Creative Space for Dialogue

Creative safer spaces set a necessary and fruitful base for dialogue in youth work settings.

We are facing more dramatic challenges in Europe than in years. In addition to the war in Ukraine, pandemics, and the impacts of climate change, significant European challenges such as lack of sense of belonging, racism, religious or faith-based confrontation, or radicalization desperately need new approaches to be encountered. In the project Creative Space for Dialogue, these challenges were explored through dialogue and interfaith dialogue emphasising cultural diversity and sensitivity.

Safer creative spaces are created with skills on how to negotiate common rules and creating a sense of joint emotional security. A safe and creative space allows young people to approach sensitive and difficult topics in a way which encourages sustainable dialogue.

The project consortium consisted of experts on youth work and creative methods from four different partner countries, Finland, Poland, Serbia, and Slovenia. With this joint project we offered a unique view and practical tools on topics challenging European youth and youth workers.

Some of the creative methods and techniques applied, introduced, tested and evaluated on the themed seminars:

  • Interfaith dialogue
  • Film education
  • Forum theatre and the Theatre of the Oppressed by Augusto Boal
  • Drama education
  • Oxford-style debate
  • Living library.

Creative Safer Spaces – A Web Guide for Youth Work

We believe that positive change in society is possible! By establishing safer spaces that create ground for the use of eye-opening creative methods, we can enter a space of trust where also challenging topics can be brought up.

The Creative Safer Spaces -guide immerses the reader into the concepts of safe and safer space as well as the principles of accessibility and inclusion in youth work settings. The guide is an explicit and hands-on tool for a youth worker or an educator who aspires to establish a creative and safe environment with young people.

The guide follows three different frameworks: anti-racist, psychosocial, and anti-ableist framework. This means, that these aspects are considered when implementing the guidelines in youth work settings. In addition to youth works settings, the guide can also benefit teachers, event producers, coordinators, and communicators, who want to make their working spaces, learning environments and local communities safer and more creative, inclusive, and diverse.

In addition to insights and examples, the guide provides guidelines, checklists, and example forms for everyday use. We hope that you enjoy spending time with the material!

Links to the material

Creative Safer Spaces – A Web Guide for Youth Work

(To be published in February 2023).

Creative Public Spaces Tour: First Themed Seminar in Helsinki, Finland, April 2022.

What is a safer space?

A safer space is a supportive, non-threatening environment that encourages open-mindedness, respect, and a willingness to learn from others, as well as physical and mental safety. It is a space that is critical of the power structures that affect our everyday lives, and where power dynamics, backgrounds, and the effects of our behaviour on others are prioritised. It’s a space that strives to respect and understand the specific needs of a person targeted by hate. Everyone who enters a safer space has a responsibility to uphold the values of the space.

Final themed seminar in October 2022. Photo Izola, Slovenia.

Creative space for dialogue is an Erasmus+ project which brought together almost one hundred experts in the fields of culture, media, art education, youth work, and non-formal education from Finland, Serbia, Slovenia, and Poland. The project builds on the idea of creating and sharing experiences on how to use creative spaces to facilitate sustainable dialogue.

The project consisted of four themed seminars for youth workers. Each seminar dissected the same concept with different methods and approaches. Together the seminars offered a new approach to the European youth sector on the meaning of safe spaces, dialogue and the role of youth workers in creating them.

Creative Space for Dialogue themed seminar in Helsinki, Finland. April 2022.

Project Partners

Haver Srbija, Serbia

Haver is a non-profit educational organization, active in the field of informal education and
working in partnership with individuals, NGO-s and public institutions to overcome
prejudice, discrimination and intolerance in Serbia. The mission of Haver is to contribute to building a society of coexistence, living together based on shared values and common understanding. Programs of the organization are designed and cover all generations, with a special focus on primary and high school students and teachers in Serbia.

PiNA, Slovenia

PiNA was founded in 1998 at the Initiative of the Open Society Institute. Today, the Association for Culture and Education PiNA is a Europe Direct Information Centre, a Eurodesk regional partner, a regional Centre for Intercultural Dialogue, a regional NGOs HUB and a youth centre with the status of operating in the public interest in the field of youth. Expecting to give something back to society and to have a positive, enduring influence on the targeted population, all PiNA’s projects share a common idea – the social impact and focus on four main areas: active citizenship, international cooperation, human rights, creativity and social reflection.

RKI, Finland

The Peace Education Institute is a Finnish, politically non-aligned peace organization for educators who work in formal and non-formal education settings. In practice, this means teachers, youth workers or activists who are interested in creating safer, more inclusive and equal spaces in their work and in wider society. Our work is guided by three themes that are anti-racism, equality, and global.

Taki Jestem, Poland

Taki Jestem is a foundation that has been active in the field of culture, art, and education since 2003. The aims of the Taki Jestem foundation focus on popularising culture and art education and developing various types of creative activity as well as breaking barriers and providing access to culture on an equal basis. By realising projects such as the flagship Festival of Extraordinary Films and Encounters, the foundation fulfils its mission and expands the scope of new competencies among the youth, including cultural competencies. The foundation sees that this is particularly important for disadvantaged groups in terms of disability, cultural, and social diversity. In 2018, the foundation was awarded by the Committee for the Protection of Children’s Rights in the competition “The child-friendly world”. In 2022, the foundation received the main award in the category Culture and Multimedia.

RKI:n oranssi logo.
Logo of Haver Srbija. A purple character is raising its hands up while standing.
Logo of Pina in black letters.
Taki jestem! -logo punaisella.
The project has been funded with support from the European Commission. The publications and communications on this website reflect 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.