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Connected Action for the Commons

Connected Action for the Commons is an action-research program and network with six cultural organisations from across Europe and the European Cultural Foundation (ECF) as collaborating hubs.

Story Caravan is a part of the network since our project idea was selected to be along in the second Idea Camp in Botkyrka 2015 after which we received a R&D grant from the European Cultural Foundation.

Here, you can see how the network has grown over the past three years, who the people behind the network are, and what the projects and issues are they work on and find in common. Feel welcome to access this database and get inspired by the activities and connections of this growing movement of people.

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Ekenäs diary

Today on the 7th of July we placed an Ekenäs diary at Ekenäs Naturum.

Our wish is that people during the summer will write in the diary as they would in their own diary or as if they were writing a letter to a friend telling her about their day, their encounters in Ekenäs – about both joys and sorrows. We hope that people living in Ekenäs as well as visitors will leave a message in the Ekenäs diary.

The Ekenäs diary project is an experiment within the Ekenäs StoryCaravan project.  We are experimenting to find new ways in which we can collect people’s stories about Ekenäs. We will read all the stories and publish some on the blog.

The diary will live at Naturum during the whole summer until the end of August. If you have written in the diary we invite you to write your name and contact details on a slip of paper and put it in the red metal box. We will draw 3 winners and contact them in early September.

We will pop-up in person at Naturum during the summer so maybe we will see you there!

Kära Ekenäs

My Ekenäs Map

In August and September 2016 we invited some school children and some students at the local college to a series of “My Ekenäs map workshops”. Together with them we made collaborative digital maps of our home town Ekenäs in southern Finland.

With the map and photos as a base it is easier to talk about the places that function well and places that are not functioning. Google maps is a great digital tool for this and the result is easy to share.

Ekenäs högstadieskola (Ekenäs junior high school)

Axxell – vocational school

A Story Caravan pop-up at Naturum

A late afternoon in March we met at a StoryCaravan pop-up at Naturum with three people who live in Ekenäs. Marjatta was born and raised in Ekenäs, Elin has moved to Ekenäs some years ago from Sweden and Joel 10 years ago from the Philippines.

We wanted them to talk about memories and visions concerning the area where Naturum is located which we call the “Knipan area” since the old pier-restaurant Knipan is located there and the only central swimming beach.

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StoryCaravan meets MigrationLab in collaborative workshop

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.

The hague march 2016

 

 

 

 

 

Visions and memories and a small oak tree

We are planning the R&D project The Story Caravan in Ekenäs Finland, for which we got a grant from the European Cultural Foundation. We have now started to experiment and explore our story telling method which combine visions and history and to ponder on the best way to collect and analyze the material.

To our surprise we are finding it hard to explain to collaboration partners why we want the residents of Ekenäs to share both memories (with or without photos) and visions. This has lead to interesting discussions in our project team and with partners.

Our first guinea pig was my brother Romi who told us about a memory of a small oak tree which still grows close to where our family had the motor boat in the South bay marina in Ekenäs when we were children. I have no memories of this tree but since Romi all his life has been interested in trees (he is now a forester) this tree has become imprinted in his memory. This tree happenes to grow very close to the concrete wall on which he used to walk while our family was in the harbor preparing the boat in the spring and fall and before going out to and coming back from our summer house in the Ekenäs archipelago.

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In this photo the oak tree – even if it is not big – is much taller and wider than it was 50 years ago. It has since been trimmed many times to not disturb the traffic on the road on the other side of the wall.

Romi-story (7 of 7)
Photo Annabelle Antas

For a passer-by who hasn’t grown up with the oak tree and who doesn’t have these memories this particular oak tree does not mean very much – it’s one tree among millions and millions in Finland – but for Romi and the folks at the park service, who have cared for the tree for more than half a century, this tree means something special – it is the small oak tree by the concrete wall in the South harbor.

The city and a planning group has been planning a major makeover of the harbor with a plan to enlarge the amount of parking places and piers. This prompted a storm of protests by the residents at a community meeting where the plan was presented last year. The oak tree was maybe not threatened this time but without the knowledge of the story of oak tree it might as well have been.

With the story of the oak tree by a concrete wall in a harbor and what it has meant to a small boy growing up in Ekenäs I am trying to illustrate why we believe in combining memories and visions in our R&D project The Story Caravan. We are looking forward to an ongoing conversation about our ethnographic methods during the coming year and are very much looking forward to testing our storytelling model in which we, with various methods, will combine stories from the past with visions for the future.

Mary’s vision

Story Caravan’s third podstory was told by Mary Enberg (in Swedish) on a rainy fall day by the North Harbor in Ekenäs.

We asked Mary about her visions for the future of the harbor area where she lives with her husband. She has a very specific vision for the hill she can see from her window.

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Marys vision hill

Marys vision

Ulf-Mary

Mary old photo Ulf-Mary