participants to highlight the cultural heritage, traditions, and customs of their nations. These evenings provide a platform for cultural exchange, mutual learning, and appreciation among participants from diverse backgrounds. 

Purpose

The primary purposes of cultural events within Erasmus+ programs are to:

 

    • Facilitate cross-cultural understanding and appreciation among participants.
    • Strengthen bonds of friendship and cooperation between participants from different countries.
    • Promote intercultural dialogue and collaboration.
    • Raise awareness about (the) cultural diversity (within the European community?) .
    • Encourage active participation and engagement in cultural activities.

Importance

Cultural exchange is a fundamental component of Erasmus+ programs, promoting personal development, intercultural understanding, and the feeling of European citizenship among participants. Through cultural events, participants have the opportunity to:

 

  • Share their unique cultural identities, traditions, and values with others.
  • Gain insights into the cultural heritage and practices of participants from different countries.
  • Challenge stereotypes and prejudices through firsthand experiences and interactions.
  • Foster empathy, tolerance, and respect for diversity.
  • Strengthen international cooperation and solidarity among young people.

Importance of teamwork

  • Collaborative effort: Cultural evenings are collaborative efforts that require the collective input and coordination of participants, organizers, and/ or facilitators.
  • Diverse perspectives: By working together as a team, participants can draw upon their diverse perspectives, skills, and experiences to create a more comprehensive and inclusive cultural program.
  • Shared responsibility: Teamwork promotes a sense of shared responsibility and ownership over the cultural evening, encouraging active participation and engagement from all involved.
  • Strengthening bonds: Collaborating on organizing cultural events provides opportunities for participants to build relationshipstrust, and team spirit, improving the overall experience of the Erasmus+ program.
  • Personal Development: Provide opportunities for team members to develop new skills relevant to event planning, leadership, communication, and cultural awareness and they  learn to reflect on their experiences, strengths, and areas for growth throughout the process.

Tips for planning

  • Establish clear roles: Give specific roles and responsibilities to each team member based on their strengths and interests. Clarify expectations and make sure everyone understands their contribution. (e.g. assign each team member an activity that they will be in charge of, they will have to brainstorm ideas, think about the structure of the activity and collect the materials needed)
  • Create a timeline: Make a detailed timeline that summarizes deadlines, and tasks leading up to the cultural evening. Give enough time for planning and preparation.
  • Check-ins: Schedule regular check-in meetings to review progress, address any challenges or concerns, and make sure that you are all working towards common goals (check below for an example).
  • Safety and risk management: Prioritize safety. Identifying potential risks and implementing measures to minimize them. Be aware of emergency protocols and make sure all team members are aware of safety procedures during the event.
  • Flexibility and adaptability: Remain flexible and adaptable to changes or unforeseen problems that may come up during the process. Have alternative plans in case of emergency to overcome risks and obstacles. (e.g. At the last minute you are not able to collect all the materials needed for an activity, you  should beforehand have prepared an additional activity that might only need paper and pen to execute.)
  • Celebrate achievements: Recognize and celebrate the hard work and dedication of team members to promote motivation and deeper connections within the team. (e.g. commend/ congratulate individuals or groups who made significant contributions to the evening).

Example of a timeline

 

    1. First online meeting : 1st of January
      1. Get to know each other .
      2. Conceive the idea about the national cultural evening .
      3. Divide responsibilities and tasks.
    2.  Check-in : 8th of January
      1. Review progress of each task.
      2. Address any concerns or questions.
      3. Set a deadline for when the tasks should be finished (15th of January).
    3. Final check-in : 17th of January (one day before the cultural evening )
      1. Check if everyone is ready and feels confident for what is assigned to them.
      2. Make sure that you have all the materials you need, if not ask the organizers for a market trip .
      3. Test all the technical aspects of your cultural evening (e.g. is the projector working? Can you connect your phone  to the bluetooth speaker? etc.).
      4. Do a rehearsal with your team of how the cultural evening will develop.

Preparation on spot

  • Materials ready beforehand: Ensure that all necessary materials, such as props, presentations and other equipment, are prepared and organized beforehand. Double-check that they are readily accessible and in good working condition.
  • Setting up technical stuff: Test all technical equipment, including projectors, microphones, and sound systems, etc.,  to ensure they are functioning correctly.
  • Asking for help from organizers: Don’t hesitate to ask for assistance from organizers if needed. Delegate tasks such as setting up equipment, arranging seating, or anything else needed to ensure everything runs smoothly.
  • Space arrangement: Make sure that seating arrangements are appropriate, lighting is good, and the venue layout is suitable to the planned activities. (e.g. If you planned to have five groups of 4 people participating in your activity, and you need them seated then you should prepare beforehand  the chairs grouped and evenly distributed at the space=
  • Last recap : Don’t forget the importance of doing a last minute overview of what you have  planned for the cultural evening. Remind your team members what their roles are and make sure there are no concerns or questions.

Tips for facilitation

 

  • Clear communication: Ensure that all participants understand the process of the cultural evening you prepared . Clearly communicate the schedule, objectives, and expectations beforehand, if needed.

 

  • Inclusive approach: Promote an inclusive and welcoming environment where all participants feel valued and respected. (e.g. Encourage active participation from everyone, try to include the more introvert people by asking them questions for example)

 

  • Adaptability: Be flexible and adaptable to unexpected changes or challenges that may arise during the evening. Have your alternative plans ready to be executed. (e.g. You had a presentation prepared with a trivia game and now the projector is not working. You can still make this activity happen by reading out loud the questions from a paper for example)

Time management strategies

  • Detailed schedule: Develop a detailed schedule for the cultural evening, outlining the timing for each activity, presentation, or performance. Share the schedule with your team members in advance to make sure that everyone is aware of the timeline and they will try to be on track.
  • Divide time: Make enough time for each part of the cultural evening, taking into account the number of participants, the complexity of activities, and any potential delays (e.g. needing to repeat instructions twice, or for possible hustle between the activities) .
  • Keep it moving/rolling: Keep the event moving at a steady pace to maintain participants’ engagement. Avoid big breaks or periods of inactivity.
  • Flexibility: While it’s good to stick to the schedule as much as possible, be prepared to adjust timings if necessary. Allow for spontaneity and interactions to happen if you see the participants having fun.

Example of a detailed schedule

  1. Welcoming the participants, small introduction for the cultural evening – 10min
  2. Traditional song performance – 10min
  3. Proverbs and Idioms Quiz – 20 min
  4. Another activity that I can’t think of right now – 20min
  5. Traditional dances demonstration – 30 min
  6. Thanking the participants, outro – 5 min

 

Considering some potential delays of 25min we have a duration of cultural evening at 2 hours total

One stage presentation

The idea

A cultural evening featuring a series of interactive workshops where participants can engage in hands-on experiences. These workshops could focus on traditional crafts, symbols, or other skills from a nation’s culture.

How it works

The team collaborates to design and deliver a cohesive main stage presentation that highlights different aspects of their culture. This may involve performances of traditional music or dance, storytelling sessions, comedy or theater, interactive presentations showcasing cultural landmarks or traditions, or demonstrations of traditional crafts or rituals and/ or games.

Key steps

  • Decide on a structure : Choose a central theme or narrative that will guide the content and structure of the presentation
  • Preparation: Gather all materials and prepare everything needed for the selected activities. Ensure that everything is ready before the event begins.
  • Assign roles: Give specific roles and responsibilities to your team members based on their strengths and interests. This may include performers, storytellers, technical support, and facilitators.
  • The idea

    A cultural evening where participants move through different stations, each representing a unique aspect of the culture. Each station could involve a game, demonstration, or interactive experience.

    Example

    Example

    Station 1: Proverbs and Idioms

    In this station your team members write on paper a literal translation in English of 10 proverbs and idioms from your country and in another paper you write the explanation/use of them in English. Participants will have to much them correctly to get all the points

     

    Station 2: Geography Now

    In this station the team members draw the outline of your nation’s map. Add small dots to significant places/ cities without adding the name. Draw separately or print pictures of each city that you pinned on the map and write the name on the back of the picture. Participants now have to take a look at the picture and guess which one of the pins is the picture that they are holding in their hands. If they are struggling they can have a hint by answering correctly to a trivia question about the country

     

    Station 3: Culinary Challenge

    In this station the team members have to choose an iconic national food/drink – easy to make (e.g. tzatziki, sangria) you will display in the station all the materials needed to make the dish plus some unnecessary ones along with spoons, forks, bowls etc and participants will have to recreate the iconic dish as close to the original as possible trying to include only the correct ingredients in the correct amount. While they are making it you can share some insights about the nation’s cuisine and when the specific dish that they are making is used .

     

    Station 4: History Class

    In this station the team members need to prepare cards with various historical events from your country (e.g. Baltic Chain) but also from the world (e.g. WW2). Participants have to put them in the correct order to collect the points.

     

    Station 5: Traditional Dances

    In this station the team members pick one dance that you will demonstrate in front of the participants. You will show the steps one or two times without and with music and the participants have to redo what you show them as good as they can to collect the points.

     

    Station 6: Traditions and Celebration

    In this station the team members pick significant/ unique celebrations/ traditions that your nation has. Find original videos of how they are being celebrated. Show the participants the video and give them 4 possible answers, the participants have to guess which celebration is the one that you are showcasing. After each example make sure to share some insights about each one of them.

    How it works

    Set up stations in different areas around the venue, where possible. Participants, divided into mixed groups, rotate through each station. The entire rotation should not exceed 2 and a half hours.

    Key steps

    Number of stations: Determine the number of stations based on the available team members and/or the number of participants. Ideally, aim for no more than 5 participants per group. For example, if your team consists of 6 people, you’ll have 6 stations.

    Choose activities: Brainstorm with the team to decide on activities for each station. Choose activities that best represent different aspects of the culture and are engaging for participants.

    Prepare the activities: Gather all materials and prepare everything needed for the selected activities. Ensure that each station is set up and ready to go before the event begins.

    Assign roles: Assign one station to each team member. Their role is to serve as the presenter and facilitator of their assigned activity. They will remain at their station throughout the entire rotation.

    Pros

    • Encourages active participation and engagement from every participant
    • Provides a fun, diverse and very interactive cultural experience
    • Participants move through the stations in mixed groups, fostering collaboration, communication, and teamwork
    • This format is flexible and customizable, allowing the organizing team to adapt the event based on available resources, venue, interests, cultural themes and participants. 

    Cons

    • Setting up multiple stations and coordinating their activities simultaneously can be logistically challenging
    • Depending on the size of the venue, there may be limitations on the number of stations that can be set up and the amount of space available for each activity.
    • Managing the duration of each rotation and making sure that participants have enough time to experience all stations within the allotted time frame and that there are no unnecessary delays, can be challenging.

    The idea

    A cultural evening featuring a series of interactive workshops where participants can engage in hands-on experiences. These workshops could focus on traditional crafts, symbols, or other skills from a nation’s culture.

    How it works

    Participants are taking part in workshops that may include activities such as crafting traditional artifacts, learning cultural dances or songs, cooking traditional dishes, or exploring cultural symbols and meanings. Facilitators lead each workshop, providing guidance, instruction, and cultural context to participants. It can be done so that all participants are participating together, individually or in smaller groups. 

    Key steps

    • Workshop Selection: Brainstorm a range of workshop topics that reflect the diversity of cultures represented by participants. Make sure workshops offer hands-on activities and interactive learning experiences.
    • Preparation: Gather all materials and prepare everything needed for the selected activities. Ensure that everything is ready to facilitate the workshop before the event begins.
    • Assign roles: Give specific roles and responsibilities to your team members based on their strengths and interests. This may include performers, storytellers, technical support, and facilitators.

    Pros

    -Interactive workshops offer participants the opportunity to actively engage with cultural traditions and skills, hands-on learning

    -Workshops provide practical skills and knowledge that participants can apply and share beyond the cultural evening event

    -Interactive activities enhance participant engagement and enjoyment

    Cons

    -Providing materials and equipment for hands-on activities may add additional costs and logistical challenges.

    -Participants may feel rushed or overwhelmed if workshop sessions are too short and they need more time to complete it, time limitation

    -Interactive workshops offer participants the opportunity to actively engage with cultural traditions and skills, hands-on learning

    -Workshops provide practical skills and knowledge that participants can apply and share beyond the cultural evening event

    -Interactive activities enhance participant engagement and enjoyment

    -Interactive workshops offer participants the opportunity to actively engage with cultural traditions and skills, hands-on learning

    -Workshops provide practical skills and knowledge that participants can apply and share beyond the cultural evening event

    -Interactive activities enhance participant engagement and enjoyment

    One stage presentation

    The idea

    A cultural evening featuring a series of interactive workshops where participants can engage in hands-on experiences. These workshops could focus on traditional crafts, symbols, or other skills from a nation’s culture.

    How it works

    The team collaborates to design and deliver a cohesive main stage presentation that highlights different aspects of their culture. This may involve performances of traditional music or dance, storytelling sessions, comedy or theater, interactive presentations showcasing cultural landmarks or traditions, or demonstrations of traditional crafts or rituals and/ or games.

    Key steps

  • Decide on a structure : Choose a central theme or narrative that will guide the content and structure of the presentation
  • Preparation: Gather all materials and prepare everything needed for the selected activities. Ensure that everything is ready before the event begins.
  • Assign roles: Give specific roles and responsibilities to your team members based on their strengths and interests. This may include performers, storytellers, technical support, and facilitators.
  • The idea

    A cultural evening where participants move through different stations, each representing a unique aspect of the culture. Each station could involve a game, demonstration, or interactive experience.

    Example

    Example

    Station 1: Proverbs and Idioms

    In this station your team members write on paper a literal translation in English of 10 proverbs and idioms from your country and in another paper you write the explanation/use of them in English. Participants will have to much them correctly to get all the points

     

    Station 2: Geography Now

    In this station the team members draw the outline of your nation’s map. Add small dots to significant places/ cities without adding the name. Draw separately or print pictures of each city that you pinned on the map and write the name on the back of the picture. Participants now have to take a look at the picture and guess which one of the pins is the picture that they are holding in their hands. If they are struggling they can have a hint by answering correctly to a trivia question about the country

     

    Station 3: Culinary Challenge

    In this station the team members have to choose an iconic national food/drink – easy to make (e.g. tzatziki, sangria) you will display in the station all the materials needed to make the dish plus some unnecessary ones along with spoons, forks, bowls etc and participants will have to recreate the iconic dish as close to the original as possible trying to include only the correct ingredients in the correct amount. While they are making it you can share some insights about the nation’s cuisine and when the specific dish that they are making is used .

     

    Station 4: History Class

    In this station the team members need to prepare cards with various historical events from your country (e.g. Baltic Chain) but also from the world (e.g. WW2). Participants have to put them in the correct order to collect the points.

     

    Station 5: Traditional Dances

    In this station the team members pick one dance that you will demonstrate in front of the participants. You will show the steps one or two times without and with music and the participants have to redo what you show them as good as they can to collect the points.

     

    Station 6: Traditions and Celebration

    In this station the team members pick significant/ unique celebrations/ traditions that your nation has. Find original videos of how they are being celebrated. Show the participants the video and give them 4 possible answers, the participants have to guess which celebration is the one that you are showcasing. After each example make sure to share some insights about each one of them.

    How it works

    Set up stations in different areas around the venue, where possible. Participants, divided into mixed groups, rotate through each station. The entire rotation should not exceed 2 and a half hours.

    Key steps

    Number of stations: Determine the number of stations based on the available team members and/or the number of participants. Ideally, aim for no more than 5 participants per group. For example, if your team consists of 6 people, you’ll have 6 stations.

    Choose activities: Brainstorm with the team to decide on activities for each station. Choose activities that best represent different aspects of the culture and are engaging for participants.

    Prepare the activities: Gather all materials and prepare everything needed for the selected activities. Ensure that each station is set up and ready to go before the event begins.

    Assign roles: Assign one station to each team member. Their role is to serve as the presenter and facilitator of their assigned activity. They will remain at their station throughout the entire rotation.

    Pros

    • Encourages active participation and engagement from every participant
    • Provides a fun, diverse and very interactive cultural experience
    • Participants move through the stations in mixed groups, fostering collaboration, communication, and teamwork
    • This format is flexible and customizable, allowing the organizing team to adapt the event based on available resources, venue, interests, cultural themes and participants. 

    Cons

    • Setting up multiple stations and coordinating their activities simultaneously can be logistically challenging
    • Depending on the size of the venue, there may be limitations on the number of stations that can be set up and the amount of space available for each activity.
    • Managing the duration of each rotation and making sure that participants have enough time to experience all stations within the allotted time frame and that there are no unnecessary delays, can be challenging.

    The idea

    A cultural evening featuring a series of interactive workshops where participants can engage in hands-on experiences. These workshops could focus on traditional crafts, symbols, or other skills from a nation’s culture.

    How it works

    Participants are taking part in workshops that may include activities such as crafting traditional artifacts, learning cultural dances or songs, cooking traditional dishes, or exploring cultural symbols and meanings. Facilitators lead each workshop, providing guidance, instruction, and cultural context to participants. It can be done so that all participants are participating together, individually or in smaller groups. 

    Key steps

    • Workshop Selection: Brainstorm a range of workshop topics that reflect the diversity of cultures represented by participants. Make sure workshops offer hands-on activities and interactive learning experiences.
    • Preparation: Gather all materials and prepare everything needed for the selected activities. Ensure that everything is ready to facilitate the workshop before the event begins.
    • Assign roles: Give specific roles and responsibilities to your team members based on their strengths and interests. This may include performers, storytellers, technical support, and facilitators.

    Pros

    -Interactive workshops offer participants the opportunity to actively engage with cultural traditions and skills, hands-on learning

    -Workshops provide practical skills and knowledge that participants can apply and share beyond the cultural evening event

    -Interactive activities enhance participant engagement and enjoyment

    Cons

    -Providing materials and equipment for hands-on activities may add additional costs and logistical challenges.

    -Participants may feel rushed or overwhelmed if workshop sessions are too short and they need more time to complete it, time limitation

    -Interactive workshops offer participants the opportunity to actively engage with cultural traditions and skills, hands-on learning

    -Workshops provide practical skills and knowledge that participants can apply and share beyond the cultural evening event

    -Interactive activities enhance participant engagement and enjoyment

    -Interactive workshops offer participants the opportunity to actively engage with cultural traditions and skills, hands-on learning

    -Workshops provide practical skills and knowledge that participants can apply and share beyond the cultural evening event

    -Interactive activities enhance participant engagement and enjoyment

    Interactive Workshops

    The idea

    A cultural evening featuring a series of interactive workshops where participants can engage in hands-on experiences. These workshops could focus on traditional crafts, symbols, or other skills from a nation’s culture. 

     

    How it works

    Participants are taking part in workshops that may include activities such as crafting traditional artifacts, learning cultural dances or songs, cooking traditional dishes, or exploring cultural symbols and meanings. Facilitators lead each workshop, providing guidance, instruction, and cultural context to participants. It can be done so that all participants are participating together, individually or in smaller groups. 

    Key steps

    • Workshop Selection: Brainstorm a range of workshop topics that reflect the diversity of cultures represented by participants. Make sure workshops offer hands-on activities and interactive learning experiences.
    • Preparation: Gather all materials and prepare everything needed for the selected activities. Ensure that everything is ready to facilitate the workshop before the event begins.
    • Assign roles: Give specific roles and responsibilities to your team members based on their strengths and interests. This may include performers, storytellers, technical support, and facilitators.
     

    Pros

    -Interactive workshops offer participants the opportunity to actively engage with cultural traditions and skills, hands-on learning

    -Workshops provide practical skills and knowledge that participants can apply and share beyond the cultural evening event

    -Interactive activities enhance participant engagement and enjoyment

     

    Cons

    -Providing materials and equipment for hands-on activities may add additional costs and logistical challenges.

    -Participants may feel rushed or overwhelmed if workshop sessions are too short and they need more time to complete it, time limitation 

     

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