Improving lifeskills through video-making: the LST sessions with Roma and Sinti youngsters in Venice.

From November 2012 to January 2013 the local SRAP project’s staff carried out 14 total sessions of lifeskills training with Roma and Sinti youngsters living inside the municipality of Venice: 7 sessions with Sinti from Favaro Veneto and 7 sessions with Roma from Chirignago. The LST sessions were part of  SRAP WP5 and were focused on lifeskills’ enhancement (according to Richard Ives’ manual). The workshop involved a total number of 14 youngsters aged from 11 to 17.

These sessions gave the chance to Roma and Sinti to use audiovisual tools to promote and stimulate self-narration and the development of lifeskills (self-esteem, self-determination, creativity, cooperation, critical thinking, listening). The local staff planned the LST sessions keeping in mind the improvement of the above-mentioned lifeskills as main purpose and promoting, at the same time, the use of a methodology that is “familiar” and attractive for participants.

Starting from the experience with young Roma and Sinti, the social worker of Venice Municipality and GEA Cooperative decided to use video-making as way to create a self-narration through the use of video-cameras (each participants at the beginning received a video camera as “gift”). For that reason, the association Sottobosco was involved with its video-making professionals (Nicola Nunziata, Simona Vitagliano, Pasquale Nunziata, Eugenia Delfini). They carried out the sessions together with local social workers (Filippo Bernardi – Municipality of Venice and Davide Carnemolla and Laura Tegon – GEA Cooperative) with the coordination of Giuseppe Menegazzo (Municipality of Venice).

The workshops gave youngsters the possibility to use video cameras during the sessions in order to learn or to improve the basic skills about video-making and photo-making. During the sessions the participants did some individual and group activities. The methodological approach followed is called “video-voice” which has, as aim, the self-expression through the use of audiovisual tools.

Through the use of video-making and photo-making, the Sinti and Roma underaged could talk about themselves showing their daily places and talking about their lives, habits and wishes. In particular, a very positive outcome was the voluntary involvement of relatives and friends in photo and video making; in many videos, they recorded their daily actions (playing videogames, singing, joking, eating, watching TV, walking on the streets) and creating some dialogues in couple or in groups with their friends and relatives. So, another good result was the participation of other people in the video recording. For that reason, the number of people involved was higher than the number of people included in the LST sessions, because some of them decided to involve other people (especially their brothers).

Therefore, it can be said that there was among Roma and Sinti a good approach to workshop’s methodology and, since the beginning, a good relationship with social workers and professionals of Sottobosco.

Despite these positive outcomes, some critical points emerged during the LST: an inconstant attendance for some of the participants and some psychological and social barriers in self-narration processes and activities. Furthermore, the social workers and  the professionals underline that 7 sessions for each group aren’t enough to develop a complete self-narration path and to work on the list of lifeskills selected. On the other hand, after this workshop it is possible to imagine a follow-up through the organization of a new workshop or simply through the self-initiative of the participants, who can use their video-cameras also after the end of the LST.

The LST sessions included the opening of a specific website:

where it is possible to see a brief report of each session and the final video edited by Sottobosco professionals with a selection of the video recorded by Roma and Sinti youngsters.

The local staff will organize a final event in May or June to show the videos to all the participants, their relatives and friends.