The seminar "Transborder Laboratory for Cooperation from Below" was organized by the Institute for Studies in Political Economy together with Economy and Society Trust, the Paulo Freire Centre and the Vienna University of Economics and Business Administration. It was held in Brno, Czech Republic, between the 14th and the 16th of September 2007.
The seminar was called a laboratory because it had an experimental character. The four co-operation partners stated above from various backgrounds invited critical social researchers and grassroots activist which mainly included people from the development cooperation field, anti-globalists and Central and Eastern European political activists who got together to participate in a joint discussion and learning process. This turned out to be an interesting pool of backgrounds and thus opinions. The goals of the seminar were primarily the dissemination of knowledge, an exchange between university and activist experience and discussions on prospects of trans-border co-operations. The seminar was two and a half days long and was divided into five parts. It was based on dialogue and joint reflection of activist and research experiences. Each of the five half days were opened by expert input statements, which were meant to be brief, though always very interesting and critical, these experts where later used as resource persons for the related discussions.
Tania Borg from Kopin Malta took part in the seminar (with support from TRIALOG) and shares her impressions:
Looking back on the weekend, it was an extremely interesting one, the fact that there was such a good combination of activists and academics, from Europe and also from Brasil who at times agreed and at other times had different opinions yet providing such a harmonization of actors. Even more so, some of the grass-roots activists themselves have written papers hence putting them onto the other side of the spectrum, the academic side. Their inputs resulted into academic yet practical experienced papers or rather reflection and action, having read about Freire one could note that this experiment was held within the Freiren context of PRAXIS, where speakers showed a clear action, reflection and action approach. Thus triggering more insights into action and reflection within the participants and also proofing the experiment was a successful one. Being a new experience for a few of the participants it enticed future collaboration and participation in such seminars.
Information provided by Tania Borg, KOPIN Malta (Koperazzjoni Internazzjonali). For more information please contact her at: firstname.lastname@example.org