Why ‘Signs’? And why do they go North?

The project “Signs” Goes North is based on the successful Signs methodology developed and piloted during the previous projects Signs in the City (2005-2007) and Beyond Signs in the City (2008 – 2010). These two projects were carried out in under the Lifelong Learning Programme of the European Commission in several cities of Southern and Central European countries. The main concept of the “Signs” projects is that city signs provide an easy, visual and clear way to promote language and culture while they also provide excellent material for language learning in ‘real life’ situations.

In the coming two years, the ‘Signs’ project goes to five Northern cities – Rotterdam in The Netherlands, Söderhamn and Bollnäs in Sweden, Vejle in Denmark and Reykjavik in Iceland and will promote the learning of Dutch, Swedish, Danish and Icelandic languages respectively.

 

“Signs” goes North will create an innovative model to promote cultural diversity and social inclusion. It will use visual representations (photography of city signs, videos of everyday life) and storytelling to introduce refugees and newly arrived migrants to the city’s local languages and cultures and in parallel to introduce the local population to the language and culture of the refugees and migrants.

Aims

To provide refugees and newly arrived migrants with necessary means to communicate with others beyond their own group; 

To help refugees to adapt to a place of arrival easily, efficiently and effectively;

To develop a learning model fostering respect and understanding for diversity, intercultural competencies and values.

Outcomes

Further development of the existing Signs Methodology and Training Program, involving new methods that correspond to the target group specifics - refugees and newly arrived migrants.

Learning model ‘Feel the city – share the feeling’, that includes various activities: building of project groups locally; selecting places of interest and linguistic and cultural themes in the respective city; organizing workshops to produce together the project materials: photography of city signs, selection of linguistic and cultural materials, video shooting etc.

Digital stories of cities and migrants who already have experienced the integration process in Sweden, The Netherlands and Iceland. There will be at least 3 stories from each city from as many different cultures as possible.

“Signs in the city” City and Language books for the hosting cities and languages (resp. Swedish, Dutch, Danish and Icelandic), containing photography of city signs and related survival vocabulary, language and culture guidelines and facts, tips for communication etc.