What is Unleash 2017?

After the success of the award winning international youth exchange of theater.camp, BiondekBühne still want to improve the quality of young people’s involvement within the European Union. We will, therefore, bring 60 young people from the age of 16-25 from Spain, Ireland, Malta and Austria together, not only for youth theatre, but for all forms of noformal learning through the arts. By adding photography, film making, painting and writing along with theatre, all participants have the possibility to release their full creative potential in Unleash 2017. They project will take place from July 3rd to 14th, 2017 in Göttweig Abbey in Lower Austria.

Involvement in the arts and the process of creating art invites young people to explore feelings, thoughts, experiences, attitudes and behaviour that they may be inhibited from doing so in their day-to-day lives. The participants of Unleash 2017 establish a sense of self that is rooted in having a visible and congruent role to play in a group. Young people emphasise the importance of acceptance, tolerance equality and teamwork in the process of creating and performing. This need to organise a project that is not so focused on one kind of informal learning is what all the project partners felt and this similar urge to implement various approaches came to the forefront to form the context for Unleash 2017.

Creating pieces of art that explore issues and experiences relevant to their own lives as a European citizen can encourage young people to understand the consequences of the various roles they choose to play out in the wider community. In addition to exploring topics directly relevant to their own lives, many young people welcome opportunities to explore a wide range of subject matter and confront difficult, sensitive and controversial issues through the arts. This exploration of a large range of issues can lead to increased awareness and ability to express oneself and an experience of being more connected to or involved in community or social life. These connections to society and the consciousness of the participants are key objectives in Unleash 2017 and by channelling feelings, energy and anxiety through performance helps them in learning how to cope with and control their feelings and expressing themselves more effectively in a range of context, e.g. racism or discrimination.

The participants who will have a higher priority of taking part of Unleash 2017 will be young people who haven’t had the change to participate in an international project lately and/or have already been eagerly doing voluntary work at their organisation, as well as young people with fewer opportunities. Every partner organisation will send a group of 14 young people from the ages of 16-25 and two adult leaders. While BiondekBühne will send 18 young people in total, as they are the host, but not all will be from Baden, rather the participants will come from all over Lower Austria in cooperation with the Niederösterreichische Kreativakademie. Each organisation will foresee a gender equality within their choice of the group which will affect the selection process.

Unleash 2017 will make young people who live in the European Union active European citizens, who will begin to re-evaluate and create new values. This will benefit in forming a more communal European society for our future within the European Union. The exhibition of the workshop outcomes will take place on the second last day with live video stream on Facebook to create an instant global impact (especially for the public from the participating countries). Furthermore, this gathered creativity will be developed further in the participants’ home countries and later presented on April 21st, 2018, the international day of creativity.

It may seem like it is not the best time to be a young person in the European Union because of recent financial crisis, Brexit and the fear of terrorist attacks along with high youth unemployment rates, but those invested in Unleash 2017 beg to differ. Arts and creativity are the key factors in improving and cultivating entrepreneurial skills for individuals, which will then help to build up a greater future for oneself and the wider public within the European Union.