The aim of the workshop was to present the preliminary findings of the action research applied in Kakucs village as part of the ALTERNATIVE project (Restorative justice in intercultural settings - 2012-2016, Consortium leader: KULeuven - Leuven Institute of Criminology (LINC), receiving funding from the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) for research, technological development and demonstration under grant agreement no. 285368.), and to share and brainstorm with participants from diverse but related areas of expertise and also from different countries like Bulgaria, Belgium, Germany, Austria, Serbia, Romania, Albania, Sweden. The event was very colorful and the participants brought a wide range of experience to the table.
On the first day after the initial round of introductions and greetings the participants were listening to a special radio programme. The show was called Prison Radio and the participants of the conference could send messages to the creators of the show who were within the walls of the Penitentiary and Prison of Vác. Judit Hajdú a leader of the project explained us details about the operation if the radio and their long term plan. After this Gabriella Benedek and Gábor Héra presented the most important sociological and methodological questions of the action research at Kakucs. Than Katrin Kremmel and Dr. Christa Pelikan presented their study that was undertaken in Vienna amongst the so called “Gemeindebau” – social homes, where they were looking to resolve the conflicts between the German and immigrant inhabitants by restorative approach. Both projects were accompanied by a short documentary that made the local problems and specialities more understandable and comprehensible.
The second day started with the IRKS (Institute of the Sociology of Law and Criminology) showcaseing their results in Austria. This was followed by a fish-bowl conversation where – with the help of questions by Dr. Beáta Bodrogi – Dr. Éva Győrfy talked abbot the ALTERNATIVE’s recent progress, the needful changes that were required during the study, the expert lessons and difficulties of the project and the feedback received from the inhabitants of the village Kakucs. This was fallowed by three small group conversation; the brainstorming was a long policy, research and action topics starting from predefined questions with the help of Dóra Szegő and Gábor Héra from Foresee and Katrin Kremmel from IRKS acting as moderators. Amongst others an important topic was the politics around the action research, the consequences and the dangers of the silence braking stories by the local inhabitants participating in the study. How can the researchers handle these continuously raised touchy questions and how can they protect the people who got into this vulnerable situations – even after leaving the place of the research? How is the position of the victim and the perpetrator interchangeable?
The lunch-brake was followed by a synthetising round where the members of the ALTERNATIVE research group summarized the project’s most important outcomes in five minutes in very different perspectives. After this it was time to mutually draw conclusions, discuses the inspirations that the participants gathered during the two day workshop. The conference was ended with the final circle where everyone shared their final thoughts and feelings from the workshop. During the last round Tibor Balogh – a painter was continuously painting in the room. His painting was based upon what he heard and about restorative justice and every participant received a special framed copy of this painting.
For the pictures of the workshop, click here.
For the short video of the workshop, click here.
For the invitation of the workshop, click here.
The report was written by: Judit Czifra and Rita Steinsits