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Educational Common Spaces. Passing through enclosures and reversing inequalities

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - SMOOTH (Educational Common Spaces. Passing through enclosures and reversing inequalities)

Reporting period: 2021-03-01 to 2022-02-28

The SMOOTH project performs a cross-cutting and cross-disciplinary analysis of educational commons. SMOOTH introduces the emergent paradigm of the ‘commons’ as an alternative value and action system in the field of education for children and young people. The project critically draws out the implications of the commons for refiguring education, and for social change in general, on a footing of equality, sharing, participation, togetherness, caring, and freedom. The project addresses active social inclusion according to the ‘educational commons’, which we want to study, if they can operate as a catalyst for reversing inequalities, through a variety of methodologies such as pedagogical documentation, pedagogy of (active) listening, project work, ethnography, discourse analysis, etc.
In particular, the SMOOTH project proposes an innovative action research program with and by children and youth to:
a. reverse inequalities faced by children and young people from vulnerable social groups;
b. strengthen inter-cultural and inter-generational dialogue and social integration;
c. develop vital social and personal skills for the children and adults;
d. create smooth spaces of democratic citizenship and experimentation with new ways of thinking and doing on the basis of equality, collaboration, collective creativity, sharing and caring;
e. build and foster community through differences
The SMOOTH project officially started on March 1st, 2021. On March, 15-17, 2021, the kick-off meeting took place online. The event was attended by 44 people on the first day and 33 on the next two days. Also, Project Officer Wolfgang Bode delivered a relevant presentation. To stress the importance of networking with other related projects, a presentation was given by Béla Kardon representing the “Inclusion4Schools” CSA project.
At the end of March 2021, all SMOOTH beneficiaries started the procedure of making an official request to the Ethic Committees to authorize the project.
Also, from the beginning of the project, the beneficiaries proceeded to the preliminary arrangements and the precise definition of the requirements by third parties in relation to each case study. This process was completed with the contractualization of this relationship. A contract model between the partners and third parties had been uploaded to OpenProject to act as a guide for creating contracts that are compatible with the Grant Agreement rules.
The first deliverable (WP1) was completed in the 5th month of the project. In particular, we built a beyond state-of-the-art theoretical framework. The results achieved so far are reflected in the following reports: D1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5.
On the 6th month started WP2. During the reporting period, we produced two questionnaires and a survey about the adult participants’ perceptions about the role of education and the commons in reversing inequalities. The results achieved so far were imprinted in D2.1.
Also, on the 6th month of the project started WP3. In this package, we produced seminars about the methodologies of the project (D3.1) developed an Open Educational Recourses e-Platform (D3.2) and co-designed the case studies (D3.3) to be implemented in WP4.
In the context of WP3, UTh, AUTh, MoMus, UPF, UCA, and Taltech each met with their respective Third Parties for training on educational commons.
Moreover, the 2nd general assembly took place in person on October 20-22, 2021 in Tallinn, Estonia. A report on the 2nd Project’s Meeting had been uploaded on the SYGMA portal.
The WP4 started in the 11th month of the project. The main focus (T4.1) so far was on the preliminary arrangements with the third parties. The results are reflected on D4.1.
In T7.1 we analysed EU, national and regional official policy documents about the role of education in addressing inequalities. Also, in T2.2 we conducted interviews and focus groups with policymakers from the EU and the countries of the study. The results are reflected in D7.1 and D7.2.
WP8 is coordinated by UPF. From the beginning of the project, all partners have spread the project’s objectives and future steps among research groups and other academic members of the partner’s organizations. For these purposes, there have been released several news articles on institutional websites (17 website publications). Also, social media and press releases have been used to reach members of the educational field and society in general, like schools, non-formal education organizations, members of the community and others (8 media impacts).
What is more, we created Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn accounts about SMOOTH, and press releases have been sent to local and national media getting media coverage in some countries.
In the academic context, the team has published papers, book chapters, and books covering educational commons (8 publications). We have also made internal training in order to empower each partner’s expertise in different issues regarding educational commons methodology (9 training events), run or participated in international conferences, congresses, seminars, workshops, summer schools and University lectures in BA and MA level.
The results about dissemination and exploitation (WP8) achieved so far are reflected in the following reports: D8.1 8.3 8.4 8.7 8.10 8.13.
About Project Management (WP9), during the reporting period, we produced four deliverables. In particular, D9.1 9.2 9.3 9.10.
All activities of the project comply with the Ethics requirements which are described in the WP10. The results achieved so far are the following:
D10.1 10.2 10.3 10.4 10.5 10.6.
The main aim of the SMOOTH project is to address inequalities and improve social inclusion through educational commons. The project is expected to have both short- and long-term impacts regarding the efficiency of educational commons among groups of children and youth at serious risk of social exclusion, and the strengthening of sustainability and resilience of free and fair societies.
Specifically, a potential impact is to bring the voice of children and youth more strongly into policymaking and implementation. Another expected impact of the project is to assist collaboration, networking and mobility of researchers. Additional expected impact is to include and bring together the relevant communities, stakeholders, and practitioners in the research activities. SMOOTH intends to enable a better matching between educational policies and the needs and priorities of vulnerable groups of children and youth, meeting the goals of the Europe 2020 strategy.

On the whole, in the first year of SMOOTH, we did all the necessary preliminary arrangements and preparations (build a state-of-the-art theoretical framework, communication, coordination, training, and designing) so that to be ready to effectively conduct our innovative action research program with and by children and youth, drawing on the contemporary theories and practices of commons
Researchers' discussion on ongoing case studies
Partners' collaboration meeting 2
Project's case studies presentation
Partners' collaboration meeting 1
Outdoor researchers meeting
Project's case studies organisation