These are the people, the projects, the art and the stories that inspire us to do what we do. 

inspirations

Ravi Kohli

Drawing Together Project

Researcher/Project leader

In the project we focus on co-construction of life, using the building materials that young people and others bring. For me, it is important to see how refugee youth are contributors to their new countries, and to place this alongside established views of their needs. I think Gergen offers us a chance to break free of oppositional, adversarial, and loss based perspectives. He invites us to think again about differences as catalysts for our evolutions. He offers opportunity, and invites us to breathe.

"What if our differences are not an obstacle to be overcome, but rather a resource for new ways of solving problems?"

- Kenneth Gergen

Mervi Kaukko

Drawing Together Project

Researcher/Project manager

 

Tove Jansson’s paintings and literature inspire me. Her art is full of messages of equity and justice among creatures (humans, Moomins, other) of all types. Some of these messages, for example on gender diversity, were revolutionary in her time in the 1940s to 1970s.

 

The book Moominland Midwinter (Finnish Taikatalvi, Swedish Trollvinter) resonates with our project. Moomintroll awakens in the middle of his hibernation, and finds himself in a completely unknown, frozen environment. Moominland, usually full of life and colour, has suddenly become still, white and frozen. Together with his value creatures, most importantly Little My and Hemulen, Moomintroll learns to survive and enjoy the white winter-wonderland. They also find ways to help others in need, such as a frozen squirrel.

 

“And so Moomintroll was helplessly thrown out in a strange and dangerous world and dropped up to his ears in the first snowdrift of his experience. It felt unpleasantly prickly to his velvet skin, but at the same time his snout caught a new smell. It was a more serious smell than any he had felt before, and slightly frightening. But it made him wide awake and greatly interested.” (Jansson 1958, 18)

 

“Without knowing a thing about it, at that moment his velvet skin decided to start growing woollier. It decided to become, by and by, a coat of fur for winter use. That would take some time, but at least the decision was made. And that’s always a good thing. (Jansson 1958, 18)”

(Image: https://www.wsoy.fi/kirja/tove-jansson/taikatalvi-(uudistettu-laitos)/9789510434031)

Milfrid Tonheim

Drawing Together Project

Researcher

 

Kaleidoscope (‘Fargespill’ in Norwegian) truly inspires me and makes me proud to be from Bergen, Norway! At a Fargespill show, you’ll experience up to 100 children and young people from more than 35 different countries sing, dance and make music on stage at the same time. I remember so well the first time I saw them perform. My ticket was a gift from a person very dear to me, a girl who came to Norway as an unaccompanied minor asylum-seeker. I had the honour of being her legal guardian. And there I was, in Grieghallen, Bergen’s cultural grand hall. And what a performance I was to witness! The colours. The movements. The rhythms. The radiance. The diversity. The joy. The message. The whole world performing on one stage. That’s such a powerful message of connectedness. Of mutual dependence. Of every one’s resourcefulness. Fargespill is far more than a performance. It’s a philosophy and a way of life that recognises the beauty and strengths of diversity. It’s a perfect example of the mutuality of our relational wellbeing.

Photograph by Thor Brødreskift

Nick Haswell

Drawing Together Project

Research Assistant

 

For the past eight years i've been part of a creative working group, We Who Smile, which organises expressive arts projects for refugee children and youth in Finland. These projects inspire me through the joy that they have brought to us, the participants and the viewers and through the unique windows that they open onto the experiences of seeking asylum.

 

The painting shown here is by Taymaa, who participated in our fourth picture book project, Where is my home: Pictures, stories and experiences of refugee children and youth.

Below is a link to the We Who Smile website, which showcases all the pitcure books, animations and exhibitions that we have made in collaboration with the projects' participants.

Petter Korkman

TIUKU

 

When living in France, I was struck by the forceful messages in the songs by Zone d'Expression Populaire. They combine strong anti-racist ideas with a kind of wisdom born from living in a society dominated by white majority attitudes. But they are not laments, they are fighting songs. They hold a warm proud strength in their depictions of solidarity in the face of oppression. This song, (Luckily there's the family) shows the (extended) family as a source of fresh air when society suffocates you. The family is the skin that keeps you intact on the borders of your being. The song illuminates how networks help you keep your head up and your shoulders back as someone who has something of value to give.

Imran Adan

Drawing Together Project

Ambassador

I made this film to share my experiences of being an immigrant in Finland. It is based around a conversation I had with four native Finnish people, and explores the process of getting to know Finnish people, immigrant perspectives on Finnish education, and the challenges of racism and stereotyping.

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Participating institutions

This project is funded by NordForsk Joint Nordic-UK research programme on Migration and Integration

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