SOLIS – Developing wellbeing and social inclusion: achieving success through understanding of cultural diversity

2020-2023

Funder: Erasmus+ Strategic Partnership for Innovation

Value: € 345,442 total budget; €54,026 to our research team.

Partners : 
Led by LOUGHBOROUGH UNIVERSITY, UK (PI Dr Antonia Liguori)

APNED (Turkey) 
KONSULENT Øystein Samnøen (NORWAY) 
EUROPEAN SOCIAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP and INNOVATIVE STUDIES (Lithuania) 
RESEARCH PATHS (Greece)
ACROSSLIMITS ltd (Malta) 
ASSOCIAZIONE PEOPLE HELP THE PEOPLE (Italy) 
EUROPEAN LEARNING CENTRE (Spain)

Central to cohesive and non-discriminatory education within Europe is the core objective of social inclusion; being undermined by a lack of understanding of conflict-related immigration, wider migration, disability and different ideals – such as tensions created by the Brexit debate. SOLIS is about creating a sense of belonging and a right to be included, whatever the student background, by exploring the nexus of wellbeing, inclusion and diversity to eliminate bullying and reduce early school leavers that continue to be excluded within future employment opportunities – identified in European Commission 2020 strategies for reducing share of early school leavers under 10%, leading to increased employment.

The SOLIS project is a whole school approach, to develop a wide-scope e-learning platform with modules addressing core challenges within cultural diversity and discrimination, no matter the reason, helping students increase empathy for their differences and understanding of common ground, through interactive and collaborative activities such as digital storytelling.
The second digital output of the project is a mobile-friendly web platform, acting as an online portal to train the teachers to best facilitate the SOLIS modules and activities, with the help of a rich resource of case studies and videos of pilot sessions. The aim of this portal is to create excellence in facilitating, sustaining and growing the project beyond pilot areas.

Together these tools work to provide a framework whereby students can, in collaboration, share their story with their peers in a safe and stimulating environment, seeing diversity as positive and ultimately increasing wellbeing of all students. The use of digital storytelling as a tool to facilitate this is still a new and innovative concept in mainstream education and the SOLIS digital tools will project expert guidance on how to facilitate this learning towards the outcomes defined in the project. Helping students reflect on who they are, their values and relationships, and listening to their peers doing the same, strongly supports their development tasks as adolescents, allowing evolution of identity management, handling and building of new relationships and information processing, to be engaged together, to protect common values and enact a positive change in their social network. Promoting empathy, self-awareness
and understanding of different cultures, ideals and abilities can eliminate bullying and social exclusion, precursors for not succeeding in education. This early intervention of educators and in particular their application and use of the SOLIS methods, contents and digital tools are designed to ensure the positive and healthy development of their students.