Welcome Dear Visitor!
You are now at the online educational platform of the IRIS project dedicated to the exploration of intimacy, relationships, interculturality in the lives of young people and youth workers. Do these words seem abstract to you? In fact, they refer to quite ordinary experiences:

  • A young man is shocked when he sees women initiating flirt for the first time in another country. He wonders whether this behaviour is cultural or personal.
  • A Senegalese student is worried because he did not execute properly the French greeting ritual of kissing on the cheek
  • A young man participant in a training offers a gift to a female youth worker, she’s wondering whether or not she should accept it, and what would be the meaning of accepting or declining.

So, if you’re interested in exploring these issues, this platform is for you. And this section offers you a compass so you can navigate it easily. Below we start with a glossary, so we share the way we define some key concepts. Then we briefly introduce the different sections of the platform.

Cultural diversity in intimacy and relationships
Book of situations
Skills to connect
Book of good proximity
Skills for intimacy

Short glossary on some key terms

Relationship: we’re not only interested in romantic passionate relationship, but also friendship and the relationships that can develop between young people and youth workers in the educational context

Intimacy: not an all or nothing phenomenon, but rather degrees of overlap between two or more people. Intimacy is created along what can be shared following mutual self-disclosure and lowering of boundaries.

Interculturality: awareness of the presence of a diversity of values, norms, representations and desire to work across these boundaries, reflecting on and negotiating our identities.

Youth work: more than the administrative definition what is interesting for us is to open our resources to young and less young animators, trainers, social workers who are involved with other young people with different cultural frames of references.

Cultural diversity in intimacy and relationships

This section invites to explore in what way cultural differences in conceptions of friendship, intimacy, relationship can lead to misunderstanding.  In particular we present the concept of “culture shock” and propose ways we can use this concept to work with cultural difference in a positive way.

Book of situations

Here we share with you stories that illustrate “culture shocks” of relationships. Each word you click on opens to a story about an adventure in creating intimacy and dealing with relationships across cultures.  Each story is analysed with the method of “critical incidents” so we can understand in depth why they were such a challenge.

Skills to connect

In this section we share with you activities to develop your relational / emotional skills or those of the youth you work with.

 

Book of good proximity

This section invites youth workers to reflect on their perceptions of the right closeness or distance in their relationships with young people within the context of their professional role.  We propose activities to raise awareness of youth workers’ principles, expectations and practices while engaging and constructing their relationships with youngsters.

 

Skills for intimacy

In this section we dive into the exploration of “intimacy”, with a special focus on gender and sexuality from an intercultural perspective.  We propose ideas and activities to have a better understanding of questions such as how cultural conceptions of “gender” influence the way we feel “woman” “man”, none of those or maybe both..

 

 

“The European Commission support for the production of this publication does not constitute an endorsement of the contents which reflects the views only of the authors, and the Commission cannot be held responsi­ble for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.”