Tuesday, May 22, 2018

How we arranged the festival in Finland

Our project is coming to an end and in order to summarize and celebrate what we have achieved during the past two years, each school has organized a “festival” of some kind. The purpose has been to show others what we have done and learnt and spread the message about the importance of minorities and minority languages.

In Finland we celebrated the project during an entire week in mid-May. The week before we had invited a guest to come and talk to the whole school. Our guest was the actor Sampo Sarkola who talked about the relationship between language and identity. He shared quite a lot of personal experiences and told us in what way he feels it’s different to do theatre in Finnish compared to Swedish. We had also made a visit to The Swedish Assembly of Finland, Folktinget, with the project group. Folktinget is an organisation with the statutory task of safeguarding the Swedish language and the interests of the Swedish-speaking population in Finland.

For the festival week itself, all the students involved in the project had been split into groups, responsible for one day each. We had also hung up posters around the school with information and pictures about all the minorities involved in the project.

The week started with a quiz about European minorities, prepared by Valter and Mats. They invited other students in school to come and take part and gave the winner a prize. On Tuesday, Alexandra and Linnea had another quiz, but this time the topic was languages. They played recordings of Welsh, Gaelic, German, Kashubian, Romansch and Finland-Swedish and the participants had to guess the language and in what region the language is spoken.

On Wednesday, Otto and Tomas gave visitors the opportunity to use VR-glasses and experience the 360 degree photos and Google flights that had been made during the meeting in Poland. The next day the theme was culture. Trine, Eva and Carolina had baked Welsh cakes and Scottish shortbread that they treated the visitors to. They had also made a collage of pictures from the meetings in Poland, Italy and Wales and compiled some information about customs and traditions in the minorities represented in the project. Friday was the last day and the theme was minority rights. Astrid, Valerie and Iia had prepared a sort of bingo game where students could mark the boxes they felt applied to them, e.g. “I can get service in my mother tongue” or “I can read newspapers in my minority language.”

All in all, we were quite happy with the week. It was a fun way to summarize the project for the rest of the school and for ourselves. As teachers, we are very proud of the work our students have done throughout the project and it’s been great to hear the students say that they feel they’ve actually learnt quite a lot.

Sarah Mattila & Brita Långström
Project coordinators

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