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Participation through art-making - and shaping the role as ambassador

Marte Knag Fylkesnes


On November 25th, 2021, representatives from the Drawing Together project attended the seminar “Music, Health and policy” in Bergen, Norway. Throughout the day, young people, organizations, and researchers shared their experiences of using visual art, music and dance to enhance the participation of young people with refugee background.

The Norwegian ambassadors, Hamid Muhammadi and Ajantha Vishnukumar, and researcher Marte Knag Fylkesnes took the opportunity to share experiences from the project through a joint panel conversation. Our focus was on our experiences of using art in workshops to illuminate young people’s views on relational wellbeing, as well as on how they have shaped their role as ambassadors. This was their first seminar contribution as ambassadors. We were all a bit nervous and prepared well the messages we wished to convey, together with researcher Masego Katisi.

Hamid and Ajantha talked about what participants have learnt through the art making activities and the benefits and vulnerabilities of sharing experiences within a group. They also revealed that it had taken time to understand what acting as an ambassador in a research project entailed, what they have learned from close collaboration with researchers and how they have worked to create a trusting and nourishing community among participants. The audience listened attentively.

Prior to the ambassadors successful first seminar contribution, project leader Ravi Kohli had started out the day by inviting the audience to reflect on how relational wellbeing emerges over time for young refugees. He gave examples from the Scottish data, illustrated by photos.

Due to covid restrictions, Ravi’s presentation was digital, and the seminar was streamed to a wider audience.

Researcher Marte Knag Fylkesnes also outlined how we have designed the project to understand, illuminate and communicate young refugees experiences through art. She shared examples of artwork and what they can tell us about relationships and migration.

The seminar was organised by PhD Ole Kristian Einarsen at The University of Bergen, The Grieg Academy – Department of Music. Einarsen and his colleagues works with the Norwegian Drawing Together team as part of the NORCE Young People in Migration Research Network.


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