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Youth impressions: Law Shifters and Direct Approach

Youth impressions: Law Shifters and Direct Approach


Young Ukrainians talk about their participation in Stine Marie Jacobsen's workshops

Our team at the Ukrainian-Danish Youth House is always looking for new ways to empower and challenge youth, so we have invited Stine Marie Jacobsen, a celebrated Danish artist, to come to Ukraine with her signature workshops.

Her projects, called Law Shifters and Direct Approach, explore the themes of justice and violence and give youth an opportunity to reflect and start the dialogue in society to address these complicated issues.

And young Ukrainians across the entire country have eagerly answered our call!

We held Law Shifters – a 3-hour workshop where participants have an opportunity to review existing court cases and adopt a role of judges, prosecutors, attorneys, and jury – in two Ukrainian cities: Kyiv and Zhytomyr.

The 12 participants from Kyiv were mostly law students from a local branch of the European Law Students’ Association (ELSA) and Junior Academy of Science.

The court case chosen for the role-play was called Woman’s Silhouette and dealt with the issue of gender-based discrimination in the advertisement. Students has a very engaged conversation about the objectification of women and some of the participants were able to look at the issue of promoting services with sexualized content from a completely different perspective and noted that taking part in a workshop changed their previous worldview.

Whereas in Zhytomyr there were as many as 18 participants for the Law Shifters, who were mainly students of Berdychiv Vocational College of Industry, Economics and Law, and high school students of Novohrad-Volynskyi Lyceum #11.

They were analyzing a case about paternal leave featuring a man, who was unlawfully fired from his job when he took time off to take care of his child. Participants managed to fully immerse themselves in the atmosphere of the process, everyone tried to find strong arguments to defend their position. Moreover, they had an active discussion about paternity leave that can empower both mothers and fathers, each in their ways.

Eldar Voznyuk, a student from Zhytomyr, noted how the program enabled his peers to be a driver for social change: “Law Shifters is a big opportunity for future judges, prosecutors, barristers, jurists, politicians that want to change their country for the better. I am glad to meet new people and extremely grateful to organizers”.

Victoria Platonova, one of the particiapnts, said that the project gave her a great opportunity to dive deeper into a fascinating world of law: “I had a role of a juror, and we were able to weigh in the position of both the plaintiff and the defendant. I really enjoyed taking part in this roleplay as I have been interested in law since childhood. I would like organizers of this project to give us another opportunity to take part in this game".

And Anastasia Kotvytska from Novohrad-Volynskyi even claimed that Law Shifters helped her with a future career path: "For me, it was a really great experience. Since right now I am now at a stage where I need to decide on my future and what I want to do. I went home with a lot of impressions and emotions; I think we need to have such events more often".

Direct Approach, which we held in Vinnytsia in the local regional youth center “Kvadrat”, had 6 participants and future podcast stars. The idea behind the program is to bring participants to face the topic of violence directly through discussing often exaggerated scenes of violence in popular movies and analyzing their reactions and feelings upon seeing them.

This workshop span over 3 days with 3-hour lectures during the first two, which included vocal exercises, lessons on interviewing methods and active listening, and a 6-hour recording session in a studio, where participants recorded their podcasts, in which they interviewed each other to allow everyone to voice their opinions on violence.

Due to its intense and engaging nature, Direct Approach had a profound effect on all participants as well as our team and even Stine Marie herself. The training was one-of-a-kind and for many, it was their first time in the recording booth. But most importantly, the topic challenged the youth quite a lot through openly discussing and exchanging their opinions and personal stories about violence around them.

For example, Liza Bandurka praised the friendly and inclusive atmosphere of the program: “I liked that the advice given by Stine Marie was unique. I've been to many vocal and interviewing training, but they were all pretty similar. Communication was on an equal footing between the organizers and participants, there was no superiority”.

And Dmytro Savchuk, another participant, said that the workshop allowed him to develop some hidden talents: “I am using Stine Marie’s methods to train my vocals every day and I have never known my voice can be like that. I discovered a note that I couldn't hit before when signing, so I had always ended up just playing the guitar”.

All in all, during this whirlwind week youth from different regions of Ukraine came together to creatively tackle serious social challenges and dare each other to think differently. Sounds like something you might be interested in? Then join the Youth House community and become active with us!