Students of the world learning about Western art and culture.

The students of the “Integration Learning Center” of SolidarityNow in Thessaloniki, which operates under the HELIOS* program, “shed light” on Western art.

Nikolaos Dalampouras, teacher, writes about the initiative that turned

students into teachers.

Cultural lessons

In these lessons, the aim was for the beneficiaries to get acquainted with the Western culture and civilization. This time, we, the Center’s teachers, chose to talk to our students about painting in Western culture, but not unilaterally. We focused on the theme by inviting students to speak and present painters and/or cultural movements from their country of origin.

The preparation included introduction to the vocabulary related to painting and reference to some of the basic cultural movements. The first lesson took place with the participation of students from three classes having as its main objective co-teaching and collaborative spirit.

Renaissance and the Age of Enlightenment

In order to familiarize the students with the subject, we presented them the main cultural movements from the Renaissance and the Age of Enlightenment until today and we talked about important paintings and artists. Then, the students participated enthusiastically in a great discussion regarding the various artistic movements. We ended up discussing about the 9th form of art (comics) and we circulated comics to the class, so that the beneficiaries could read some of them. In the end, the students got excited with the idea of creating a lending library in the Center.

Next goal, the exchange of roles

What we wanted was to motivate the beneficiaries and exchange roles. Thus, we became the audience for which they had to make their own presentations about art. In this direction, the beneficiaries formed groups, each of which dealt with an art form from their country (painting, music, poetry, etc.).

A few weeks later

We all witnessed an educational process with impressive results! The three groups of students made three presentations with photos and videos talking about the art forms they chose and their representatives.

The first presentation was about the famous Iranian painter Mahmoud Farshchian, quoting from his biography and artistic influences.

The second concerned a contemporary Iranian artist (currently unknown / friend of the beneficiary) citing information from her life, but also her connection with various artistic movements that influenced her (in the end, the beneficiary donated two paintings to the Center created for the presentation’s purpose).

The third presentation was about Iranian dances, describing the various multicultural dance groups of the country.

In this way, the beneficiaries became the teachers and interacted with the audience with pride and enthusiasm. In the end, the students expressed their enthusiasm for the whole project and stated that they would like to do something similar again, on various issues that interest them. They may not realize it immediately, but such activities enhance their skills, empower them and contribute to their social integration. 

*SolidarityNow is a key implementing partner of the International Organization for Migration (IOM Greece), in the framework of the HELIOS project which is funded by the Ministry of Migration and Asylum.