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Education & Youth Development

Whoosh.wien understands education to be a lifelong project, with adults continuing to learn through reading books, listening to the news, meeting new people and staying curious. We create events where people can learn more about others, and themselves. And we work with schools and universities, to entertain and inform students about the city and the world.

Eugene has cooperated with Uni Wien (in particular the sociology & geography departments), MODUL Uni, FH Wien (tourism & innovation), TU Raumplanung, BOKU (making the cell-researchers' work more present in Austrian public life & media), WU (NPO ForschungsInstitut), FH Technikum (teaching incoming students about how the city works, & intercultural dialogue), introducing Central European University students & staff, arriving from Budapest, about their new home Bezirk, Favoriten, using a gamification format, & tours for the Med & Angewandte Unis.

We are always happy to be approached by teachers with ideas for future events - it could be a concept they want to explore, a tour as part of a course or conference, or a lecture from Eugene and his colleagues. And since he is a native speaker of English, so there is the opportunity to interact with and improve your spoken language. All these events are also available in German. In May 2021, Whoosh was asked by the International Baccalaureate to include a text about our Smells like WIEN Spirit tour in their future German language text-books.

Please call Eugene on 0680 1254354, if you would like to explore a cooperation. He is a free-range parent. Here are brief descriptions of some of our projects, which offer alternative learning on the streets, or in classrooms...

Music Safari, where Eugene visits a school and takes over a class of 9-year olds to ask them which music they hear at home, but never on the streets of Wien. And he collects those songs and plays them the next saturday at a party in the Gemeindebauhof nearest to the school. It is a chance to mix up the music of Roma, Kurdish, Nigerian, Turkish, Serbian, Afghan, Syrian people, and then for the kids to show us their dance steps, and feel proud of their heritage. Where children collect, parents follow, and so we hope to open up new dialogue and networks.

Schools' Architecture Adventure is a very instagrammable look at alternative architecture in Wien, and the way buildings help to create society, where children tour new and old, beautiful and ugly houses, and stand up and present their favourite discoveries, in class later.

Rebellious Optimism, looking at why we should all learn how to approach life more positively, in solving problems, seeing opportunites and creating better mental health. A philosophical campaign.

Street Dialogue, where a group of pensioners meet schoolchildren from the same Graetzl, with cake and a drink, in public space (usually a park) to chat about how life has changed in the Bezirk, with questions about play, food, shopping, street names, education, transport and parents. We want to find stories of connection, as well as differences, and for both groups to get an insight into each other's world. Since the ethnicity of the younger group less Autochtone, this is not just about different generations in conversation, but also different cultures.

School Creativity Rolling Show is about showing students the value of individuality and empowerment. Eugene has developed a colourful 1-hour presentation, with his best friend Persy Bulayumi, to inspire Vienna kids to be more innovative. Please invite us to inspire your kids! Since innovation is a compley subject, and not always a priority in Austrian schools, we can support you in your work. This is a joyous, loud, moving, memorable 60 minutes. Auf Deutsch.

Smart City tour, to inspire students about a more utopian, collaborative, participative future, where they are central to city-planning and development.

For Kaspar Festival in Seestadt, we visited a local school, and asked the 8-year olds to show us where they hide away from adults, when they are playing. We wanted to make a tour where children would have power and insider knowledge, and they could show the adults around the district. And it worked. We adults became wet and dirty, climbing into all the spaces the children have discovered. They loved the power this gave them, and became very competitive to show us their best hideawayws. Seestadt child-led tour

Of course all of these tours can be English lessons, as an alternative to sitting in class.

For Forum Alpbach, we created a social-dining evening, where business leades sat down for 2 hours of intensive conversation with 17 year olds, one-to-one. This was a radical experiment, but we wanted to show that, with a focused question menu, that each side of the conversation would learn a lot from the other. We wanted to burst filter-bubbles, and hierarchies, and give business leaders an insight into youth thinking, and the students an opportunity to get closer to the world of entrepreneurship. Two examples of questions on the menu: what do you wish you had learned when you were my age (directed at the older participants), and what one thing is stopping you getting the job of your dreams (aimed at younger participants).

Lectures available on many subjects, from city-branding to storytelling, a lecture for the UN on why we should all walk more and drive less, and even a powerpoint for the Klimaschutz Ministerium on better uses for streets than cars.

A celebratory tour of wien west, showing details of why Vienna is regularly ranked the best city in the world to live (looking at food, housing, beauty, connectedness, transport infrastructure, culture and jobs).

Unser schulbuffet. How to eat is one of most important lessons we should get in school and kindergarten, but many children are not listening. So how can we improve the diet of our children? The Austrian Health Ministry asked us in 2012 to create a slow-food, four-course meal, inside the ministry, for 200 participants, and alongside that a question menu which would open up dialogue about our relationship with food and regionality. We invited a diverse group of players to the meal, to meet each other, including media, ministry workers, children, celebrity cooks, food industry representatives, parents, teachers, school cooks. Questions included:

1. What food takes you back to childhood?
2. Who taught you most about food or cooking?
6. Where and when did you eat your most memorable meal, and what was it?
8. What lessons have you learnt through food?
11. Which exotic food do you remember eating for the first time?

16. Is there a food which instantly brings back memories of a particular moment?

17. Which food from your region do you particularly value?

18. Do you have any guilty fast food favourites?

Youth art takeover. To inspire and empower kids, but also to show the many advantages children have over adults, we present a colourful weekend where children take over the Kunsthistorisches Museum, with graffiti sessions, young children dressing up & recreating famous paintings, in front of the original; security guards, cafe & shop assistants mostly young people, meet-&-greet staff all youngsters, for more energy; young people's art show; live music from children (eg. Wiener Saengerknaben sing Radiohead); youth help with PR & TV interviews; fresh interpretations of the art; a vote by all Vienna school children to choose which of 10 pieces of art is Vienna’s favourite young painting; live painting event, with lots of mess, local dance groups re-interpreting pictures with street dance motifs, sleepovers in front favourite paintings, with storytelling by candlelight. We call it a dream-over. We'll ask Vienna children whose parents migrated here & who speak another language - Mandarin to Turkish, Serbo-Croat to French - to lead tours for adults in that language.

As a father and mentor, Eugene also wants to show the things he has learnt about the city from his 8 year old son. And not just about the city, but life and joy, play and big questions, making friends and seeing opportunities. Once a month, his son chooses the clothing style of his father, for that day.

Eugene curated the first-ever bus tours of Meidling & Hernals, and in both tours, four locals were invited to the microphone to show us their interpretation of the Bezirk. On both tours, 13-year olds contributed their perspectives and told about their lives.

On a Floridsdorf Kindergaertnerinnen tour, Eugene was asked by the city to look at how architecture contributes to children's development.

Institution or Inspiration - Vienna educational architecture is our comparison tour of the best and worst learning buildings in our city. One of the things we learnt from Covid is the value of coming together to learn. Suddenly, children came to value schools and the opportunity to meet friends, chat and play together, as well as the structure and framework that lessons and schools offer. But what role do these institutions play, in terms of their physical form, in students' development? How can we share best-practice, and encourage social, physical and psychological learning?

Why is it that we can so often recognise schools architecture all over Europe? Are these buildings cliches? What would children choose for their own, child-centred learning? With climate change, can we bring more lessons into the open air?

Eugene will be accompanied on this hip walk through Leopoldstadt by architect Iva Shokoska, whose focus is on inspiring children through brighter, more fun and open buildings for teaching in Wien. We welcome teachers, architects and children on the walk, to be part of the debate, as well as parents and anybody who cares about smart cities and future visionary city-planning. Eugene was very happy when his son Josef was asked to lead tours of his newly-built school, as a seven-year old child. This is a reminder that school architecture should be for kids, not adults. He showed local politicians, the architects, teachers, parents, bureaucrats and police around the new extension.

We want to show you some beautiful examples of fine Vienna schools and universities. But also some crazy mistakes the city has made.

Good school design can encourage kids to move more, to play, to dance, to eat together, to be more creative, to be happier. We should remember that kids don't just learn in schools - some avant garde schools make lessons in tree houses, forests, factories, in parks, by rivers or on boats, on farms.