Featured People: Meet the 2017 Idea Makers
15 Dec 2016
Entitled “Moving Communities”, the third edition of the Idea Camp will take place in Madrid from 1 to 3 March 2017, and is co-produced by the Connected Action for the Commons hub Platoniq and the City of Madrid. We are very thrilled to present you the fifty “Idea Makers” who have been selected to participate in the Idea Camp. Here you can read their short biographies and have a glance at the ideas they will be working on during the Idea Camp.
Nada Ahmed Egypt
Nada Ahmed is a human rights lawyer and researcher in Egypt. Her passions include screenwriting, handcrafts and social projects. She received a Master’s degree from Paris West University Nanterre La Défense in Human Rights and is now working at a law firm in Cairo. In her spare time, she works on an online handcraft gallery and writes screenplays. She is currently working on training young girls with Down’s Syndrome who will be the team for her idea submitted to the Idea Camp: selling biscuits in bazaars.
Adults with special needs cafe
This idea involves creating a safe and friendly environment for adults with special needs where they can learn, achieve, earn money and socialise. Cafes are great places for social interaction and we, as a team, thought about using this space to create social impact regarding how the community deals with adults with special needs. Not only would we be creating a safe working environment for them, giving them a sustainable source of income and fulfilment, but we would also indirectly make them part of society and change how people perceive them.
Kholoud Al Ajarma Palestine
Kholoud Al Ajarma is a Palestinian anthropologist whose primary research interests centres on refugee studies, international migration, visual culture, knowledge production and immigration in Latin America and the Middle East. She is also an award-winning photographer, filmmaker refugee-rights activist and human rights trainer. She has worked with Palestinian refugees in Palestine, the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, Europe and Latin America. In Palestine, she led projects in the field of refugees and youth empowerment including the “Refugee Youth Forum”, an innovative platform for active youth participation within human rights research, media, conflict resolution and social justice. She currently works and studies in the field of anthropology and religion between the Netherlands, Morocco and Palestine.
By developing the creative techniques and skills of independent media and arts, this project will educate participants and enhance their political and social participation. They will produce tools that they will subsequently use for wider based civil society activism, advocacy and campaigning in the full defence of rights, specifically focusing on refugee rights.
Agnes Karolina Bakk Hungary
Agnes Karolina Bakk graduated from Babes-Bolyai University, Romania with a degree in theatre studies and Hungarian. After several detours and adventures, she started working as a project manager for various companies and institutions including: Jurányi Incubator House, Góbi Dance Company, Verzio Human Rights Documentary Film Festival and Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design in Budapest, Hungary. She co-founded The Eye of the Needle Art Foundation, which offers project coordination support for NGOs. In 2015, the foundation was part of the organising committee of the IETM (international network for contemporary performing arts) meeting in Budapest. In 2016, she started a performing arts & new technologies blog: zip-scene.com. She is currently a PhD fellow at Moholy-Nagy Art and Design University, focusing on performing arts and interactive technologies. http://zip-scene.com
The Photography Department of Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design (in partnership with the Ulster University in Belfast) and the Royal Academy of Fine Arts, Antwerp is organising transdisciplinary workshops called DeFence for photographers and professionals in social science to develop a social research methodology. The aim of the methodology is to study communities that have been divided by real or imaginary fences since the time of ‘Big Migrations’ and to bring them closer to each other by using photography as a mediation tool. The methodology is under construction but we are currently seeking opportunities and partners with expertise in social studies, public art or community work to continue the implementation.
Beatriz Barreiro Carril Spain
Beatriz Barreiro Carril is a researcher and lecturer in international law. She is very interested in the links between this discipline and other social sciences and in applied research with a particular focus on human rights – specially cultural rights. She has participated in relevant international UNESCO conferences and was guest of the Department of Law & Anthropology (Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology, Halle), visiting researcher at the Institute of Public International and European Law (University of Gottingen) and lecturer at Carlos III University, Madrid. She is currently a lecturer at Rey Juan Carlos University in Spain. She has collaborated with many civil society and public institutions. She is a member of the association ConArte International, directed by Gemma Carbo, together with whom she has developed the idea for this camp.
Cultural Rights are Human Rights: Arts and Education for Inclusion
Social cohesion of European societies is at risk. We believe that misconceptions concerning cultural identities is an essential factor. If economic factors linked to the financial crisis are important, social reactions responding to this crisis very often identify “the other” as the source of current problems. Growing populism uses simplistic arguments allocating an artificial, homogenous and static identity to “the other”. The only sustainable path to constructing inclusive societies is through the acknowledgement of “the other” in all his/her human dignity, including his/her cultural identity.
We want to contribute to building this path through our idea, which consists of developing a conceptual reflection with a practical application that serves two interlinked goals: First, the development of a framework for an inclusive and effective teaching kit on “cultural rights” and the designing of training workshops for teachers. Secondly, the discovery of new ways for designing intercultural artistic education workshops enabling interactions between children of diverse cultures.
Maddy Bartlett United Kingdom
Maddy Bartlett’s background is in public engagement and environmental communications. She has managed several large-scale collaborative projects, including Bristol’s European Researchers’ Night and Festival of Nature. She has three roles in this area: her full-time job is at Bristol Natural History Consortium, where they develop large-scale activities encouraging people to take action for nature; she is a Trustee of Avon Wildlife Trust, the largest local charity working to protect wildlife in the West of England; and she is Chair of Bristol Nature Network – an innovative project connecting over 1,500 young wildlife enthusiasts across the region. She is passionate about nature, wildlife and the outdoors, and believes that people everywhere need to enhance their connections with the natural world in order to protect it. http://www.bnhc.org.uk
“New Waves” will see young refugees developing a film or arts project to express their views on the natural environment and current environmental concerns, to be presented at the UK’s largest free nature festival. The group will then work with environmental communications professionals to create an online campaign, supporting other refugees across Europe to express their environmental concerns and to reconnect with the natural world. The idea will empower and enable young refugees, offer skills development opportunities in various areas and open dialogue within both local and international communities. People who understand the environment, care for the environment and those who care for it will go on to take action to protect it. This idea will not only support the ongoing protection of our planet, but will also give young refugees a voice across Europe whilst positioning them to take real action for nature.
Yosser Belghith Tunisia
Yosser Belghith is a feminist and was chosen as a female leader in the programme of the United States Department of State “SUSI on Women’s leadership” to represent Tunisia along with four other Tunisian women. Her journey as a feminist started when she was a child – from representing children at a regional level to becoming a member in the Child Council of Medenine through to being elected to the children’s parliament, where she represented the children of her hometown in the Tunisian Parliament. She is currently studying Business Administration with a Major in Marketing and a Minor in Finance. She is due to graduate in 2017, after which she will devote herself to the OurGhema project described below.
My idea is to create a mixture of co-working space (the first one in the south of Tunisia) and cultural space. The latter will provide the tools, workshops and environment for young people to learn about entrepreneurship, art and culture. This will help to inspire a new generation with an innovative, creative and open mindset – different from the mindset we have inherited from our grandfathers that refuses anything different and new. With this new space, we will offer the opportunity for people to BE, to change and to act differently – to taste all of the differences they were afraid of and to understand that it is OK to be different. It is OK to start your own project and not wait for the government to provide you with a job. It is OK if you want to paint, play music, write novels rather than become a doctor or an engineer…
Mirna Berberović Slovenia
Mirna Berberović has a background in cultural sociology. She has been working as a journalist at Radio Student Ljubljana in Slovenia as well as writing columns and creating radio shows on topics related to the questions of gender, film and culture in general for other online portals. After studying for her Master’s degree, she was a researcher at the Faculty of Arts in Ljubljana, working on projects related to women in politics and homophobia in Slovenia. During the refugee crisis, she was a volunteer at the Slovenia-Austria border helping refugees on the move. Currently she is working as the Head of the Project Office at Radio Student, where she is looking for ways to include migrants in Slovenian society.
The basic idea behind “Migrant Voices” is to offer refugees from the recent migrant wave space on the airwaves where their voices can be heard through a specific migrant radio broadcast on Radio Student Ljubljana. The radio show will be hosted by migrants and refugees themselves. By creating a specific migrant radio show that will be aired once a month in English, Slovenian and different languages spoken by the migrants themselves, the refugees will be able to present their own culture (art, music, habits, socio-political situation in their home country etc.) to Slovenian audiences. The migrants will also be able to share their experiences of living in Slovenia and explain their situation and problems first hand. This could help the Slovenian audience to understand the migrant position better and hopefully create more solidarity. We believe this would be very empowering for the migrants, since it would help their voices to be heard and it could bring them closer to the Slovenian people.
Alessio Berré France
Based in France for four years, Alessio Berré has a PhD in Italian literature and is now training to become an Italian teacher in French secondary school. He has always articulated his academic activity with political activism. Over the last few years, he has taken part to the Ventimiglia no borders camp in summer 2015 and then joined the Collectif Soutien Migrantes 13, a collective that started in Marseille in September 2015 with European and non-European activists who were struggling for freedom of movement. He is now building a multidisciplinary team in order to develop the “Casa Meteca” project with people from different domains (self-organised migrants reception; legal support of migrants; hostel management; organisation of cultural events and educational workshops).
Our idea is to create a hostel in Marseille where tourists and migrants are welcomed by the local community, based in the neighbourhood. The main activities of the hostel will be: migrants-reception, tourists-reception and organisation of recreational and cultural activities dedicated to, or made by neighbourhood residents. Our aim is to develop a small ecosystem, where these activities can nurture and support each other, socially and economically.
“Casa Meteca” will be a good way to create new places of solidarity and to develop tourist activity that is not involved in the gentrification process. On the one hand, we are facing the rise of hate towards migrants, fostered by the fear of losing the identity of “our” cities. On the other hand, the tourist industry and property speculation are increasingly transforming the look of the cities where we live. Finally, the safeguarding of tourist business serves often as an excuse for rejecting migrant’s reception policies. “Casa Meteca” could become a concrete example, reproducible in the whole European territory, through which we could contribute to undermining this kind of discourse.
Dimitra Billia Greece
With a background in architecture (Aristotle University of Thessaloniki) and music, Dimitra Billia works at the intersection of design, digital media and performance practices, as an artist, non-formal educator and project manager. Her curiosity about the way people interact with one another through technology led her to the creation of interactive music installations, which have been shown in Thessaloniki (Dynamo project- space) and Athens (BIOS Romantso, Hellenic-American Union). Recently, she participated as a performer in “As One” project – a NEON and Marina Abramović Institute collaboration – at the Benaki Museum of Athens.
She is currently a fellow of “START – Create Cultural Change” – a programme of the Robert Bosch Stiftung conducted in cooperation with the Goethe-Institut Thessaloniki and the German Association of Sociocultural Centres, for “Prespa’s Stories” project.
Engage Prespa’s Youth
Megali Prespa Lake is the border triangle between Greece, Albania and Macedonia. Across the three neighbouring countries, Prespa is a remote rural area, relatively poor in terms of access to a variety of cultural activities and to alternative educational methods for young people. Its cross-border communities also share the same natural resources, but due to the lack of infrastructure, they are quite alienated from one another.
This project seeks to open up new possibilities for intercultural exchange across the neighbouring communities. It is a participatory media lab that creates a common space for young people in the cross-border area, where they can reflect on their own needs, experiences and challenges. Its goal is to empower the cross-border youth to share their vision for the society they wish to live in and to involve local communities in decision-making processes concerning their young people.
By raising the voices of young audiences from a cross-border area, this idea stands up for a more inclusive society at these times of identity crisis.
Anna Bitkina Russia
Anna Bitkina is an independent curator, Director and Co-founder of The Creative Association of Curators TOK (www.tok-spb.org), an art organisation that conducts interdisciplinary projects in the fields of contemporary art, design and social sciences. TOK’s projects have a strong social component and deal with current issues that are widely discussed both in Russia and internationally. In her curatorial practice, she is interested in issues related to the concept of public space in post-Soviet Russia, as well as in perceptions, understanding and mechanisms of the use of public spaces and open areas by residents of post-Soviet cities. In her projects, she explores the changing role of cultural workers and possibilities of creative practices in different social spheres. www.tok-spb.org
Debates of Division
At this time of political crisis and social unrest between Russia and Ukraine, it is important for both nations to keep up their relationships and to resist becoming pawns in the political games and propaganda. The project “Debates of Division” aims to bring Russians and Ukrainians together to reflect on the current political conditions, as well as on common history and common culture. “Debates on Division” is a research-based performance developed by artist Gluklya (Natalia Pershina- Yakimanskaya) and curator Anna Bitkina. Presented in the format of a TV talk show, the performance will unfold around several stories of local residents as they talk about pieces of clothing that are significant to their experience connected to Russian-Ukrainian relations. In her projects, Gluklya often uses clothes as a tool to build a link between art and everyday life. Addressing the personal stories through performance participants, the project aims to analyse the relationship between the private and the public, exposing the conflict between the inner world of individuals and the political conflict that has affected their personal lives.
Rasha Botros Egypt
Rasha Botros graduated from the Faculty of Arts, Department of French Language and is currently studying cultural development as a graduate student. She started literary writing in 2007 and has published many articles and short stories online. She also works in the development of cultural policies and plans for people with disabilities. She has experience in managing cultural projects in the theatre and fine arts. She also has experience of discovering the abilities of people with disabilities and working with different disabilities (physical, sensory, deaf, visual, mental) to develop their skills using arts.
“Be Friend” is the initiative of a group of friends with disabilities in Egypt. It aims to be a community and friendly environment for people with disabilities, and to respect different cultures. The project is working on the development of community awareness to promote the rights of people with disabilities, and to change the stereotypes about them. It aims to treat people with disabilities without discrimination and to help them to integrate into various fields of life, especially helping to remove environmental obstacles in order to be available and accessible to people with disabilities and to help improve their living conditions. www.facebook.com/BeAFriend2014/
Yana Buhrer Tavanier Bulgaria
Yana Buhrer Tavanier is Co-founder and Director of Fine Acts, an international organisation bridging human rights and art. She is also Deputy-Chair of the Bulgarian Helsinki Committee, the country’s leading human rights group; Co-founder and Board Member of TimeHeroes.org, a do-more-good platform building volunteering culture in developing societies; and expert member of Amnesty International’s Europe & Central Asia Regional Oversight Group. Before that, she was an award- winning journalist. Her educational background includes BA in Communication and MA in Political Science from Sofia University, Bulgaria; and Executive Education at Harvard University, Yale University and Oxford University. Yana is a TED Senior Fellow, a Young Global Leader of the World Economic Forum and was named one of 50 people who will change the world in WIRED’s Smart List 2012. http://fineacts.co/
Matchmaking tool for activists & artists
The goal of this project is to create an online global matchmaking platform for advocates and artists, enabling both parties to connect and collaborate. Ultimately, the platform will give advocates new instruments to fight for human rights protection in a climate of a growing recession of democratic values. Art is an important campaign and advocacy tool that can galvanise support for legislative or policy change or shed light on important problems that are hidden from sight. Human rights are under threat globally. To encourage the advancement and protection of human rights, to stimulate action and make a tangible difference, information needs to be presented in new ways that rise above the endless flow of data, and give us space to connect and contemplate. In this context, I see the idea of facilitating novel cross-sectoral collaborations for creating socially engaged art as highly relevant on a European scale, and with great potential for impact.
Adam Carter The Netherlands
Adam Carter was born and raised in New Zealand into a Fijian/English family. He spent the first 26 years of his life in New Zealand with the exception of two overseas experience years in Canada/USA/UK. For the last five years, he has lived and worked in Melbourne, Australia as a youth worker for the local government, developing programmes with/for minority groups to empower them. It was in Melbourne that he met his current partner who is Dutch and they decided to move to Amsterdam in early 2016. Since arriving in Amsterdam, he has been working with an organisation called Favela Painting, collaborating with refugees to run large-scale public art projects and creative workshops. His interests include music (mainly soul/jazz/Reggae), sport and podcasts.
“Project One” is an online platform that will primarily be in the form of a smartphone app with a secondary supporting website. The platform aims to connect people and organisations in the public, private and government sectors with refugees who are looking for work and/or volunteer opportunities. Refugees, both those seeking asylum and those who have had their asylum request approved, will be able to build an online profile outlining their qualifications, languages spoken, work skills etc. Locals will then be able to search “Project One” for someone suited to a particular task and contact them directly. Tasks can include everything from a local couple needing help to move house to an organisation needing a trained photographer. This centralised space allows for both locals and refugees to take their lives into their own hands and reach out to each other independently, eliminating the need to go through any particular person or organisation. This instils a sense of empowerment in both refugees and locals.
Sabine Choucair Lebanon
Sabine Choucair from Beirut, Lebanon is a performer who leads storytelling, clown and group therapy workshops for marginalised communities around the world. She is the Founder of Clown Me In and the Artistic Director of The Caravan, a street theatre project based on true stories from Syrian refugees that has toured in Lebanon and Tunisia and is planning to travel to Europe in 2017. http://www.thecaravanlb.wordpress.com
The Caravan from Lebanon to Europe
“The Caravan” is a project that places the voices of Syrian refugees at the heart of a street theatre performance, through recorded storytelling audio. It is a participatory street performance that has toured Lebanon and Tunisia, incorporating recorded true stories and taking audience members beyond the headlines and into other people’s lives.
In “The Caravan”, magic happens when every individual story becomes universal. We believe that this show could make a real impact in Europe, where tensions and misunderstandings involving refugees are happening in many neighbourhoods. Initiatives such as ours – designed to break the vicious circle of ignorance, fear and hatred – are so important to ensure the social integration of refugees into the communities where they now live across Europe.
We know that street theatre interventions in carefully identified locations of tension can bridge gaps between people in a peaceful way. We know that hearing personal stories can lead people to rethink their attitudes and assumptions. That is why we would like to take the Caravan and European audiences on this journey.
Mustafa Dar Alaraj Palestine
Mustafa Dar Alaraj was born and raised in Aida Refugee Camp in the West Bank, Palestine. His family lost their home in the 1948 Nakba and since then three generations of his family have lived their lives as refugees. As a child, he always participated in community projects in the refugee camp. As an adult, he has become the coordinator of some of these projects involving music and dance, as he feels it is his duty to the younger members of the camp. He studied social work in Bethlehem and has worked for seven years as a fixer and translator for international journalists. He is currently employed as the coordinator of Bethlehem Museum.
“Volunteer Palestine” is a volunteer travel organisation established by refugees from Palestine that aims to promote education and to heighten global awareness and understanding. The aim is to focus the programmes within refugee camps in Palestine so they can really experience “life within a refugee camp” and get to know the people, stories and culture: We want volunteers to bring their skills and expertise to their communities with a willingness to learn from the people they are working with and share their stories back home. We want to develop a symbiotic relationship between the host communities and the volunteers so that we can advocate for the concept of global citizenship and spread and promote greater equality, solidarity and sustainability for refugees throughout Palestine, Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq and all countries that have been devastated by war and forced into exile. Palestine is unique insofar as refugee camps have been developing over a 50-year period and the mistakes that have been made in Palestine are in danger of being repeated in Europe. We believe that our project can help avoid those mistakes. www.volunteerpalestine.com
Afra Dekie Belgium
Afra Dekie is a visual anthropologist (doctoral researcher) interested in exploring the ways “illegality” is being lived by people without papers, particularly through exclusion from political, social and urban life but also through exclusion from creating a “sense of home, (well-)being, and place” within their lives. She is interested in the use of visual and participatory methods for empowering and “making visible” people without papers, as well as merging academic research, social work and visual expression in seeking social change towards a more equal and open society. She currently lives in Brussels, where she also works as a social worker for an NGO, supporting people without papers.
Making visible people without papers
This project forms a participatory project, making use of creative visual methods (film, photography, mapping), seeking to give visibility to people without papers who live among and with us in European cities, yet are often invisible and largely excluded (or considered “non-existent”). In spite of their irregular status, these people make use of the city (by navigating the city as well as taking part in city life) and should hence be considered as urban residents whose voices matter, and need to be heard, when aiming to create a more diverse, tolerant and inclusive urban society. This project hopes to counter and criticise the “illegalisation” and criminalisation of people without papers by giving expression to their personal stories as well as paying attention to the complexity of migration as a humane matter instead. The project will take place in the city of Brussels and will include visual and creative methods (including interventions in public space), ethnography, interviews and focus groups.
Joana Dias Portugal
Joana Dias is an artist, activist and social educator. She studied painting at the Fine Arts Faculty, University of Lisbon and completed a Master’s degree in Intercultural Education at the Institute of Education, University of Lisbon, Portugal. She has been developing research and work about inclusive education because she believes that education is the key for a more balanced and democratic society. She is currently working with the Academia Cidadã (The Citizenship Academy), a non-profit association based in Lisbon that aims to promote active citizenship and the empowerment of people and organisations in order to deepen democracy. They are developing a project about community building in a social neighbourhood in Lisbon where common values play an important role for community organising and social cohesion. http://academiacidada.org/
Squat a River
Following the 20th century trend of squatting houses, the 21st century brings a new urgency: squatting rivers. Urban communities have been losing their rivers as a common good, due to unsustainable economic models. We need to take urgent action to save this longstanding relationship between communities and their waterways.
Squatting a river involves just a few steps:
Think about a river whose relationship with the community is in jeopardy.
Look for active squatters.
Collaborate in the squatting movement.
Systematise all the knowledge and share it among others.
“Squat a River” is an R&D comprehensive learning tool that aims to show how a community can redeem a river for the common good. It will be available for free to anybody with the uncomfortable feeling that their community has lost a river and wants it back. “Squat a River” will raise awareness and recognise rivers as common goods in the urban context, at the same time as promoting a more cohesive and inclusive society.
Tuba Doğu Turkey
Tuba Doğu is an architect and researcher. She is a partner of UrbanTank (a design and thinking platform focusing on people-oriented and participatory urban environments) and a PhD candidate at IzTech, Turkey. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Architecture from Middle East Technical University in Ankara, including a one-year educational experience at Università Di Bologna, Italy. Following her undergraduate studies, she completed a Master of Design Science degree at the University of Sydney, Australia and specialised in sustainable housing strategies for low-income settlements. She has worked in several architectural firms and NGOs in Turkey, Brazil and Australia. Being passionate about alternative spatial practices and human-related environments in urban spaces, she has travelled widely through Central America and Asia Pacific. http://urban-tank.org
Bridging Memories in Confronting Transition: A Platform of Remembrances
Anatolia has always been a home welcoming pluralities and harbouring multi-ethnicities belonging to different religions, cultures and traditions. Geographically it is a space of transition, facing endless community movements that continue to this day with the recent political turbulence in the East.
How do local communities respond to “others”? “Bridging Memories in Confronting Transition” focuses on the stories of “others” from the perspective of local communities. Through a collection of memories by the locals regarding communities in transition, the idea is to discover how local people approach the issue of transition by revealing memories related to their encounters with communities in transition.
The idea is to build solidarity between the two groups by building trust and acceptance, hence triggering equality by integrating moving communities through the dissemination of locals’ stories.
Elena Paola Dragonetti Germany
Elena Dragonetti studied psychology and worked as a social educator in Milan and Barcelona. Since graduating from university, she has been passionate about theatre and dance: in 2008, she started attending a three-year theatre professional programme at CRT-Milano. Since 2009, she has engaged in the management of theatre workshops and the creation of her solo and group performance projects, dealing with social and urban issues. In 2013 she moved to Berlin to attend the dance intensive programme at TanzFabrik, focusing on a somatic approach to movement, contemporary dance and improvisation. She is currently working in Berlin with Mobile Dance Company, leading workshops and performances in refugees shelters and in Milan with the cultural association TUMB TUMB. Her main interests are the relationship between body and space, architecture and the city. https://iosonosuper.com/
SUPER, the festival of peripheries
“SUPER” is a slow festival that promotes the act of listening and narrating the Milan peripheries by organising neighbourhood tours to meet with locally-rooted groups and organisations – more than 70 in 2016 alone – representing innovative models of urban, social and entrepreneurial development. “SUPER” aims to trace a crowdsourced image of the peripheries, deconstructing the stigmas and prejudices held against them by collecting and transmitting these voices and stories to a wider audience through the use of different formats (text, video, photography, performance). In 2017-18, “SUPER” will transform into an urban festival, documenting the outcomes of ten art/research projects with the goals of: (1) acknowledging the local capacity of re-imagining places and re-sizing cultural and economic processes, and (2) fostering the public administrators’ and private developers’ vision when dealing with the future of the city. “SUPER” seeks to question the traditional concept of city and citizenship and to express the need to redefine them with more inclusive and flexible meanings. “SUPER” was conceived by TUMB TUMB, a cultural association composed of a multidisciplinary group of professionals.
Shareen Elnaschie United Kingdom
Shareen Elnaschie is an architectural and urban designer and researcher with a focus on action research, participatory processes and inclusive integration strategies. The majority of her work over the last five years inhabits the messy grey area between humanitarian issues and sustainable development. Over the last year, she has been a regular volunteer for a Lesvos based NGO, Humanitarian Support Agency, which is where the idea for the Office of Displaced Designers originated. She is also a design educator teaching spatial design at foundation and postgraduate level in London, and she co-edits Cities+, a biannual publication exploring urban issues through specific changing themes.
Office of Displaced Designers
The “Office of Displaced Designers” is a collaborative skills-sharing and training platform for the co-production of knowledge. We predominantly work with refugees and migrants who either have a creative background in design or have an interest in learning new design-related skills. We collectively devise projects that are relevant to them and their interests, provide opportunities for co-learning and professional development, and help rebuild their portfolios, networks and self-esteem. All our projects aim to promote social cohesion in some way and we are also engaging with the local Greek community to provide new opportunities for integration.
We are currently developing a physical space where design can happen. Our office comprises a co- working space and small workshop. We also host complementary programmes in language and computer skills, which are run by volunteers and refugees themselves. www.displaceddesigners.org
Amal Farah Sweden
Amal Farah is a passionate and committed advocate of human rights and equality. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in International Politics and a Master’s in Human Rights & Social Justice. She is currently working on developing an idea around local participation and interreligious/intercultural dialogue that focuses on deepening democratic participation in multicultural communities, strengthening community voices in public debate and decision-making, and quelling the rise of extremism through dialogue and understanding. She has previously worked with integration, supporting refugee children as well as promoting women’s rights.
Democracy in Angered
There is a lack of dialogue between groups and sectors at Angered city district in Sweden. The idea behind this project is therefore to engage groups of citizens, as well as civil servants from different sectors, in joint communications about values in order to increase trust, understanding and learning in Angered community. The ambition is that the separate groups that are currently engaged in dialogue with the city develop a model for strengthening democracy in the city district together through knowledge, understanding and trust. By building relationships and finding ways for groups to talk about difficult issues, the fabric of democracy is strengthened. Such horizontal dialogue will be achieved through workshops about norms and values, through education in areas defined by the participants, and through study trips for inspiration, team building and knowledge exchange. Through these activities, the project hopes to build people’s capacity to act when they encounter antidemocratic ideas and behaviour.
Alison Harvey United Kingdom
Alison Harvey is a Lecturer in Media and Communication in the School of Media, Communication and Sociology at the University of Leicester, United Kingdom. Her teaching and research focuses on inclusivity in digital culture, with a specific emphasis on the challenges and opportunities presented by digital games. She has done five years of collaborative community research with women in games collectives in Canada, where she and her collaborators deployed feminist participatory action research methods to transform the inequitable game design scene in Montreal and Toronto. Inspired by this ongoing community work, she is eager to share some of the tools and insights they developed with new groups who may not have been exposed to the potential of digital games for social justice.
Promoting Social Justice for Migrant Com
My idea is to extend ongoing grassroots activist work in local communities, drawing on the potential of accessible game design tools to represent their experiences to broader Audiences. Marginalised communities – including people of colour, low-income groups, trans and genderqueer people, people with disabilities and women – have all used the unique storytelling tools of digital games to make their voices heard. My idea is to extend the creative possibilities of games for radical resistance to counteract negative representations of migration in Europe. I propose to create a toolkit of game design programmes, techniques, tools for distribution and example games to enable voices excluded from public debate to share their stories of migration in Europe. This is the first time accessible digital game tools will be used to engage social groups to foster inclusivity related to migration in Europe. The toolkit will provide the means to produce games, as well as accessible resources for storytelling with game design. It will allow people of varying abilities to engage with this powerful media form.
Bistra Ivanova Bulgaria
Bistra Ivanova is Co-founder and Chair of the Bulgarian NGO Multi Kulti Collective. She has been working for the integration of migrants and refugees, human rights and solidarity since 2011. She is an integration expert, researcher, country coordinator of the European Website on Integration of the European Commission, mentor, coach and speaker.
Some of Bistra’s awards include:
Woman of the Year – shortlisted (2016), Grazia magazine, Bulgaria;
Community Leader (2015-2016), ViabilityNet 2.0, Via Foundation, Czech Republic; – Global Shaper (2014-2015), World Economic Forum, Switzerland;
40 under 40 (2014), Darik Radio, Bulgaria;
Human of the Year – nomination (2014), Bulgarian Helsinki Committee;
Volunteer of the Year (2011), Astika Foundation, Bulgaria.
Multi Kulti Kitchen
“Multi Kulti Kitchen” was born in Sofia in 2011 as a local bottom up volunteer initiative for bringing people from different cultures together. It is all about empowering migrants and refugees who are often excluded from the public debate and to attract positive attention at a local level for a meaningful debate on solidarity so these two groups can become one – overcoming all sorts of barriers, discrimination and xenophobia. “Multi Kulti Kitchen” events usually take four hours and involve presentations, discussions, arts, music, dances, video screenings, workshops, tasting of authentic foreign food and drink and more! They are a starting point for more in-depth partnerships and friendships. “Multi Kulti Kitchen” was featured as an example of good practice by the European Commission and in 2015 grew to a social franchise in the seven biggest Bulgarian cities. NGO partners were selected, trained and funded to start transferring the model into their own local communities and they were all successful. http://multikulti.bg/
Pavla Jenková Czech Republic
Pavla Jenková is from the Czech Republic. She graduated from Charles University, Prague with a focus on gender and social work. For more than ten years, she worked in NGOs aimed at integrating immigrants. For the past two years, she has been working as project manager in one of the oldest Czech foundations. She is responsible for the advocacy programme and distributes grants. Two years ago, she co-founded an NGO to fight sexism and non-ethical advertising in public space. In her free time, she is also involved in different activism activities and voluntary work. www.reklamabezsexismu.cz
Silent voices no more!
Czech society is getting more radical because of a lack of knowledge about immigrants, who are often represented in the Czech media as objects rather than people. Society is introduced to an image of immigrants that immigrants themselves do not participate in. The main aim of this project, therefore, is to provide immigrants with a basic understanding of the media and its creation. One of strongest ways to share idea is through video, which is why part of the project includes a practical workshop on video making. The final outcome of the project will be to create a communication video campaign made by immigrants themselves with the guidance of experts. We want to support the presence of immigrants in the new media mainly thanks to creating and publishing the videos through which they can speak about their lives, desires, experience. Immigrants won’t just be passive objects but they will become those who speak up loudly for themselves and present themselves in the way they would like.
Mediha Didem Karagence Turkey
Mediha Didem Karagence is a sociology student who is passionate about making a positive difference in others people’s lives. She has always been interested in different cultures and how people interact with each other and their environment. Studying sociology has inspired her to analyse the issues people are faced with from an academic point of view. She actively engages in organisations that aim to raise awareness about social and ecological issues. As a certified ecological trainer, she regularly holds workshops for young people on sustainable living.
My idea “Eco-Language” aims to create an opportunity for Syrian refugee children to adapt to life in Turkey and be a part of the public education system. There are over 2.5 million refugees currently living in Turkey, including 700,000 school-aged children. However, there is a lack of Turkish language support for Arabic-speaking refugee children. As a result, most of these children are unable to attend Turkish public schools. Furthermore, due to the language barrier, there is hardly any interaction between Syrian refugees and Turkish people, which means refugees often face social integration difficulties. Through “Eco- Language”, trained volunteers will teach refugee children essential Turkish language skills to help them in their daily lives and education. The project will be set in an ecological farm where recreational activities and ecological workshops will be organised, thus promoting communication and a better understanding between Syrian children and Turkish refugees. The expected outcome of the project will be to make sure the children who attended the project are enrolled in public education for the following academic year.
Natasha A. Kelly Germany
Natasha A. Kelly has a PhD in Communication Studies and Sociology with a research focus on race and gender. Born in the United Kingdom and raised in Germany, Natasha considers herself to be an “academic activist” (two important features that can be seen individually, but never separately from each other) rooted in the pan-African culture of her Jamaican heritage. As an editor, author and lecturer at diverse private and state universities in Germany and Austria, she uses art and performance to materialise “untouchable” phenomena like racism and sexism as demonstrated in her exhibition EDEWA (http://www.edewa.info). This enables her to connect theory and practice and highlight the importance and necessity of the transfer-lines between politics, academia and society. www.beaneu.org
With “BLACKPRINT EU”, the Black European Academic Network (BEAN) plans to engage communities in three European cities – Berlin, Paris and London – in creating virtual, interactive story-maps that reflect the lives of Black Europeans, their communities and experiences. Using mapping as a tool, our project intends to connect, preserve and curate these “unsung and unseen” contributions and foster opportunities for exchange between each other as well as between communities of varying ethnicities. First, “BLACKPRINT EU” is a tool of empowerment that aims to encourage Black Europeans to take ownership of their social realities, many of which remain hidden in the families where they take place. As such it is intended to address issues of intolerance and discrimination, fuelled by lack of information and interaction with fellow citizens, as well as stories of success and triumph that generally remain untold. Second, “BLACKPRINT EU” is a tool of education that will provide the wider European community with knowledge about their fellow citizens and the positive contributions they have made to their neighbourhoods and cities.
Denisas Kolomyckis Portugal
Denisas Kolomyckis is an interdisciplinary artist who currently works as Artistic Director of the cultural association RAIZVANGUARDA in Portugal. Most of her work and projects are oriented towards art and culture, the promotion of various artistic issues, sustainable development and transparency, human rights, international relationships, youth and education. He is a member, board member and chair of different NGOs both nationally and internationally. He is fascinated by text and do research in the field of art and culture. http://www.raizvanguarda.pt
The project idea is to create a simulation of local governance through the creative approach of a documentary movie about the local democratic election process (in 2017, Portugal will hold national municipal elections). Perspectives and reflections on democratic values, active citizenship issues (in small rural communities) and the election process will be the focus of local panel discussions. People’s problems and visions will be raised, the campaign process and results will be aired and political views will be confronted with the community vision.
Anna Kooi The Netherlands
Anna Kooi is a 21-year old student, commoner and researcher based in Amsterdam. With a background in classical music and the performing arts, she is currently studying Spanish, philosophy, human rights and humanism at the University of Amsterdam and the University for Humanistic Studies (Utrecht). Anna is interested in the interface of global politics, local ethics, humanitarianism and governance structures. By constant reflection on and shifting between abstract thought and fieldwork, Anna wishes to integrate theory with practice. Her main focus is the theoretical and practical implementation of the idea of the Commons in academia, specifically at the University of Amsterdam. Anna believes that questions of humanisation and democratisation play a key role in the current transition of academia.
Commoning UvA is an interdisciplinary commons of students and researchers that studies system and discourse transformation at the University of Amsterdam (UvA). Commoning UvA originated in the end of 2015 and has been creating spaces for critical and innovative thought that contributes to the transition of the university towards a bottom-up governed space for co-creation. We want to create a network to design this transition with all stakeholders: the UvA, local residents, the global academic community, the business community and the state.
Commoning UvA introduces the university as a commons as a leading idea for discursive and experimental explorations into how to design and evolve democratic and decentralised polycentric institutions within and around the UvA. Our goals are to create new spaces for common ground in between all the university’s stakeholders. Through holding workshops practising commoning in the city and by applying the values of the commons to the organisational structure of the UvA, we hope to operationalise alternatives to current non-democratic, competitive and individuating (personal and organisational) paradigms in higher education. www.facebook.com/commoninguva
Eirini Koutsaki Greece
Eirini Koutsaki is an actress and a member of the Greek Union of Actors and International Theatrical Institute. Since 1999, she has been an actress in Omma Studio – Theatre, travelling to several international theatre festivals. In two of them, the company received an award for the best foreign performance (in Russia and Iran). Since 2006, she has been teaching theatre in elementary schools in Heraklion, Greece and for two years she has been a teacher of body movement at the Theatrical Laboratory of the Municipality of Heraklion. She was Project Manager in the three-year European Project “Tracing Roads Across” (2002-2006) and since October 2015, has been managing the European project “Caravan Next. Feed the future: Art moving cities”.
Centre for Community Theatre, Heraklion
I am writing this idea on behalf of Omma Studio (a private non-profit theatrical company).
Through our involvement in a European project with 33 different communities, all of them have expressed the desire to have a place where they can meet each other not just for a specific project, but on a regular basis. Because of the economic crisis in Greece, communities are becoming more and more isolated. They are afraid to express themselves to foreigners or to their local neighbours. Theatre has a unique capacity to make personal transformations. That is why we believe that it is urgent to establish a place where every community or individual can express themselves, exchange customs, rituals, habits and finally enter a process of understanding the meaning of solidarity, equality and respect in different cultures. Each community will experience and learn how to produce a long-lasting social and cultural transformation and will also be empowered by having a strong network of people involved in a common goal. “All for one and one for all” will be our motto.
Sara Larsdotter Hallqvist Sweden
Sara Larsdotter is working as an artistic advisor and director at Theatre InterAkt. Since 2005, the group has been researching how theatre and society can interact to effect social change. The group works with theatre both as an art form and as a method and has participated in various fields of education to highlight and practice human rights, equality, power relations and participation. In 2014, the group took the initiative to create Malmö Communityteater – a platform for people in various stages of the asylum process in Sweden. They use theatre to write contemporary history and transform facts and experiences about migration into art. Sara’s current work focuses on the practice of community theatre and questions about power and participation relate to it.
Movements in the space between
After working with theatre together with people seeking asylum or living as undocumented migrants (with no legal right to travel), we feel a great need for user-friendly and creative techniques of sharing artwork across borders. New inclusive artistic exchanges allow for these artists to share, develop and communicate their artwork and thinking and be visible outside their immediate communities. The project would allow an excluded group to play an active, real-time role in festivals, meetings and conversations that require travelling. Instead of being represented, the idea is to bring artists in various fields who are not able to travel together with artists and technicians in the field of computer/technology to invent/create artistic meetings, spaces and techniques to both share and develop their artwork. This will help them to find solutions to incorporate a huge field of often excluded knowledge, experience and thinking in the building of a sustainable inclusive and equal society.
Paris Legakis Greece
Paris Legakis is a multidisciplinary artist, activist and theorist researching how art can be beneficial for society and influential to politics. He has travelled around the world conducting field research and experimenting with different art practices of social engagement that aim to reveal different perspectives of everyday life and foster the idea of social change. He has written the manifesto “Claim your Anger” about politics and political art, and he has developed his own methodology “Irregular Temporary Interactions”. He studied Performance Studies (MA) at New York University, Public Art and New Artistic Strategies (MFA) at Bauhaus University-Weimar, and at Athens School of Fine Arts. His research interests focus on memory and emotions, geopolitical and social borders, language and translation and his projects have been displayed internationally. http://www.parislegakis.com
he “BIRDS project” focuses on the Exarcheia District in Athens, where a large number of immigrants have been hosted over the last year. It aims to research the relationships being formed between residents and immigrants, and the terms that influence the daily life of the neighbourhood. The fact that residents and immigrants are called to live “together” – either temporarily or more permanently – poses the question whether there is a mutual vision not only of co-existence, but for a meaningful symbiosis, where a sense of reliability and safety can potentially grow.
The “BIRDS project” will research this potential vision by conducting fieldwork and realising it through collaborative processes and artistic experimentations. The correlation between birds’ flight and people’s imaginations is the guiding line for the project, which uses rooftops as spaces where birds are observed and people can meet and act. A synchronised polyphonic rooftop performance is the ultimate aim of the project, but its true essence lies in the relationships that will be built during the process.
Borana Lushaj The Netherlands
Borana Lushaj is an Albanian-born, internationally educated linguist and lecturer, specialising in the linguistic and social dimensions of language contact. She is now in the final phase of her PhD research on Albanian heritage languages in Southern Italy. Before her academic career she worked both as a linguist and as project writer with local and regional NGOs in the Balkans. Most recently she was developing sustainable models for the protection of cultural heritage with the Cultural Heritage Without Borders Western Balkan project. She has a broad network in and a great passion for creating more opportunities for younger generations in the Balkans.
“SÉNEVÈNE” is an online platform that aims to revive and boost functional multilingualism in the Balkans through crowdsourced online and offline language learning and exchanges. Albanian and Serbo-Croatian speaking communities often have either a partly distorted or completely absent representation of each other. Balkan young people are also dealing with very similar issues as they strive to emancipate their societies through education and civil actions. I strongly believe that their voices and impact would grow if they could act as part of an interconnected cultural milieu. Publications dealing with the South East European (SEE) socio-political and cultural landscape have flourished in recent years. However, linguistic barriers prevent these publications from creating the hybrid audience that is needed for truly open conversations. That is, readers are being fed for a day, rather than being taught how to feed themselves for a lifetime. “SÉNEVÈNE” will enable digital generations in the Balkans to break down language barriers and independently pursue contemporary social, economic, political and cultural interactions in order to create these invaluable connections.
Nina Martin Germany
Nina Martin is Co-founder at Share On Bazaar and ICKE Consult – Specialty: Design Thinking & Social Impact Consulting. With a background in digital film, new media and design management, she uses creative methodologies to support her own projects, start ups and NGOs in the fields of team management, conceptualisation, user experience, social impact metrics and prototyping pilots. Her experience comes from leading, documenting and consulting on projects that empower marginal groups of society in Finland, Lebanon, Germany, Mexico and South Africa, among others. She has lived in various countries and cultures and appreciates a growing network of like-minded entrepreneurs, design thinkers, activists, community leaders and more. She says: “Feel free to challenge me, the self-proclaimed ping-pong queen, for a duel if you dare!” http://www.shareonbazaar.eu
Hack your skillshare
(Share on) Bazaar is a digital skill-sharing platform that brings together locals and refugees online and face to face to exchange knowledge and cultures and to encourage integration through dialogue. Providing a platform for an often isolated target group, however, is not enough. We offer the opportunity for everyone to change Bazaar, to take ownership and improve it from their own perspective through a truly participatory methodology of a hackathon. This empowers users to become active creators themselves.
Réka Matheidesz Hungary
Réka Matheidesz is a strategist with experience in project management on a local, national and European scale. She was co-founder of an urban initiative called WAMP, which became an important platform for creatives to meet locals and thus build their small businesses. Currently she works with social enterprises and helps them to develop and scale up. She is also involved in setting up partnerships for the Urban Agenda of the EU. She was awarded Entrepreneur of the Year in innovation category in 2009 by Ernst&Young and was shortlisted for Women of Excellence by the American Chamber of Commerce in Budapest.
The “Conflict Zone” is an event and a container camp that aims to address urban problems related to the migration crisis. It intends to find solutions for equality, solidarity and sustainability in an urban context in many different ways. It will raise awareness by using a diverse combination of innovative actions and will seek to engage people to be part of the process. The aim of the initiative is to seek solutions to the migration crisis by using the co-creation methodology and involving creatives, locals and migrants. The “Conflict Zone” is a pop up urban store, which encourages us to imagine how an urban space changes its image through social changes. The pop up urban store also intends to open up this process so that everyone can contribute to a society based on equality, solidarity and sustainability.
Carme Mayugo Spain
Carme Mayugo holds a PhD in Audiovisual Communication from the University of Santiago de Compostela (USC) and Master of Communication and Education from the University Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB). She is a member of the research group Citizenship and Communication (CIDACOM) at the USC and of the international researchers’ network REAL-CODE (European and Latin American Network on Communication and Development). She is founder and coordinator of Teleduca. Educació i Comunicació SCP, an independent and interdisciplinary professional collective that has been developing projects on media literacy and community development since 1996. She is a professor and teacher on media literacy, community media, participatory video, documentary and community arts, and a promoter and participant in many social movements and networks focusing on community media and media literacy.
Critical Reading Circles
The inequality of media discourse is a serious problem in the construction of European democracy, deeply undermining social cohesion and generating an unjust existence for stigmatised groups. “Critical Reading Circles” make visible the common experience focusing on the breach of rights and the social image committed by the media, through its contents, against people. The objective is that social groups identified as being most vulnerable (women, migrants, youth, people with functional diversity) build their own representation from the critical reading of the media. The involvement of the academy, social organisations and communicators is necessary to correct unfair representations, to educate communicators on social responsibility and to offer communication skills to those affected, based on their recognition as important groups in the community. Generating a social balance in Europe and articulating the discourses on vulnerable groups, not only seems necessary but is also intrinsic to any idea of a possible Europe.
João Meirinhos Portugal
João Meirinhos is an ethnographic filmmaker from Portugal. He has been working for organisations focusing on social justice and environmental awareness since 2007 – using audio-visual tools to trigger cultural exchange and mediate dialogue between people. In 2011, he became team member of Cinéma du Désert, a solar powered itinerant cinema that has taken him as far afield as West Africa and Central Asia, in collaboration with the Italian NGO Bambini Nel Deserto. A Master’s degree in Visual Anthropology at the University of Manchester led him to undertake fieldwork in the Peruvian Amazon. Ever since, João has been based between UK, Hong Kong and Lisbon as an audio-visual researcher and video editor – documenting emergency life experiences through mixed methodology drawing on the artivism of collaborative filmmaking. http://www.cinemadudesert.org
Independent cinema hubs at refugee camps
This project seeks to empower people through storytelling. We seek to donate the materials and expertise for people living in selected Syrian refugee camps (in Greece and Turkey) to create the possibility of running sustainable film screenings on a regular basis. We have been running an itinerant cinema project since 2009 (Cinéma du Désert) but now aim to teach locals how to do it themselves – connecting bicycles to batteries or solar panels to fuel a computer and a projector, giving them the tools to organise movie screenings independently We believe that free access to culture is the foundation for a better tomorrow. We are strong believers in eco-responsibility, self-sustainability and the idea that “Education = Dignity”. Many of us have been moved by a film we watched that touched and inspired our lives forever. Now we would like to trigger this same feeling for refugees who are surviving in challenging situations to share with them a sense of hope and to provide more information for the future.
Klea Mërtenika Albania
Klea Mërtenika is an Albanian electronic engineer who is passionate about technology and social entrepreneurship and very sensitive when it comes to gender equality. As a female, she was labelled as a minority in technology. She started believing that she had a personal responsibility to make a difference, not because she wanted to be different but because – when things started to affect her on a personal level – she became more sensitive to the case. She is the Founder of a new initiative in Albania – “Code in Rose” – an initiative that aims to reduce the tech gender gap in Albania.
Code in Rose
“Code in Rose” Albania is a connection between feminism, technology, humanism and creativity – building an environment where technology does not discriminate and where sharing is caring. Their mission is to empower young girls in technology through building knowledge, skills and attitudes – bringing them together in a sharing community. As a project, they are creating an environment where every learner is a teacher – a community with girls who share the same passion. Raising awareness of the gender gap and highlighting the fact that Girls Can, they are focused on informal and technological trainings where every girl will be trained in order to share her knowledge. They are creating an online community as a bridge between young tech passionate girls and businesses. Their focus is on helping not only urban areas but rural areas and Roma minorities where girls have the same passion but not the same opportunities. “Code in Rose” is a whole community empowering each other because sometimes you cannot change the world alone.
Zinka Mujkić Croatia
Zinka Mujkić was born in Croatia, but her origins are from Bosnia, which she left as a refugee in 1992 during the war. She came back to Croatia and fought a 16-year battle to become accepted as an equal citizen of Croatia. This has marked her formative years, as well as her education and employment opportunities. Now she works with refugees and migrants in an intercultural cooperative. Through “Taste of Home”, she offers a contribution to the wellbeing of the new members of society who seem to be neglected by the majority. Zinka, who loves her job, is an activist, feminist, theologian and a mother of 5-year-old Nadja. http://www.okus-doma.hr
Taste of Home – intercultural cooperative
A “Taste of Home” is a cooking and language-based social cooperative shaped and led by individuals with a migrant background. It has an open and inclusive business model that provides economic emancipation for refugees and migrants. It also opens up a new channel for intercultural exchange and aims to sensitise society to the potential of their integration. Sharing culinary and language skills, stories and experiences works both ways. Refugees and migrants are empowered to introduce their food, culture and customs to the society they live in, thus making their culture easier to understand and sympathise with. Also they engage in everyday non-judgemental conversations with the local people, which makes it much easier to understand and embrace segments of the local and wider European identity. “Taste of Home” is a wonderful story of bringing people together, of sharing humanity. I see its potential not only in my community but around the world in communities that are challenged by the consequences of wars and forced migrations.
Stephen Onyango Finland
Stephen Onyango is a people-driven social worker in Finland. Upon graduation from university in 2015, he joined one of Finland’s leading private social and healthcare service providers, with a focus on young people aged 12-17. He speaks fluent Luo, Swahili, English and good Swedish with basic Finnish knowledge. He has acquired the skills necessary in people-focused work, working with children, youth, people with autism and pensioners. With a special interest in promoting social integration for everyone in Finland, he is eager to roll up his sleeves to tackle the next challenge as a leader in Suomintegrerad.com, a virtual forum targeting foreigners, immigrants and Finns. The forum’s vision is social integration without barriers.
Suomintegrerad.com Interact for Finland
Suomintegrerad.com will be a virtual forum whose mission is to reduce the gap in social integration caused by lack of Finnish and Swedish language proficiency among migrants, foreigners and Finns themselves. We want to bring migrants, foreigners and Finns together in a give and take forum conducted mainly in English, but also in Finnish and Swedish (with English translation or vice versa). We want to provide a reliable and suitable platform where we can all learn from one another in order to foster proper understanding while clamping down on intolerance. We will bring on board other stakeholders to help realise our vision: social integration without barriers. Our goal will be to reach out to specific groups with the message of tolerance, and to cooperate with other stakeholders to promote social integration. Crucial data from http://www.stat.fi on the ever increasing numbers of our target groups reveal that our work is an urgent necessity. http://suomintegrerad.com
Arthur Pointeau Spain
Born in France, Arthur Pointeau is a software engineer specialised in interactive media and cognitive systems born. He has lived in Berlin and Barcelona, where he is currently based. He is interested in creative uses of technology in general, and in particular applications that can harness better understanding of human perception and the effects this has on society in general. He has been working on “The Machine to be Another” for four years. He is actively involved in the system design, software development and collaborative capacity building.
Library of Ourselves
The “Library of Ourselves” is a highly scalable system to promote empathy. It brings together a living Archive of Life Stories – first person narratives captured through multisensory methods (vision, voice, movements, space) and social virtual reality (VR) stations that can be distributed across the globe, allowing individuals to experience the world through the eyes of each other. Using cognitive science techniques of Full Body Ownership Illusions, the “Library of Ourselves” is built using the system “The Machine to Be Another” (TMBA), which allows individuals to feel as if they were walking in the shoes of another. As an evolution of previous research with TMBA, the “Library of Ourselves” is designed as an autonomous tool of social mediation that enables individuals across the world to exchange personal perspectives and understand better the common ground that unites us all. In October 2016, BeAnotherLab was awarded the European Social Innovation Award, and will be dedicating its work to sharing narratives of refugees and immigrants coming to Europe.
Wil Sands Spain
William Sands is an American photojournalist and documentary photographer based in Barcelona. As a journalist, William is guided by the belief that journalism’s role is to “hold truth(s) to power”. As a photographer, he searches for stories that add nuance and complexity to public discourse. His work seeks to challenge reductionist narratives that maintain the status quo. William has covered the European economic crisis, the Indignados movement, the Maidan revolution, the war in eastern Ukraine and most recently the #BlackLivesMatter movement in Baltimore, Maryland, USA. His photos and reportages have appeared in a variety of international publications including: The Washington Post, Harper’s Magazine, The Times of London, CNN, Esquire, Courrier International, Newsweek and Der Stern. http://www.williamsands.com
There are more people in state custody in the world today than ever before in human history. “VOIZES” is an international archive of interviews with people who have been incarcerated around the world. It documents the incarceration experience through the words of those who have themselves been imprisoned. The VOIZES archive is an international census of state-sanctioned incarceration in all its forms. As an archive, VOIZES has three principle applications:
Historical Document – VOIZES commits to the collective memory experiences of incarceration during the most incarcerated moment in human history.
Educational Resource – Through collaborative curriculum development with the VOIZES team, the archive can be used as an educational tool to foster inclusive academic discussions around incarceration and its societal implications.
Documentary Resource – Guided by the logic of Creative Commons licensing, content from the VOIZES Archive is available for journalists, documentarians and academics to use in their own projects.
Alex Sakalis United Kingdom
Alex Sakalis is the editor of the Can Europe Make it? section of openDemocracy, an online platform for debate and analysis of political, social and cultural issues with a transnational and non-ideological perspective. http://openDemocracy.net
Confronting the other
e live in a time of great change in Europe, when old assumptions are crumbling, but the new have yet to emerge. During and since the Brexit campaign, a fear of the other has driven the mainstream debate in the UK, leading to a heightened atmosphere of tension, paranoia and distrust – most tragically expressed in the murder of Jo Cox MP followed by a lethal wave of attacks on eastern European migrants in Britain. Much of this atmosphere is simply down to the fact that most people never get to meet “the other”, forming opinions based on enemy images proliferated by the media and political groups. Previous controlled experiments in social contact have shown that it only takes a few days to get people to begin to change their minds about Muslims/refugees/the other after meeting and talking with them. So why not expand on these experiments, film them and share them with the world? Perhaps we can, in our way, counteract the new zeitgeist of “fear of the other”.
Abbas Sbeity Lebanon
Abbas Sbeity is a social entrepreneur and architect based in Beirut. He believes that “Architects build communities not only buildings”. He has brought this approach to Architects for Change – a youth organisation that he founded in 2014 to provide a platform for architecture students and young professionals to expand their learning experience, while focusing on the role of architecture in social impact and sustainable development. Abbas led the organisation’s team in various projects with UN Habitat, Beirut Design Week and the Goethe Institute. Through these projects, he practised the participatory design approach, which he believes is an essential tool for community building. Recently, Abbas was selected as a Young Leader, by the European Commission, to represent youth at the European Development Days. http://www.architectsforchange.org
The Magic Factory
“The Magic Factory” is a mobile maker’s lab: A structure that can be installed in different locations in case of emergencies, such as wars and environmental crisis. It will be incubated in schools, universities, community centres, refugee camps and unprivileged communities, targeting children and young people. The Factory will highlight the function of design in empowering communities by providing a platform for education and hands-on experience in the fields of arts, culture, fabrication and design. It will be equipped with various tools and machines that will be of benefit to both children and young people regarding their creative skills development. To sustain the learning process after leaving the community, the Factory will contain basic materials while integrating new technologies in the process. Although it will be module-based, each Factory will depend on its community’s specific needs through participatory design methods that will engage the local people. The Factory will be designed and developed by young architects from Architects for Change, as will the educational programme that will be implemented within the Factory.
Sytze Schalk The Netherlands
Sytze Schalk is a writer, theatre director and transmedia developer, with a background in theatre and performance studies and playwriting. Previously he has worked as an independent playwright, but he currently heads up his own transmedia company, ‘De Werelden van Schalk’. He has been developing new transmedia projects, most notably ‘De Wentel’ (Shatterland), a combination of online literature, interactive theatre and gaming for young adults based around social themes. He also works as a lecturer in narrative design, and as a concept developer for new media projects, with an emphasis on social projects. https://www.sytzeschalk.nl
Through “The Village”, we want to create a playful app experience that serves as a meeting ground between migrants and inhabitants of towns and cities that host refugee centres. The app takes the shape of digital game where the aim is to build up a new, virtual city by solving puzzles and challenges together. In “The Village”, everybody is a newcomer, and in this virtual space, outside existing contexts, new connections and greater solidarity can start to grow. We designed “The Village” as a safe virtual space to create connections between refugees from refugee centres and existing communities. “The Village” is a project-based app that can be used as a playful way of introducing both migrants and existing citizens of a community to each other, away from stereotyping, language barriers and common misconceptions. At the end of the experience, people are encouraged to translate their digital experience into a physical connection with an actual meeting.
Maria Semenenko Russia
Maria Semenenko is a co-founder and curator of House of culture “Delai Sam/a”, an independent cultural space based in Moscow for activists, artists, researchers, designers, architects, musicians, documentary filmmakers, theatre directors and experts. It is a hub for everyone who, by their actions, is exploring, developing, changing or seeking to improve urban life. She is also a programme curator of the international activist documentary film festival “Delai Film”. Before that, she worked on several art participatory projects in public spaces in Moscow and Kiev aimed at involving local people into urban development processes and community building. She was researching migration in Moscow while studying at Strelka Institute for Media, Architecture and Design in Moscow. Before that, she studied political science. http://dkds.space/
Moscow as a big city is appealing for newcomers from other Russian cities and post-Soviet countries. At the same time, it turns out not to be ready for new people – creating conditions that discriminate against internal and external migrants instead of looking for ways to integrate them. Everyday xenophobia towards people according to their ethnicity is a common practice. The project raises the questions: “Who is a real Muscovite?”. It aims to create conditions for people from different cities and countries to share their experience about everyday life in the city from the perspective of people who do not have the legal right to live and work here. The project intends to expose the barriers that migrants face. Gathering together Muscovites and non-Muscovites is a first step towards creating a city where “otherness” is not repressed but is instead considered to be a virtue serving to diversify urban culture.
Marta Slawinska Ireland
Marta Slawinska is a researcher, cultural facilitator and curator born in Poland and living in Ireland since 2005. She holds a BA in Creative Design (2010) and an MA in the research fields of visual culture and cultural geography (2016). She recently participated in the Vienna Summer School in Urban Studies organised by Vienna University and City University, New York. She worked for the Limerick 2020 European Capital of Culture bid assisting on the Cultural Programme, and is a member of Culture Team at Ormston House Cultural Resource Centre in Limerick, Ireland. In 2016, she launched the on-going project, the “World Recipe Exchange”, which she will develop further by participating in Idea Camp 2017.
World Recipe Exchange
Serving up a feast of tastes and experiences with a large sprinkling of solidarity, the “World Recipe Exchange” is an extensive programme of food events creating a platform for cross-cultural dialogue. The project will explore the diverse local and migrant culinary traditions of our city and create an environment in which the new and old residents can meet, get to know each other and achieve a better understanding of our cultures, experiences and histories. Why food? Eating and celebrating is a great way to bring people together, converse and develop friendships. Culinary rituals go far beyond mere food consumption: they accompany the most important events of our lives and foster the culture of sharing and generosity. Therefore, food is an important element of our identities and a significant aspect of belonging and feeling at home. This project highlights such qualities of culinary traditions and aims to create a platform for intercultural meetings as we explore how our cooking traditions continue and change in new contexts.
Yanina Taneva Bulgaria
Yanina Taneva is a traveller, social entrepreneur, activist and psycho-social support professional and founder of the Ideas Factory – a platform supporting innovation for social good in building new kinds of quality human relationships. In a world of radicalisation and “liquid fear”, as Polish sociologist Zygmunt Bauman puts it, the main asset of our societies is connectedness. This has led to initiatives such as: BABA (Granny) RESIDENCE, connecting young urban people with the elderly in depopulating villages; and Social Innovation Challenge, connecting people from all walks of life to become problem-solvers and investors in social good. Yanina also founded the forum for empathy-driven change in Eastern Europe – EMPATHEAST.net. She is also the proud owner of a clowning diploma. http://ideasfactorybg.org
Europe is aging rapidly – as rapidly as urban youngsters are losing sight of the culture related to the rural and traditional way of life. “BABA/Granny RESIDENCE” is our answer to growing needs: first, the need for access to a quality social life in heavily depopulating villages; and second, the need to know and understand the traditional culture and rural life for urban people. The result: a design thinking- based process where young people and the elderly co-create solutions for their village/s. This is not a one-way street and there are no Super-heroes “helping” someone. It is about how we rethink and reimagine the idea of community and traditions, how we create a new story and narrative. Recently we have also been working on integrating refugee families as part of the programme. We need to reach out to many more depopulating villages than we are doing at the moment and we hope the Ideas Camp will be a positive step in that direction.
Rúben Teodoro Portugal
Rúben Teodoro, 31, is interested in processes of collective creation and sharing. As co-founder of Colectivo Warehouse, an architecture collective based in Lisbon, he has been developing projects in the social and cultural fields for the last four years. This work engages participatory processes, collaborative building, mediation processes and hands-on approaches. He has been involved in different projects across Europe, with strong multicultural and interdisciplinary teams. He is also a co-founder of a Portuguese association for bio-construction. He is currently involved in different projects in Portugal and abroad, a book made in collaboration for a future social neighbourhood project and architecture workshops and lectures. http://www.warehouse.pt
Home is a right, but not everybody has a home. Participatory approaches in the rehousing processes are proving their social power and inclusive response around the world. More than sharing the achievements and results, Habitabis Festival encourages the sharing of the process of ups and downs through the eyes of rehoused communities and technicians involved. The festival host communities and governments have the opportunity to gain experiences, tools and possibilities to push their own resettlement processes. We want to develop a Habitabis-prototype in Terras da Costa, a Portuguese slum, where we are developing a rehousing process.
Mondher Tounsi Tunisia
Mondher Tounsi is a US Department of State alumnus from Tunisia who was introduced to activism and decision-making during the Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study (YES) programme in the US. After his return to Tunisia, he started working on entrepreneurship and capacity-building for young people through various initiatives. He worked with the association Young Leaders Entrepreneurs to launch “One Billion Rising”, “She Can”, “She Startup”, “Countdown” and recently “Youth Impact” to counter violent extremism and teach young people about key elements such as ITC, startups and leadership in his region, Kasserine. In addition, Mondher is interested in international institutions and has represented Tunisia at the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in Rome and in Amman, Jordan, along with UNESCO.
“Kasserine Catalyst” is a cultural incubator in Kasserine where young people can spend time away from violent and marginalised communities. This space will be equipped with intellectual stimulus, entertainment and technological needs and will also serve as a host for youth initiatives and conferences. The revenues will help local women who live in remote areas; they will be trained to weave carpets and traditional clothes to support themselves, feel a sense of belonging to the community and avoid offers from terrorist organisations.
Evanthia Tselika Cyprus
Evanthia Tselika has formed Travelling Neighbourhoods as a creative partnership with Niki Sioki. They use art and design to address complex social issues through collaborative and participatory practices. A visual arts researcher, producer and educator, Evi’s practice-led research focuses on socially engaged art practices within segregated urban contexts. She has been exploring the function of art within neighbourhood and organised community environments in Nicosia, Cyprus, through multiple collaborative actions since 2010. Niki worked in book publishing for 22 years with a special focus on design for reading. She teaches communication design in informal and formal education settings. Through her work, she strongly advocates for the power of print as an expressive visual communication medium.
Shaping common paths
“Shaping common paths” is an idea that focuses on initiating a cultural multi-lingual journal that will be totally co-created and co-produced by non-European community groups of migrants who moved to Cyprus. The journal will function as a participatory platform where people can collaborate creatively, open a dialogue with the local community, and challenge the existing narrative of exclusion. It will bring the artistic talents of under-represented people to the fore and enable them to contribute to a richer cultural life and a common European public sphere. Its innovative and groundbreaking aspect lies in bringing together diverse voices and exposing the creativity of non-European social groups. On the European level it touches upon the very current matter of how to create a structure of dialogue and exchange between non-European migrant groups to cultivate a stronger civic right approach towards representational politics. The project highlights an urgent need for European citizens to understand that the social makeup of Europe is rapidly changing and requires the creative visibility of the diverse communities that are becoming today’s European citizens.