This time, an administrative meeting for one of the strategic partnerships of VIEWS International took the VI office team to Bologna where Erasmus Plus projects, food, art and architecture met. “Young Urban Creative Inclusive Tours” or “City Tours” as we call it is a strategic partnership project between associations from Germany (coordinator) and partners from Italy, Turkey and Belgium. The project is funded by the Erasmus + / Youth programme and the aim is to make cities more accessible for visually impaired tourists.
The project partners had already started working on developing activities connected with accessible city tours for visually impaired people and organized its first learning training teaching activity in Berlin, Germany. Between June 3 – June 5, project partners came together again in Bologna, Italy to evaluate and discuss the learning points from the first LTTA (Learning, Training, Teaching Activityà and map out what needs to be done and improved for the future activities in Italy and Turkey respectively.
The project partners initiated the meeting with the reflections on questionnaires that were sent to the participants of the first activity of the project and went over the received feedback in order to assess the impact of the activity and plan improvements for the future. Based on the experiences of the coordinating organization, German Association for the Blind, the project partners discussed in detail ways to make the accessible city tours more inclusive by taking advantage of GPS technology. To this end, partners analyzed the outcomes of previous accessible city tours in Berlin and considered proposals such as making use of GPS apps and ensuring the audio quality of self-guided accessible city tours in order to increase the effectiveness of the future activities.
Following the administrative section of the transnational meeting, partners went on to contemplate new and creative ways that can immerse visually impaired tourists in a new city and for this purpose visited the International museum and library of music of Bologna to do an on-the-spot case study. The Music Museum of Bologna is home to the nine rooms of the exhibition, which illustrate about six centuries of the history of European music with more than eighty antique musical instruments most of which can be touched and explored by visitors. The project partners toured this museum and checked its accessibility to test whether it could be a suitable venue to be included among one of the possible activities for an accessible city tour.
The projects that VIEWS International is a part of not only aim to promote responsible citizenship and enshrine European values, but also offer opportunities on the cultural sphere. Thus, it could be only fitting to reserve our last words and impressions of this transnational meeting for the city of Bologna, the intersection of art, architecture and food which the project partners sampled all during their stay. Home to the oldest university in Europe and famous for its towers, churches and lengthy porticoes, Bologna was a feast on the eyes and other senses with its rich cuisine, wide arches, and iconic red Spanish tiled rooftops.
It was a delightful coincidence that the transnational project meeting took place in Bologna and after a productive reunion, project partners returned home to start working on the concrete actions that came out of this administrative gathering with the help of delicious cups of espresso and cappuccino.