What do people do with skills from a PYE training?
At the core of all the trainings that PYE does is a model of facilitation and group leadership that was created by our co-founders Peggy Taylor and Charlie Murphy. The model is based on years of experience working with the arts for empowerment and we call it The Creative Community Model (CCM).
The primary use of our model is to for youth empowerment, but we’ve witnessed the incredible transformative power that it can provide for people of all ages and backgrounds too. The CCM helps people to start breaking down the behaviors they employ on a day to day basis and start to connect with their real, authentic selves.
Our trainings and workshops are all aimed at teaching others how to apply this way of working in their own organizations or careers. Thousands of people have now been trained in the CCM and hundreds of thousands of people have taken part in projects and programs that employ the techniques and skills that it contains. The Creative Community Model is in action in many locations around the world from our founding home in North America to Myanmar, South Africa,India, the UK and Brazil among many others.
Take a look at some of the ways the model is being applied:
African Youth Leadership Experience: Inspiring Youth Leadership in Uganda with Andrew Nalani
We first met facilitator Andrew Nalani at a Creative Community Model camp being run in collaboration with In Movement: Art for Social Change. Andrew had a strong passion for creative education and was actively searching for ways to empower young people in his community.
“What I saw at that camp with PYE and In Movement was incredible. There was a big change in the participants over a very short period of time,” says Andrew. Having been inspired to use some of the techniques he had learned he began plans for his own camp which would address some of the main problems he saw facing young people around him. “The idea for my camp was to create a safe space – a challenging but powerful incubator to help young people see how much they can offer Uganda.” Andrew knew that he wanted creativity and arts-based practices to be at the core of his work. “I totally believe in the power of the arts to transform people’s lives.”
Having attended both Creative Facilitation trainings and a deeper level Art of Facilitation training with PYE, Andrew led his first camp during the summer of 2014. Twenty-nine youths from eight schools in East Africa (Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda) came together to engage in dialogue across religious, ethnic and gender differences. Andrew named the camp The African Youth Leadership Experience.
Find out more about this project in the PYE magazine.
Imithayelanga: Empowering Youth in Rural South Africa with Xola Yoyo
“Creativity is the start of everything. If you can use your imagination and think creatively then you can solve any problem that comes your way,” says Xola, Founder Director of Imithayelanga Youth Development, an organization that works with rural youth in Eastern Cape province of South Africa, attempting to break the cycle of poverty by enabling them to make informed decisions about the directions they want their lives to take. “I work mainly with orphans in rural areas,” he says. “They don’t have any parents or guardians to guide them or encourage them so life can be very difficult. They don’t have transport or ways of finding out about the opportunities that are available to them. They are alone and they need support.”
While working with African Solutions to African Problems, Xola was invited to take part in a PYE Creative Facilitation training led by Charlie Murphy. “He introduced me to the idea of the Creative Community Model and it seemed incredibly powerful. PYE showed me how to develop the youth work I was doing using creativity.”
In recent years Xola has founded his own youth program, Imithayelanga Youth Development which serves around 1000 youth per year at 10 schools and 4 drop in centers in the Eastern Cape, South Africa. “I’ve taken the lessons I learned from PYE with me into everything I’ve done since. I still regularly use the techniques I have learned.”
“Empowering young people is largely about allowing them to understand how many opportunities and possibilities they have for the future. Encouraging them to be creative and confident in themselves is a great way of doing that.”
Find out more about Xola and his path to becoming a Creative Facilitator in the PYE magazine.
Educators Collective: Uniting a Community of Educators in Bangalore, India with Shalani Menon
We first met Shalini through our India-based partner organization, Dream a Dream. Having attended several trainings with PYE, Shalini recognized a real need for more networking and community among youth workers in Bangalore so she set up an organization called the Educators Collective to answer that need.
In her working life Shalini came into contact with several cutting edge educators who were using new techniques and ideas to reinvigorate the education and youth empowerment sector in Middle India. But, despite the fantastic work they were doing, she felt that many of them were cut off and isolated, getting very little feedback or inspiration on their initiatives. “Most educators remained voiceless and faceless throughout their careers, despite their passionate and deep work each day with young people,” she says.
When Shalini attended a training with PYE, it sparked an idea. “We often spoke about the idea of a Learning Circle and I started to really see the potential.” Shalini set up the Educators Collective, inviting a few friends and colleagues to join her in a public park on a Saturday afternoon. “The concept was built on a simple belief that educators need to constantly engage, up skill and unlearn in order to create meaningful experiences for those they work with.” Twelve people turned up to that first meeting. Over the next few months the regular Saturday meetings began to grow. The network now includes over 200 educators and is planning to expand to other regions in India.
“My dream is that eventually every educator in Bangalore and across India will find meaningful connections with peers and organizations. Community building is the core of my dream.”
Find out more about the Educators Collective here.
In Movement: One Person Empowers Thousands with David Kafambe
Ugandan youth worker David Kafambe is one example of how PYE training can help a social artist increase their influence in their organizations and in the field of youth work.
David previously worked on the staff of DSW, a German-based organization that works on issues around sexual and reproductive health and HIV/AIDS in Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya, and Ethiopia and consults with the Ministry of Gender. He was an active member of a group of Ugandan leaders in the youth development field trained in the Creative Community Model.
These days David is the Country Director for our Ugandan patterns organization, In Movement where he assists with embedding the Creative Community Model into after school programs and residential youth camps. With his PYE training, David has led youth programs for in every province in Uganda, and has designed and lead professional development training for staff in several countries. It’s through working alongside individuals like David that we can spread the Creative Community Model quickly and effectively to new regions. Working with local youth workers also ensures that the model is adapted for cultural context.
David is very enthusiastic about spreading the PYE model and methods. “I want to open many doors to spread this work,” he says. “It has changed me, and I want to use it to help others.”
Seeds of Peace: The Creative Community Model in Conflict Resolution
There are currently more than 30 acknowledged conflict zones around the globe, affecting the lives of hundreds of thousands of people every year. In the summer of 2012, non-profit and non-political organization Seeds of Peace organized a two week conference to explore ways that the arts can be used to break down barriers and unite fractured communities.
“We had about 35 educators and artists from conflict regions around the world,” said Aaron Shneyer, one of the staff members at the conference. “They consisted of a wide group of people from many different backgrounds. We had representatives from Israel, Palestine, Egypt, Cyprus, Jordan, India, Pakistan and the United States.”
At the beginning of the second week of the conference PYE were invited to hold a workshop. “By the time they arrived there was a desire to find some really concrete skills and activities that people could use. Everyone was thirsty for a more hands on approach. The workshop went above and beyond everyone’s expectations.”
PYE facilitator Nadia Chaney agrees that the workshop was a big success. “We were not directly attempting to create space for dialogues about political conflicts,” she says, “but many of the participants felt inspired to share their stories and talk openly. While we were providing structure and context, it seemed to be allowing people to form deeper trust and connections.”
During the conference, Aaron was able to watch this remarkable phenomenon first-hand. “A young female teacher from Gaza was present at the workshop. She had seen her school be completely destroyed by a bomb not long ago. During PYE’s workshop there was one activity where she was partnered with a man from Israel for a theatre exercise. The idea behind the exercise was that they would spend some time mirroring each others’ movements.”
“As the experience came to a close she was quite emotional. When she was asked to share her thoughts with the group she admitted that she had felt some fear and discomfort when she realized who her partner was. Once the activity started she said she very quickly saw the level of consideration and kindness which her partner was putting into the task. That was quite powerful for her.”
“I believe that the arts have a critical role to play in regions of conflict around the world,” says Aaron. “Too often the only voices that people hear from the opposing side are voices of violence with very little room for empathy or compassion. Giving an empathetic portrayal of the experience of people on the other side of the conflict is really important. The arts open people up in a way that talking never could.”
Find out more about Seeds of Peace and PYE here
Arteria: Empowering Youth in Brazil with Cecilia Zanotti
PYE first began working in Brazil in 2011. We ran a series of Creative Facilitation trainings for local youth workers and social artists and were thrilled to find that the model was received with great enthusiasm and excitement. When we returned a year later to begin training advanced level facilitators who would be capable of leading their own trainings, we found a rich and creative group of ten highly skilled facilitators who were ready to take this work to the next level. Amongst them was Cecilia Zanotti, co-founder of Projeto Bagagem, an organization that focused on bringing together tourists, residents of small, traditional communities that they visit and local social organizations in an effort to redefine tourism in Brazil and foster economic inclusion.
Over the next few years Cecilia and PYE continued to work together, exploring the social art landscape in Brazil and delving deep into the core aspects of the Creative Community Model until Cecilia was fully immersed and ready to take a lead part in running a residential youth camp on the grounds of Agrifirma Firm in Western Bahia.
These days Cecilia and her colleagues in Brazil are in the early stages of setting up an organization that they call Arteria which we hope will be our main program delivery partner in the region. We look forward to running more Creative Community Model camps and more Creative Facilitation trainings with Arteria over the next few years.