January 5, 2011
In December I was in Serbia for the annual meeting of Zdravo da Ste, a community of a hundred or so Vygotskian-influenced educators, psychologists, social workers and artists who bring the joy of pointless performance to children and adults through workshops and ongoing programs. We spent the weekend in Golubac, a village on the Danube across from Romania, in music, poetry, theatre, dance and conversation workshops—followed by performances from each workshop group. On Monday some of us workshop leaders led a panel on “Activity, Art, Development” at the Faculty of Fine Arts of the University of Belgrade.
In Golubac, about a hundred adults, children and teens split into workshops led by talented and spirited “creatives”—Kayoko Yamasaki, Vojislav Karanovic,Vera Obradovic, Vladimir Komad, Dusan Jankovic, Wilfried Kerntke, Tim Prentki, June Boyce-Tillman, Paul Murray and me. Each workshop group, and the body as a whole, were wonderful Zones of Proximal Development (to use Vygotsky’s language) and equally wonderful Zones of People’s Development (to use Zdravo da Ste’s Vesna Ognjenovic’s langauge)—creating with our considerable diversity. In Belgrade about 80 faculty and students from the University, as well as various artists, got to hear diverse views on the the role of art, culture and creativity in social change efforts related to power and development.
In Belgrade I also spent time with current members of the Institute’s International Class—Tamara Borovica, Bojan Drmonjic,Tamara Nikolic Maksic and Milovan Savic. It was a special treat to create conversation with them in their own country. I also reconnected with Vera Erac (International Class alumna) and Aleksandra Jelic and heard of the latest activities of their group, ApsArt.
I’ve been spending a long winter weekend with the Zdravo da Ste community nearly every year since the late 1990s, and while I hope to someday see Belgrade and its surrounds in other than winter grey, my friends and their work and play never fail to bring sunshine to my life.