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FELLOWS

Athina Kiorpelidou

2019/20 Kastoria

Athina lives in Kastoria, Greece. Possessing an inquiring and untiring nature, she has engaged in her local community’s social, cultural and environmental activities through theater and public relations management for more than ten years (as co-founder and project/cultural manager of Spasmeno Rodi, Kastoria, and through P.R. studies at Western Macedonia University of Applied Sciences). Athina loves (or should we say, lives for?) creating art that produces a social impact. She has initiated projects about/for/with refugees and bone marrow donors, and strongly believes that by helping others, we can live a more meaningful life!

In 2019, the START fellowship program attracted Athina as a unique opportunity to broaden her management skills. Through her training and job placement at the Rostocker Frauenkulturverein (women’s cultural society of Rostock), her work gains relevant experience and develops an international perspective. In Greece, she seeks to open dialog about abuse in her community; aiming to raise public awareness on what constitutes abusive behavior in close interpersonal relationships and aiming to encourage abused women to seek help. Athina aspires to connect people through empathy, and, by making abuse common ground, to bring more women out of seclusion.

And this - she tells us - is only the beginning of a journey from pain into STRENGTH…

Project Progress Phase II Phase I

Phase II

Project implementation in Greece

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Duration

Dec - May

Project Title

Behind Closed Doors

The main goals of the project are: to empower women victims of violence of Kastoria, to raise public awareness on subtle forms of abusive behaviour, and to achieve attitudinal and behavioural change related to abuse in my community. Art is a powerful vehicle for social change. Art can operate as a "breakthrough" to address burning social matters to the public. "A Public Affair" deals with such a matter and offers an indirect way to involve parts of the community that are not, necessarily, immediately connected with a taboo subject and to, therefore, empathetically relate with the people that it affects. It is a bottom-up approach that intends to achieve deep reforms for the actively involved participants and, a positive shift of perspective for the audience. Empowering women victims of violence to take steps towards improving their current life circumstances produces a significant social impact. According to studies, abused women suffer from PTS, insecurity, depression, anger, fear, shame and are more likely to cause harm to themselves. That state of being does not allow them to live a satisfying life and be active members of the community.

Phase I

Capacity building in Germany

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Duration

Sep - Nov

Project Title

A Public Affair

One out of three women in Greece has experienced physical and/or sexual violence at least once, since the age of fifteen. Statistics concerning Greece are not far from the European average. The numbers are frightening. Domestic violence is still a taboo subject in many western societies, prolonging the physical and psychological pain, causing post-traumatic stress, insecurity, depression, anger, fear, shame and self-destructive tendencies to its victims. The circle of silence CAN break. “A Public Affair”, is a journey from pain into strength. A sociocultural initiative that raises the awareness on what consists abusive behavior in close interpersonal relationships. It brings to the public sphere - of a small and rather conservative community - all that we usually call “domestic affairs”. The main aim of the initiative is to encourage abused women to approach the Counseling Center for Women Victims of Violence (C.C.W.V.V.), of Municipality of Kastoria, in order to receive help. Furthermore, to open the dialog on other, more subtle forms of abuse, such as stalking, psychological, financial and verbal abuse.

Host Institution

Die Beginen - Rostocker Frauenkulturverein e.V.

Rostocker Frauenkulturverein is a cultural centre in Rostock, at the Baltic Sea. The center is mostly working with women artists, social workers, and thinkers.

Since 1991 the center creates projects for more public visibility of women, no matter which culture, age, ancestry or religion they come from. It is an open space for ideas, working for more democracy, understanding, and empowerment of girls and women.

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