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4th Study Session

New, Successful Study Session

In October 2001 the International Federation of Hard Of Hearing Young People (IFHOHYP) in cooperation with the Council of Europe held a study session aimed at educating and informing European organisations working for young hard of hearing.
The subject of the study session was "Knowledge Transfer - putting young hard of hearing on the map of Europe" and the idea was to teach the participants how to make a campaign for their organisations - and in this process use the participants own knowledge and experience to create new and unique knowledge. This should be of benefit for both IFHOHYP and the participants own organisation.

The Participants
There were a total of 29 participants, including the team responsible for the study session, from over 11 different countries. Besides this two external trainers were helping in running the session. The study session lasted one week, filled with work, lectures and exercises from early morning to late evening.

The Process
In the beginning of the week the focus was on defining the reasons behind doing a campaign for a hard of hearing organisation. Here the participants discussed what it does mean to be hard of hearing - you can read more about this in another article in this newsletter - but common comments were about problems with subtitling, getting work and being accepted as an equal members of society.

The next item on the Agenda was to connect these experiences with ideas on how to change them. In other words: How to inform the surrounding society about the needs and existence of hard of hearing young people. The aim was to develop a general framework, which could connect the participants' personal experiences with the tools to be introduced in the last part of the study session. In order to achieve this goal several methods was deployed - one of these was "Open Space Technology"; a way of working and organising workgroups that differs from most conventional conceptions.

Winners! Picture taken by Andrea from ItalyGood company. Picture taken by Andrea from Italy

Launching the third stage
To ignite the third and final stage of the study session two professors were invited. Dr. Dainora Grundey was professor in PR and Dr. Dmitri Gavra was expert in marketing. They gave a very deep and extensive lecture on the art of PR and marketing. The lecture was perhaps a bit too long, but gave anyway some good ideas of what to consider if you are thinking of launching a PR or marketing campaign. Especially the points about target groups were interesting. Very often people tend to see all society as one target group - this can be right, but making a campaign or some kind of a PR-event that is interesting for all is nearly impossible.
One solution is to be more specific about who you want to target - e.g. people riding on red bikes or something different. Being specific makes it more easy to design the Campaign.

In the last two days of the study session the participants were given the task of designing different types of campaigns and examples of PR-events. One group had e.g. to consider how a youth organisation can design an internet homepage (see p. 11), so that the target groups - in this case young hard of hearing people looking for information about the organisation and also people interested in learning more about the impact of a hearing disability - can find the required information they were looking for. Another group was designing a exhibition and a third was working on how to organise a press conference.

Picture of Francesca from ItalyBogdan and Matthias. Picture taken by Andrea from Italy

The long term Impact
It is the hope of the organising team and IFHOHYP that the knoowledge from the study session will be used in the different organisations and that the experiences learned where will be returned to the international work, so other organisations can benefit from it.
One of the main lessons must be that every organisation should use PR and marketing when they plan any activity. Every activity can more or less be of interest for others and should be used as a tool for promoting the ideas and aims of the organisation behind the activity. And that is can be done are the campaign in Lithuania a good example of. So it going to be exiting to see what the people attending the study session can pull of now and in the time to come. But thanks to everyone for a great time in Strasbourg.

Niels-Henrik M. Hansen from Denmark

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