In October 2022, the StaGe of Mind partners met in Athens, Greece to share learnings from Phase 1 of the programme implementation and plan the next stages. The partners had the opportunity to share experiences with the delivery of the StaGe of Mind workshops as well as feedback from the participants. This was also a wonderful opportunity to share creative practice in person and enjoy cultural experiences and exchange.

One the first day, Angels of Joy and Society of Social Psychiatry P. Sakellaropoulis, introduced us to their projects and invited us to participate in a workshop with their participants. The partners were invited to the Angels of Joy offices to observe their musical therapy sessions in person. The sessions focused on bringing traditional Greek music to nursing homes and were operated remotely with musicians in the offices on a video call with two different nursing homes. This adaptation was a response to Covid restrictions, but also allowed Angels of Joy to bring music therapy to nursing homes outside the city. While the partners observed the musicians, we were invited to learn the dance for the music. The dancing was fun and energetic and a great way to get to know our colleagues.

After a wonderful traditional Greek lunch, we participated in a workshop with the community performers led by drama facilitator and supported by Society of Social Psychiatry P. Sakellaropoulis therapists.  The workshop used participatory drama games with musicians accompanying the workshop and supporting the tone and pacing. The group shared the devised text and discussed how they intend to expand it for a public performance. The use of music, both in the workshop and as part of the devised text presentation was very effective in generating energy and engagement.

In the evening the partners were brought to a beautiful taverna, one of the oldest in the city. Dinner finished with informal musical contributions from each country.

Day two was focused on reviewing outcomes from phase 1 and planning actions for phase 2 of the of the StaGe of Mind programme implementation.

HAIL presented the participant evaluations showing very positive results for phase 1 from all the participant groups. Participants reported enjoying the challenge of something new and increased social connection, sometimes the new tasks in the workshops were stressful, but they were able to work through it and learn.

Rayuela Producciones Teatrales shared a video showing excerpts from an open workshop with their participants in Valladolid, Spain. It was lovely to see the individuals in the group working on a theatre stage and gradually increasing their confidence.

Then the partners discussed outcomes and experiences with delivering the StaGe of Mind unit content to community participants. All the partners found the units helpful, a good structure with which to build creative work around, but in need of revising and clarification in some cases. A plan was agreed on for the review of each unit to ensure clarity and relevance of content, the aim being to generate a document that would be usable across European contexts to replicate the work in the future. The plan is to review each of the units over the next 3 months and began planning for the final meeting in Dublin in March 2023.

On the final evening Angels of Joy brought the partners to see a contemporary play performed with puppets.  The performance was very visual so the non-Greek speaker could follow the plot and be moved by the story. It was a beautiful conclusion to our days of productive meetings and shared cultural experiences.

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