Updated: Oct 27, 2020
We are worried about COVID-19 and its impact on the life of our project. Everywhere, others worry too, not about their work, but about their health, as they get used to the silence and loneliness of waiting. The presence of absence is everywhere. So, we Zoom about our project, we plan ways to increase and speed up our recruitment, we test our methods. It’s like taking our project out on a lead for a walk. But we can’t let it wander. We bring it home. And wait more. We know that there are many ways the project's design needs changing in these COVID times. Not permanently, but certainly for now.
During its inception we thought about three things in a sincere way. First, that being close to other people matters for young refugees, as it does for all of us. In the company of others that we are drawn towards, our breath becomes the air around us as we talk, listen, and laugh. Proximity in our design was never meant to be dangerous or mask wearing. It was meant to be warm. Human. Now COVID has interrupted our face to face talking in a profound way. The second thing we wanted was for movement towards others to be understood as generating life – so that intermingling of people brought more than their separations. Now, COVID has halted movement. Third, we wanted to see how spontaneity worked for young refugees, so that we could see them balance orchestration and improvisation over time in their life. Now everything is deliberate. Slower. Our territory, that we thought about as an open field, feels heavy, as if COVID has extra gravity. Time is contracting.
So, in response to distance, silences, stillness, and being deliberate, our challenge is to make each step of the project work in a harmonised way across our countries. Because we are an optimistic group who don’t surrender easily to anything, we keep our heads up, our shoulders back, and Zoom along together. We are still on the move to a better time than this.
Ravi KS Kohli
Drawing Together Project