Burst your Bubble. By Ilse Wouters and Ineke Hurkmans

On Thursday 21 September, the kick-off of Burst your Bubble will take place in Eindhoven. Initiators Ineke Hurkmans and Ilse Wouters will be building bridges between locals and internationals. In their own special way, they are calling on them to step out of their bubbles and meet each other. Why? Because this is a valuable exercise for those who feel lonely. And there are more and more people who feel that way, according to Ilse and Ineke.  

Ilse and Ineke, can you briefly introduce yourselves for those who don’t yet know you?

I’m Ineke, an Eindhoven-based entrepreneur and founder of Jump Movement. I always work on projects that promote connections, self-organisation and self-empowerment. For organisations, these often involve innovative issues that deal with people. In the social field, they are often about inclusion, empowerment, innovation in the labour market, and more connections between different groups of people.

I’m Ilse Wouters. Theatre maker, trainer, entrepreneur and owner of the Ilse Wouters Academy in Eindhoven. I provide training in giving presentations, team dynamics and storytelling. I’ve also been doing theatre with people from all over the worldfor years. The Academy has become a kind of meeting place for internationals. With my theatre background, I work on behavioural change in a playful, practical and highly effective way. Theatre is a powerful connector.

How did Burst your Bubble come about?

Burst your Bubble was born out of a request from the municipality of Eindhoven to develop a project that could respond to the topic of loneliness. We discovered that a large group of people in Eindhoven often feel lonely. We chose to connect internationals and locals. This is a link that is still too often missing.

What is the strength of your collaboration?

We are both very creative, have lots of energy, and we like to think outside the box. We were able to join forces on this project – with Ilse taking care of the theatrical component and with Ineke as the project leader. She provides heart-tugging connections with her interactive Jump Movement conversation method.

Why is loneliness an important issue?

The figures show that loneliness is a growing issue. In Eindhoven, more than 50% of residents regularly experience loneliness. This has major implications for people, their environment and the city.

Who in particular is Burst your Bubble for?

This version of Burst your Bubble is especially for anyone living in the Eindhoven region who has come here from another country. So we’re there for the internationals and for the locals.

What does the programme look like?

We’ll start with a kick-off at Ilse Wouters Academy where we’ll experience interactive theatre. Everyday issues that internationals and locals experience due to the (lack of) connection will be included. Light-hearted, approachable and fun.

A trial run for the Jump Movement conversation method is also on the agenda. This will then be organised 3 more times, so people can have multiple exchanges with each other. Those three evenings are open to everyone.

At the end, there’ll be a ‘Train the trainer’ session for anyone who wants to learn to be facilitators themselves and perhaps collaborate for the next series.

Burst your Bubble can also be booked for organisations that want to offer this tailor-made programme for their own people.

And why does your approach work?

We’re shining the light on a powerful topic in a light-hearted way. This isn’t a high-stakes story, but one based on everyday experiences. It’s how participants get to know themselves and others. Connections emerge and worlds open up.

And lastly, where can interested parties go to apply?

To burstyourbubble.nl. There are 80 spots available for the kick-off, so be quick.

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