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Youth mobility to Cyprus

Kokoro Arts visit Cyprus

A person sat on a rocky ledge holding a camera by a clear lake, with a backdrop of hills and trees.

Kokoro Arts is a Cardiff-based organisation aiming to provide artistic opportunities to young people in Wales, with a particular interest in working with minority communities to bring diversity and promote equality to the Welsh arts scene.

Executive Director Gundija Zandersona shares how Kokoro Arts secured Taith funding for an inspiring staff trip to Cyprus in preparation for a youth exchange this summer in Latvia.

A person looking into the camera with a backdrop of greenery and rocky hills.
Where did you go and for how long?

We are currently running the Here With Me – Storytelling With Movement project and within that, as part of our system development mobility, we went to Cyprus for 3 days.

Who went on the trip?

We chose to send the 3 youth leaders, Kokoro Arts staff – dance and theatre practitioners – who are most closely involved in delivering all parts of the project.

Four people looking at the camera smiling, with a backdrop of a grassy hill, trees and some buildings.
Who organised the trip/ applied for Taith funding?

Kokoro Arts applied for Taith funding to run the Here With Me – Storytelling With Movement project and the system development mobility was organised in collaboration with our partners in Cyprus.

Tell us about your partner organisation:

Our main Cypriot partner and the host for our trip is Victoria Ioannou, a youth leader and a dance artist who works with local dance schools; Harris Dance Studio and Charis Savvas Dance Studio. During our trip to Cyprus, we got to meet the young people from these schools and deliver a dance and storytelling workshop. We also established a professional relationship with the head of one of the dance schools with the potential to collaborate on future youth projects.

What were the aims of your trip?
  • to test out creative ideas for the main youth exchange this summer in Latvia
  • to use and develop into screen dance works stories that young people wrote during the virtual mobility at the beginning of the project
  • to discuss safeguarding, content of delivery and youth engagement with staff from Wales and Cyprus
  • to work with the local young people on storytelling with movement, exchanging skills and practices amongst staff
  • to experience cultural exchange
A person stood in front of a stone wall, looking out to a sandy beach on a sunny day.
Tell us about some of the activities you and your group took part in?

Over the 3 days in Cyprus our youth leaders from Wales and the youth leaders from Cyprus worked through planning creative ideas for the main summer mobility in Latvia. We shared our skills which included filmmaking, choreography, creative writing, youth work, and safeguarding, and decided on how we can as a team pass them on to participants and also spent time trying out the ideas ourselves whilst reflecting and evaluating the process.

In total, we created 4 short films in various locations in Cyprus based on personal creative stories. We tested out some storytelling with movement and dance activities with a group of young Cypriots from Harris Dance Studio and Charis Savvas Dance Studio.

We visited picturesque places in Cyprus and have a much stronger understanding on where and how we could partner with youth leaders from Cyprus in the future on an even bigger scale.

Kokoro Arts has applied for Taith funding to lead a movement for health in an outdoors mobility project and we are planning on taking a larger group of participants from Wales to Cyprus for a busy week of outdoor dance activities. Now we have a good sense of locations we would use, accommodation and cultural differences we need to take into an account.

Two people sat down on black chairs with laptops on their laps. One person is holding a mug while typing on the laptop. The other person is looking at the camera with their hands together under their chin.
What was the highlight of the experience and why?

The nature in Cyprus was incredibly beautiful and inspired us to think of potential future projects that could be delivered there.

The dance school where we delivered our storytelling and dance workshop had an amazing community feel, they were proud of their young people, of their space and were very welcoming and eager to partner in the future.

Three people walking up a concrete road on a sunny day. On the right side of the road there are buildings with balconies.
How did you find the experience of applying for, and obtaining Taith funding?

It was a fairly straightforward process. We received support from BGC Wales staff with completing some of the questions and making sure our safeguarding policy is as thorough as possible.

How did you first hear about Taith?

From BGC Wales staff members.

Would you apply for funding with us again?

Yes, we already have.

Would you recommend other organisations to apply for Taith funding?

Definitely. It offers incredible once-in-a-lifetime opportunities to young people from Wales.

What one piece of advice would you give them?

I would say, if you struggle with the application or worry about practical aspects of delivery, you can always email the Taith support team. I feel like there has been continuous offers to help from the Taith team, which makes both applying and the delivery much easier.

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