And Samson took hold of the two middle pillars upon which the house stood, and on which it was borne up, of the one with his right hand, and of the other with his left…. And he bowed himself with all his might; and the house fellThe Bible (Christianity) – Book of Judges Chapter 16
The project, being essentially experiential, had faced considerable difficulties during 2020. The project action was based on a framework with 2 major meetings designed as 2 project ‘pillars’ ensuring coherent partnership action.
Despite the loss of the ‘pillars’ the house did not fall….
………the partners maintained their activities and met, using Skype & Zoom every month and also with sub-group & individual discussions.
During the winter of 2020-21 the original programme evolved, developing aspects of the programme that would have featured in physical meetings.
The partnership –
- Continued the monthly virtual meetings that maintained the project during the pandemic
- Supplemented additional sub-groups, that allowed partner discussions & evolved a work programme that would have been explored in detail during the the LTTA (Learning Teaching & Training Activities) meetings.
- Sub-groups that created a greater sense of proximity between partners
- Provided opportunities & encouragement for all partners to engage in developing their work locally and in sharing those results directly with other partners & through the web site with a European & worldwide audience
- Created, within the very restricted contexts imposed by the pandemic
- activities that
- promoted the intentions & objectives of Erasmus Plus Partnerships
- brought together, in an active shared purpose, members of the widely disparate European ‘family’ of Nations
- activities that
- Supported with Simple Gifts both the project ideals & other members of the partnership
- doing ‘the little things’
- being present (at meetings)
- responding gracefully to messages
The application for funding had a planned structure:
- based on a series of meetings that would act as supports to the project.
The first meeting was to provide partners with a basic sense of the purposes of the project.
- The 2 LTTA meetings following the first meeting were
- core to effective project development deliberately placed during the early months of the project.
- designed to provide exploration of the deeper levels and requirements of the project.
- ensuring cross-partnership understanding of key concepts
- providing coherence amongst the partnership
- allowing the partners to develop personal relationships & mutual understanding
- The Transnational Partnership Meetings were to ensure the project work was proceeding satisfactorily.
The final meeting would ensure that all outputs and results were completed and processed as planned.
The meetings were the ‘pillars’ of the project:
- intended to allow the project activities & work programmes to be managed reasonably smoothly.
A diagram of the planned ‘trajectory’
The pandemic removed the pillars & severely damaged the intended project trajectory.
The degree of damage was succinctly expressed by the Finnish partner
“…. the missing LTTAs are a huge loss for the project. This project is very hands on, very practical and based on human interaction and particularly interaction between nature and people. In this light, sitting at the computer with limited means of communication does by no means add to the European added value as it was planned in the project plan.”
In a very different direct statement the Italian partner expressed a similar view – and presented both physical need and a metaphor for the whole situation:
The pandemic forced us to reorganize all the work based on virtual meetings
(we would have preferred a real hug)
The ‘proximate’ and the ‘intimate’ are always requirements of any effective social development
In October & November 2020 the project structures were revised and re-developed.
The work intended for the LTTA (Learning Teaching & Training Activities) meetings needed to be covered.
The pandemic produced a very different overall shape to the partnership – with virtual meetings having less impact than the planned physical meetings
The new structural diagram was presented in November. The sentiment (‘uncertainty’) expressed at that point continued into 2021