Youth Exchange 3.0

Trysil, Norway

17- 25 February 2018



The last youth exchange is focusing on how to tell stories orally, for example through recording podcasts. We will also organise a public event, where we will exhibit and share the exhibition we did in Armenia, share our videos and podcasts and other artwork and materials created during the project. The event will be organised by participants and will provide them with hands-on experience and skills in creating public event. There will also be time for participants to plan follow up activities, both locally and internationally.

Here we put the strongest focus on the following objectives:

-To gain specific artistic skills and competences to express ourselves creatively; (with focus on digital storytelling and podcasts)

-To develop a readiness to act, sense of initiative and entrepreneurial mindset through taking part in organising local activities and public events

-To affirm equality, human rights and democracy as a value of modern society and become equality ambassadors

The podcasts are available to listen.

You can go to its page by clicking the button.


The exchange takes place in Trysil, a small town in the Norwegian countryside. It is located around 3 hours north-east of Oslo, close to the Swedish border. The population of Trysil is around 7000 people and is it around 3000km2. Though Trysil is a small town, it is a touristic place and the biggest skiing resort in northern Europe. During the time of our project it is the winterholiday and full of people. Trysil has schools, kindergardens, shops (incl. bank, pharmacy, a number of foodstores etc.), bars and restaurants.

You can read more about Trysil here: Skistar - Trysil , Visit Norway - Trysil, Wikipedia - Trysil.

DAY 0 - Arrival to snowy Trysil

Smell of snow and trees… We are here, faces we missed so much and new ones that we will surely become friends with. It is a cozy place, peaceful place as you can expect from house in the woods. We were too tired to do something major so we just talked a little and gone to our rooms to relax and sleep . To prepare for second day.

Photos by: Łukasz Rogowski

DAY 1 - Norwegian #ACTLAB has started

We woke up, washed up sleepy faces and prepared for an interesting full of fun day. First day is most fun we were playing game of names. We were exploring new things about each other and even more things about people that we already knew . We draw a lot of funny stuff on each others backs we were thinking about ways how to make it more challenging. Then we must have closed our eyes and find a thread in the room and make a triangle. That was hell of a fun and helped us to get closer to each other for sure .

After that we sat to talk about next week events and topics we must cover. Evening falls unexpectedly fast.

We had great cultural night each of us made their own national dishes and enjoyed other ones ^^ Rest of Night we spent talking to each other and telling stories from second phase until now.

Photos by: Łukasz Rogowski

Photos by: Berta Martirosyan

DAY 2 - Equality & Human Rights education

Our second day in Trysil started with a short walk through the town during which we visited the café where we are going to have the exhibition. We had time to explore the place and take a look at local pieces of art made by kids and teenagers. It was also the time to take a group photo as well as to try how to ride a spark (Norwegian sledges).

Then we had a very interesting discussions about human rights. By hearing a statement we could think if it is a hate speech, xenophobia, homophobia (or other phobia connected to LGBT), sexism, stereotypes/prejudices or a neutral thought. It was very involving and it gave us opportunity to look at some issues from different perspectives.

After the lunch break all the group was divided into two smaller ones and we played a simulation game. Both groups were living on two islands which had different history, cultural background and politics. The population of one of them suffered some natural disasters and they had to move to the other one. It was not easy but both groups had to make some common agreements about their common future together including politics, education, health system, law and others.

The last session was dedicated for getting knowledge and consciousness about democratic competences. We understood more about specific competences connected with values, skills, attitudes, knowledge and critical understanding. Each of us could take some time to reflect on the competences which they would like to especially develop within this phase of the project and also think and write about how can they really do it. Later we spoke about it in pairs to share, exchange some advices and support each other.

This day we also really enjoyed the dinner which was prepared by polish team. There was a lot of traditional food, among others: soup called “Żurek”, salad called “Mizeria” and a baked dish called “Zapiekanka”.

In the evening all national teams presented some local activities which they do in their countries. During this NGO fair we could get a lot of inspiration and start thinking more about some future cooperation.

Photos by: Łukasz Rogowski

DAY 3 - Professional podcasts workshops

In the beginning of the day 3 the local journalist visited us to take photos for a newspaper. Monika Søberg from Lokalavisa, made interview with the Norwegian participants and took photos of the whole group.

At 9:15 we were visited by Peter from Radio Frekvens who became our lecturer for the whole day. We listened to 3 different podcasts and tried to imagine the pictures in our heads. We discovered that the three main details define sound pictures - words,sound,keywords.

Later we divided in groups of 3 and made a plan of what kind of podcast we will do during the day.

Then Peter showed us the basics of taking an interview from a person, and we became aware of types of silence.

Dato and Irakli participated in a small theatrical scene, where the one actor was a journalist and the other was being interviewed.

After the lunch the action time came. We started working in our groups and the deadline helped us to arrange the work in a right way and became a challenge to us. But we all did manage to finish on time. The working day ended with us listening to each others projects and Peter giving us the diplomas. We are superproud of the podcasts that we manage to create in only one day, and Peter was also very impressed by the outcome and the 3 mins podcasts made by each group. A very cool day!

After that we had a traditional Trysil dinner, Jegergryte (moosemeat, mashed potatoes, vegetables and lingonberries), and Multekrem (cloudberry and cream) for dessert, that was super delicious, and having our stomachs full we enjoyed our evenings.

Photos by: Yaman Almahamid

DAY 4 - #ACTLAB Olympic Championship

On day 4 we learnt to give a professional feedback. Sylwia shared HAMBURGER method to comment on our podcasts that we prepared yesterday. All of us were very happy to receive opinions and advises from each other. Afterwards we had some time to edit our old podcasts or create new ones depanding on what we planned.

After first two sessions we were ready to participate in one and only ACTLAB Olympic Championship prepared by our Norwegian and Finnish teams. A great amount of snow, high slopes, games made us extremely happy despite of our red noses and frozen feet.

‘’It was really funny and we had a good time, I am happy to stay alive and not frozen’’ Sophio

‘’It was a nice break from all the activities and nice chance to get out from the house and have a little break from hard working on our podcasts’’ Ola

‘’ The activities outside gave us feeling of being children and enjoying the moments’’ Tomasz

In the end the participants had a nice evening celebrating the Olympic Championship around a table in one of the restaurants of TRYSIL, eating Norwegian Pizza.

Photos by: Arthur Musayelyan

DAY 5 - Preparing the final exhibition

The 5th day of the 3rd #ACTLAB meeting started with breakfastland simulation. The day before participants had given special ID cards and were asked to bring them for the breakfast. When participants arrived, they were asked to show those IDs. Then based on their ID types they were put in different situations. Some of them were obligated to fill visa application first. Some of them were priviliged and could enter in breakfastland without special bureaucracy. Staff's attitude toward "breakfastseekers" was different. When they crossed the border there was three different tables: first for the most privileged groups, second for middle class and the last for the lowest ones.

After the breakfast participants had debriefing.

Photos by: Łukasz Rogowski

During the second session we started with practicalities connected to the coming exhibition. The photos were already printed and they look very good. The owners of the cafe are very kind and they allowed us to prepare even after the place is closed. We started brainstorming about the exhibition. According to the brainstorm ideas we decided to divide into the groups: venue and photos team, decoration team, promoting the event, podcast exhibition preparation, country corner and Erasmus+ corner. The rest of the day was dedicated for the specific work in the mentioned groups. We updated each other how is it after the lunch. Even though some of the teams were ready sooner and others worked till the midnight, it was nice to observe how people decided to help each other and be sure that every work is almost done. All of them made great job.

The day was finished with delicious Armenian dinner and deserved ice-cream.

Photos by: Berta Martirosyan

Photos by: Łukasz Rogowski

DAY 6 - #ACTLAB exhibition's success

The 6th day of the project started with the surprise - everybody received #ACTLAB t-shirt with special design (made by Sohvi Svensk) and the paper badge with a name and small decorations made by decoration team. Then after updating each other what is already done and what is planned to be done, we continued preparation of the exhibition. Responsibilities were divided within six different teams: Venue and Photo Exhibition, Podcast, Decoration, Country Quiz Corner, Promotion, Erasmus+ Youth Programme & NGO Info Corner. Everyone was trying to do their best, help each other and finalize everything before the event started. Decoration team made some origamis, selfie frame made from wood and brunches. Promotion team made 2 different big snowpersons and spread flyers around the city. Everything was ready on time before guests arrived.

Photos by: Łukasz Rogowski

Exhibition has started around 4 p.m. We had several blocks. Photo exhibition from Tsaghkadzor, Armenia. Graffiti panorama from Tbilisi, Georgia. As a result of the 3rd phase participants decided to make Podcasts Cinema, where 9 podcast were presented. There were various topics connected to Human Rights Issues represented in podcast pieces: Women Rights, Children, Mental Health, Inequality, Domestic Violence, War etc. Exhibition will stay in the Vestibiulen Cafe, Trysil for 3 more weeks.

Photos by: Łukasz Rogowski

DAY 7 - Hero’s Journey and planning our future

The last day of the exchange was dedicated for evaluation and reflection about things we have done and process through which we went since #ACTLAB started. During the first session Marit presented the idea of Hero’s Journey - the own way during which every Hero receive the special call for adventure and leave the ordinary world for a while, facing challenges, gaining new skills, achieving goals and successes, changing self and then going back to the ordinary world (which is already a bit different for him). We had some time to reflect on it, then share in pairs our feelings and then with the whole group (for those who felt comfortable with sharing it loudly). Even though our journeys were totally different - some of them started just before this phase, some before coming to Georgia or Armenia, some of others already before the project was written (when the initial idea was born) - all of them made a personal change and strong impact on our personalities.

During the next two sessions it was time to plan our future because even though every Hero want to continue the experience, it is definitely easier for him to have a plan, set cooperation with other Heroes as well as some restrictions and deadlines to follow ;). We started our work in country groups trying to focus on dissemination plan every team can do in their country. Among others there were some ideas about planning local version of the exhibition, writing some reports in our languages and then sharing it through our associations webpages, organising local podcast cinema, plans to record new podcasts etc. We hope some of them will turn into reality soon. After a small break, Kety shared with us two opportunities of receiving fundings - Erasmus+ and European Youth Foundation and then with this new knowledge we started to collect our ideas for future own projects in the mixed groups. The proposals were different - from green ecological projects, through those supporting human and animal rights, to the very artistic ideas of using music, dance or theatre as a tool for creative activism. Among others there were an idea of prolonging #ACTLAB and organising two more phases in the countries which haven’t host us yet - Poland and Finland. After hearing this we really hope to meet again after a while :).

Photos by: Ola Miklasińska

Our working time was finished with the proper evaluation: filling in the written reports, evaluating practicalities on the dedicated posters, moving around the room according to specific questions (near to one wall if we agree and near to the other if we disagree). On the end we sit in a proper circle and everybody shared its feelings with the rest of the group - from very happy words of satisfaction to sad words of people who didn’t want to leave this place. Some of participants were almost crying which was named “emotional roller-coaster”. After this comment everybody was laughing again.

We finished the day with huge Georgian Supra (even though it was super hard to eat everything, we were trying), YouthPass ceremony, secret friend game evaluation and proper goodbye party till the morning, dancing, laughing and sharing a lot of hugs (we heard some rumours about hugging challenge and exchanging almost hundred hugs between some of members). The next day we left Trysil and started our journey back to the ordinary world, full of good Creative Activism Energy and we all really hope to use it in our future work :).

Photos by: Ola Miklasińska

Photos by: Łukasz Rogowski

Obviously #ACTLAB is not over yet!

All the Heroes get back home safely...

And after a few days we have got a small feedback from one young guy from Trysil that saw our photoexhibition. He told that he was so impressed by the quality of the photos and the stories they tell. He said it was an eyeopener and that he for some time had been thinking about visiting Georgia and Armenia, and now he was sure that he wanted to actually do it. He said that it meant a lot to him seeing what we as young people were able to do, and that he got a lot of inspiration from it. He was sure that he wanted to try joining his first project because of this. He said that it was absolutely amazing what we had done!

We really hope it is one among a lot others small changes which #ACTLAB bring to our societies.

With this inspiration and heads full of ideas we are going to plan future projects, future local actions as well as to continue spreading around our communities what we have already done. Stay tuned for more Creative Activism News :).

The podcasts are available to listen.

You can go to its page by clicking the button.

This youth exchange is part of the long term educational project #ACTLAB - Creative Activism Laboratory, which is supported by Erasmus+ and the Norwegian NA Aktiv Ungdom. Applicant organisation is Shokkin Group Norge, hosting organisation for this youth exchange is Shokkin Group Norge, and partners of the project is Armenian Youth League, Youth for Peace and Equality, Olemisen Balanssia ry and Fundacja Instytut Spraw Rodziny.

Thank you very much for reading, listening and watching it!