In the beginning of March the Story Caravan working group met together with the folks from Migrationlab in The Hague for a very welcomed workshop. Present was Åsa Lönnqvist, Annabelle Antas and Ylva Rancken-Lutz från the StoryCaravan R&D project and Laura Pana, Anca Fronescu and Denis Stillewagt from Migrationlab.
The Ekenäs StoryCaravan and MigrationLabs Welcome to the Living room both have storytelling methods at its core and some common goals: To find innovative method tools for facilitating dialogue through place-based storytelling. Through our projects we want to encourage engagement with the local commons and encourage an on-going dialogue to deepen local engagement in our community commons, nurture tolerance with the goal to create more sustainable and resilient communities. Welcome to the Living room has migration stories as its main focus and The Ekenäs StoryCaravan are planning to work with stories and memories as well as visions for the future with the general public but with a special commitment to reach out to migrants and refugees.
We found that it was important for us all to take time to share our own “stories”. After listening to eachother’s life stories I think non of us were surprised that we now find ourselves working for these goals and are creating specifically these projects.
An important subject which came up during the day was how we find collaborating partners and how we chose to work with them since we all agreed that projects like these are dependent on collaborations in different forms. We will therefore continue discussing online how to work with collaboration as one of our methods.
We will also continue discussing ways in which we can refine our storytelling methods and tools to accommodate different sorts of people and help eachother attune our projects in ways which will benefit our goals.
In the conversations during the day we found that we time and again were discussing the urgent topic of how our cities and countries deal with migration today; in which ways they are welcoming migrants and refugees (or not) and how they are providing for refugees and other migrants.
These discussions were not always very uplifting but nonetheless they gave us all more energy and a sense of purpose in our continued work to create mothods and ways in which we can work with new arrived migrants as well as those who have arrived earlier and are trying to settle in our communities. This sense of common commitments is what collaboration can lead to when it is successful.
For the afternoon part of the workshop we had invited some participants with whom we believe we in different ways could collaborate in the future. Marijke Annema and Jonas Lutz are both designers based in Rotterdam today. Jonas has found his way to The Netherlands from Finland and through Sweden and Marijke is originally from Friesland, a province in the north of the country with its own language. Artist Iris Honderdos has one of her bases in Utrecht and has worked in community art projects for many years and also been an artist in resident at Pro Artibus in Ekenäs, Finland.
After a very inspiring workshop day we topped the day off with an amazing dinner at the Love & Peas.