Dafina Morina is working on a prototype which would help blind people to have better access to the Museum of Kosovo, where she works as part of the Designathon Works training in Pristina Kosovo. Dafina is one of a team of curators at the museum in Pristina where they share the cultural artefacts and contribute to developing the identity of a country, which is only 10 years old.
Thanks to Dr. Dennis and Dr. Julia Watkins, Julia is the former President of the American University in Bulgaria, who connected us (at Designathon Works) with the team at the museum, we spent three days together with, the team of curators and the museum educators, teachers from the European School of Kosovo and children from Pristina.
Most museums presumably share the history of the country and extrapolate to the future. But what if your country was born out of conflict and has been only recently established? What we learn was that the museum see’s it’s role to cretae the future and who better to collaborate with? Children of course. And so we found ourselves, myself and Ina Conkic, sharing our Designathon Works method, working with the children of Pristina and imagining how our design thinking and maker education method could help them achieve their aims.
The first step was to train the educators and museum staff in the method and test it with local children. The first day is all about the adults, through a “Learning by doing’ process, peppered with background infromation and some theory, they design, build and present their own inventions. Myself and Ina were suitably impressed by their technical skills, everyone was comfortable striping wires, connecting motors and constructing their designs. In Holland it usually takes considerably more convincing! In good MakerEd fashion they didn’t want to stop. At the day end reflection the teachers and museum educators shared that they loved the approach and would very much want children in Kosovo to have this learning experience too.
On day two, together we led a group of children through the same process. In groups the children designed and built prorotypes for mobility issues in the city, most chose to tackle either the air pollution in the city, which is quite a problem due to the nearby coal mines, or mobility challenges of the elderly.
The ideas included a smart filter to clean the air of co2 and smog, a special electric vehicle for elderly ladies to go shopping and above you see the happy creators of a hot air ballon to avoid traffic jams.
Now, going forward the next steps are to go through the program options we discussed to see what’s possible and how the museum can continue to create the future with the children of Kosovo.
To be continued!