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This is a reference for Fergal Barr

Humour is Serious Business Training Programme

The training activity took place
in Derry, N Ireland
organised by Inside Out
16-23 April 2012

Aims & objectives

‘Humour is Serious Business’ was a Training Programme aimed at youth work practioners from a wide range of countries who have an interest in and commitment to the examination and use of Humour as a pro-active and deliberate methodology in their work with young people and other youth work communities.

The programme provided space and time for participants to examine a multitude of issues, concerns and questions related to the use of Humour in an effort to increase their skills, knowledge and experience of Humour as an effecitve method of engaging young people.

Target group & international/intercultural composition of the group & team

‘The Team’ are drawn from four different countries, Germany, Italy and Northern Ireland and Israel - Matthias Schrenk, Elisa Gallo-Rosso and Fergal Barr.

Target group was the following:
(i) youth worker ‘by trade’ (and by that we mean you possess a professional qualification in youth work from a recognised academic institution or training educational establishment) and/or you work with young people in a paid or voluntary capacity
(ii) practitioners working with young people out of an interest or ‘love’ of working with young people and wish to use this training as a mechanism for further or more in-depth engagement
(iii) youth workers with an ‘expertise’ or ‘proficient skill-set’ in the area of humour and were in a position to use this experience to engage with young people in your community, be that young people you are already working with or a group or groups of young people you will engage with post-programme

Countries involved UK, Germany, Austria , Greece, Malta, Lithuania, Estonia and Spain

Training methods used & main activities

The training was a seven day training programme using a variety of methodologies to explore the use of humour as a means of engaging with young people. Activities included:
• Energisers
• Buddy (teaming participants together in pairs to ‘look out for one another)
• Secret Friend (secret acts of kindness between participants)
• Market Place (space for organisations to promote their work)
• Graffitti Wall (collection of written or drawn thoughts and ideas from participants)
• Gallery of Quotes (funny quotations/jokes displayed in the working space that change on a daily basis and were used to stimulate thoughts and discussion)
• World Cafe (a round-table medium for promoting questions about humour or any other subject for that matter)
• European Quiz Show (a fun interactive way to promote knowledge of Europe but using humour and the gameshow format to do so)
• Patterns of Life (a tutor input linking the use of humour to personal development)
• Clowning Workshop (an interactive workshop using clowning as a means to increase humour skills and promoting it as the foundation of humour)
• Funny Lunch (a humouristic method to approch lunch)
• Intercultural Evening (designed to promote knowledge of countries)
• ‘It’s just not funny’ (national presentations on humour)
• ‘Tickle My Funny Bone’ (interactive workshop providing opportunities for participants to improvise)
• ‘It’s all in the timing (small role-plays allowing participants to create funny scenario’s)
• ‘HumourVision’ (Eurovision but with a focus on it been humourous)
• Gameshow (participant-led responses to given humour scenario’s)
• ‘RudeTube’/‘YouTube’ Evening (participants had the opportunity show funny clips followed by discussion analysing it’s humour credentials)
• Music Therapy Evening (opportunity for participants to relax)
• Action Planning (opportunity for participants to identify actions and plan accordingly)
• ‘Final Curtain Call’ (presentations of learning in national groups)

Outcomes of the activity

Participants left the training much better informed about humour including context, setting, contruction of humour, constiuent parts and the different types of humour that exist; enhanced their skills and knowledge in how to use of humour alongside a wide variety of tools and ideas to aid and support their practice; a clear action plan (in the form of a ‘Book of Proceedings’) for the development of projects which included for example within one month of the project, the ‘Hug Machine’ which occured exactly one month after the programme began.

Your tasks and responsibilities within the team

Management of programme including preparation, co-ordination, evaluation, provision of information, liaison with partners, administration of travel reimbursement, report writing and all other associated admin for execution and implementation of programme.

I worked on this training for 7 days as a full time trainer.

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