Dance Theater, 2017
I was invited to take part as designer on a Dance project with refugee children from 7 different countries. For which the aim was to fosterd Integration through equal cultural Exchange.
As a designer, I asked myself: how do I participate in such a process?
Taking this as a starting point that, the experiences of the children should be incorporated into the creation process. I used co-design methodologies, in order for the group to break the cultural barriers.
By running a co-design session where each child worked simultaneously on an individual task. The coming together of personal reflection and joint work stimulated complicity, which worked as a first step for building up a group dynamic.
The session consisted of one single task: a questionnaire that enabled the children to channelize complex content in short answers and drawings. In this way the different languages present in the group functioned together, and even reached a point of blending with one another. Each child also had a personalized notebook in which they could describe their impressions of the rehearsal. Hence, stimulating personal reflection that would, as time passed by, allow them to integrate it into their collective artistic work.
From a design research perspective it is important to highlight how the relation of the children with an object, stimulated the direct feeling of belonging to the session. As well as drawing a clear line between what they finally wanted to speak out to the others and what was left, to be read in isolation. Thus, creating a safe space.
As the facilitator between the children and the German directors, the processing of data was first organized and decoded by me. The information and expressions as a result of the co-design session were incorporated into both the costume design and the play itself.
The project was supported by the Ministry of Culture of North Rhine-Westphalia.