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FELLOWS

Valentina Sokratous

2019/20 Alexandroupoli

Valentina was born in Cyprus and has lived in Alexandroupolis since 2003. She has a BA in Education, and an MSc in Informal Learning (Democritus University of Thrace). Fond of continuous professional development, she expands her knowledge through seminars, workshops and courses. Head of Museum Education at the Ethnological Museum of Thrace for 8 years (where she started as a volunteer in 2007), she also leads various community projects and activities with diverse audiences of all ages and is the city leader for Fashion Revolution Greece (an NGO working towards ethical and sustainable fashion). 

She loves to combine techniques: historical empathy, performance, improvisation, museum theatre, gastronomy, art and adjust them to site specific and local needs. Although as a child she felt that museums were boring, she now passionately believes that the application of museum education methods to social issues can bring about change and, naturally, uses every given opportunity to put that to the test.

As a START Fellow, Valentina enhances her cultural management skills and discovers new strategies for meaningful impact. Through her initiative EMERGE, a community PopUp Museum to disrupt perceptions of mental illness and promote mental health in Greece, she plans to use this methodology and pop up even more!

Project Progress Phase II Phase I

Phase II

Project implementation in Greece

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Duration

Dec - May

Project Title

Emerge

Mental Health is not a hype, it is not a trend, it is a core human right and a basic human need. Emerge is about Mental Health not Mental Illness. Emerge means to rise up, to find your voice reclaiming the power of defining your experience dealing with challenging life situations outside of society's boxes and labels.The goal is to stand against the social problem of ignoring the importance of mental health and perceiving mental conditions as shameful.To empower the participants to create their own narrative in creative ways. To use the power of art in a positive and fun way to inspire change.

PART-A of the project concerns a group of adults dealing with everyday life challenges that will have the opportunity to explore themselves using many different forms of art as a means of communication and reflection on what we call mental health and well being. PART-B takes the creations of the group to build a pop up participatory museum for the entire local community to visit and interact with. Emerge thus creates in an innovative way a discussion about what mental health is and its importance for all of us.

Phase I

Capacity building in Germany

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Duration

Sep - Nov

Project Title

EMERGE

Emerge means to rise up, emerge and start the journey of self acceptance, breaking the disconnection between your exterior image and your inner self. Mental Illness does not
discriminate “target groups” based on sex, age, race, religion,or socioeconomic status. It affects us all and has been significantly degrading our sociocultural fabric at a national level. We see Anxiety and Mood Disorders rapidly increasing around us and our local community being regularly struck by suicides. Yet seeking help is considered cowardly, and the vicious circle of fear, shame, loneliness and alienation deepens. What if we could emerge and together as a collective force, fight against the stigma of a depressed nation and heal our personal and collective traumas through culture?

Instead of focusing on educating mental health professionals or promoting mental health services, the project uses the power of art and community action to nurture empathy and disrupt stigma, at the same time as building strategic partnerships with the staff and members of the local Mental Health Centers, local schools and local authorities. The final objective of this initiative is to develop the Emerge methodology as a prototype creative process to address pertinent sociocultural challenges.

Host Institution

Nellie Nashorn

The sociocultural center Nellie Nashorn in Lörrach has been in existence  for the past 30 years, located in a 19th century mansion.  The main building accommodates the office, two lecturing rooms and a tavern with a  stage.  An event hall and a  cinema is located in the adjoining buildings.

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