CREC Project: growing, creating, believing.
A couple of months ago we connected with Germán Rodríguez who has been doing a Universal Education inspired project with young people in the town of Caldes d’Estrac, Catalonia, Spain. We were pleased to find out about CREC and to hear how Germán and his students have found inspiration on the 16 Guidelines programme.
In Catalan ‘CREC’ means ‘I believe’, which connects with ‘creixent, creant, creient’ (“growing, creating, believing”). The aim of this project is to offer a space where teenagers can become aware of their present situation - anxieties, fears, affective bonds, wishes, potentialities and so forth - sharing with others and enriching themselves with new knowledge so that they can discover new meanings to manage their emotions in a beneficial and creative way.
During a conversation Germán explained that his motivation to start CREC came from the work of FDCW’s funder Lama Yeshe and the realisation that there was a need for education that encouraged a true understanding of reality, alongside the development of the heart, without forgetting that everyone and anyone has this huge potential.
Background of the project
During the last academic year 2015/16, a group of eight teenagers belonging to families receiving guidance from social services, were the first to participate in this project with very positive feedback both from the participants and their families.
The duration of the course was nine months, divided into three terms. The main goal of the first term was to get to know each other and to establish bonds of trust. These bonds allowed ideas to arise freely for the creation of small artworks (songs, poems, photographs, short documentary films).
In turn, the creative process created many opportunities to work with emotions, allowing for understanding of what causes them, and how you might transform them. This was the main goal of the second and third terms.
The project was funded by a public grant and the town council who approved it has expressed their wish to renew it for the next academic year. Representatives from two other town councils have expressed their interest in the project and will also submit grants to implement the project in their respective towns the next academic year.
Resources and 16 Guidelines inspiration
Germán, a musician himself, employs a mix of creative, meditative and reflective resources for the young people to explore their inner and outer world. Things like games, music, film, painting, photography and poetry are regularly used to express and share the transformative process.
He explains, “I use the term ‘resources’ to represent the means used for working at different levels. These means include both the inner resources of the participants such as qualities, attitudes, wishes and so on, and external resources, which are external tools used to work with their inner resources.”
In particular with the 16 Guidelines, Germán shared that he used them as a tool to talk about and debate with the young people about what are important values for them. Although it wasn’t an exhaustive discussion, they formed the basis of a photography project and a short video.
You can see other samples of the materials created on the CREC website: https://projectecrec.com
Co-creating the space
Germán keeps the schedule very open to react to whatever the young people bring to the space. He says: “Sometimes the energy is too high, or they had a fight or upsetting interaction just before entering the room, and then I have to spend the entire afternoon calming them down. Other days they want to skip the activity, chat, go for a walk or listen to music. As a facilitator I need to manage this and remember I am co-creating the learning space with them. This is not a school or a formal learning setting, and that is why they like to come. Therefore, the more work I have done with my own emotions, the better the learning experience will be for them.”
Most recently, Germán led an outing that included family members. This was very successful and the various parties expressed gratitude for the opportunity. You can watch a video of the outing online.
Looking to connect with other youth workers