Blaberon is a non-governmental and non-profit organization based in Zagreb, Croatia. It was founded by a group of students studying at the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Zagreb. The students now hold diplomas and PhD degrees of universities in Zagreb, Vienna, Munich and Exeter.
The primary goal of the organization is individual and political emancipation through reading, discussions, and informal education.
Since 2012 Blaberon has been organizing reading programs and workshops which foster reading that encourages critical thinking, tolerance and creativity. Blaberon’s programs are not one-time events but serious intellectual endeavors which go on for several months; the participants have to be well prepared in order to critically reflect on the work that is being discussed. All of Blaberon’s activities are free of charge for participants and open to the public.
Blaberon’s activities include
1. MOTOR OF CHANGE / MOTOR MIJENE:
A literary-political book club which targets students, graduates, activists, all readers interested in political literature i.e. politics of literature. It was launched in 2015 in cooperation with Goethe-Institut Croatia. Since then, a group of readers has been meeting once a month and discussing literary texts that are regarded as political or that are somehow related to political and social movements. The chronology of meetings, including book scans, is available here.
Workshop leader: Ivana Perica, independent researcher with a PhD in political theory at the University of Vienna.
2. BLACK BOX / CRNA KUTIJA:
A literary program at the Medveščak city library. The meetings have been taking place once a month since November 2014. The program has a strong focus on critical reading and critical thinking, especially on the ways in which the texts we read are connected to the wider societal issues. The participants include senior members as well as students, and this diversity, along with the fact that the attendants come from various professional backgrounds contribute to the quality and the scope of discussions. The list of books that have been read is available here.
Workshop leader: Marija Ott Franolić, independent researcher with a PhD in comparative literature at the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Zagreb.
3. LTSA: Listen, talk, spell, act (ERASMUS+ 2017-2019):
The project aims at raising awareness of preschool teachers and parents of the importance of reading to kindergarten children. The applicant organization is Kindergarten Medveščak from Croatia. Partner organizations include Turkish kindergarten Çukurova Anaokulu, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences (Department of Linguistics) from Croatia, NGO Blaberon from Croatia, NGO Divja misel from Slovenia, Kindergarten Šiaulių r. Kuršėnų lopšelis-darželis “Buratinas” from Lithuania and Italian kindergarten Istituto Comprensivo Fiano. The project will enable preschool teachers’ to achieve high quality skills and competences in the field of early reading and children to improve their abilities in the area of literacy and critical thinking. Due to poor statistics about reading achievements all over Europe, a big part of this project is the exchange of good praxis and experiences among different international partners which can result in new and innovative reading methods and strategies for enhancing early reading.
Further info in English is available here.
4. A COWBOY IN THE ZAGORJE HOTEL / KAUBOJ U HOTELU ZAGORJE: A literary program for students of Faculty of Teacher Education, University of Zagreb
At Blaberon we believe that it is important to educate the educators and therefore we have established this workshop for the future primary teachers. The aims of the workshop are to establish the students’ positive attitude to reading, and empower them to critically reflect on what they have read – both in oral and written forms. This program is a part of the course on beginners’ reading and writing at the same faculty.
Workshop leader: Marija Ott Franolić
1. READING LAB / LABORATORIJ ČITANJA: A literary program for small children at the Kindergarten “Medveščak.”
In 2015 and 2016 carefully picked children’s books were read to several groups of children aged 3-4 years, until they went to school. During the program they were expected to use new words, engage in discussions and in various language games that enhance their linguistic and cognitive developments. In 2017, these activities will be accompanied by age-appropriate and standardized linguistic tests of children’s vocabularies and abilities important for the development of reading skills. The linguistic research will be conducted by the team of scholars from the Linguistics Department of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences in Zagreb, before and after a reading cycle. This will allow the researchers to compare the results and see objectively to what extent and in what ways the regular reading to children affects their linguistic and broader cognitive developments.
The project homepage is here.
Project leader: Marija Ott Franolić
2. Cultures of reading, contexts of viewing. Participative education in human rights: In the school year 2012/13 Blaberon organized an EU project (program “Youth in action”). The project consisted of reading workshops for high-school students. The use of participative methods such as individual research, oral presentations, discussions and essay writing made it easier for the students to deal with different national, historical, and political contexts as well as to perceive how these are presented in various times, cultures and media. In the long run, knowledge and skills acquired in the project helped both participants and organizers to approach social and political practices as well as to acquire teaching and learning methods in a critical way and thus become active and responsible members of a democratic society.
Further info in English is available here.