The Workshop

Went really well. Participants were really forthcoming, had some great perspectives and had a genuine interest in the issues we were discussing.

The collage format worked very well. Providing activities that kept us busy, but allowed us to discuss issues at the same time. It was also a very good method of externalising internal thoughts, feelings and beliefs. It would appear that the value asserted by IDEO is valid.

It was a lot of fun, and personally felt like a great environment to be in. Good vibes.

In terms of empathy levels, these people already cared! I feel that the next iteration must include people with far lower levels of empathy for and engagement with migrants.

The icebreaker has a lot of potential, it creates discussion from a position of empathy, where participants share the reasons for taking one item – the only item  they could keep if they were forced to migrate.

I actually feel there is potential for a speculative workshop here also and would certainly like to experiment with different playful, engaging and productive activities in the workshop format.

Images follow.


The Workshop: UAL Refugee Week

I was unaware that there was a UAL refugee week, but through contacting a number of UAL societies with a similar focus have been able to hold the workshop as one of the week’s listed events. They require me to create a facebook and eventbrite page. Now completed..

This is the description used:

“We’re inviting students, refugees and residents from all types of cultural backgrounds to come together and engage in a hands-on creative workshop.

Participants can expect to share ideas around migration, empathy and communication, before applying these ideas in a creative and playful process – designing a gesture of welcome to our refugee and migrant communities.

There will be access to both traditional craft materials and technical support for the electronic prototyping platform arduino, so participants are encouraged to imagine and experiment with finding creative and playful methods to communicate their welcome message.”


The Workshop: Organisations

Have returned to the dozens of charities and organisations I had previously called for info. Requesting some form of participation / promotion.

Action for Refugees are willing to add some form of welcome message from the workshop to the site. Migrant Resource Centre are willing to promote the event, and there is the potential for actual involvement in future workshops.

The Workshop: Last preparations

Went to get materials; scissors, glue, paper, card etc.. Also a stack of free newspapers which should hopefully contain some of the language associated with immigration / fear / threat.

A friend has agreed to film and photograph the events of the workshop..

The Workshop: Plan


Ice breaker – Sharing

  • Get people comfortable talking to each other
  • Perspective taking exercise
  • How would you want to be welcomed if you were in their shoes?

Fun Crafty Stuff – Thinking – Personal Thoughts

  • Creative process used to help form thoughts
  • Understand how people think and feel initially
  • Personal thoughts

Newspapers – Thinking – Writing

  • Becoming aware of and understanding the narratives
  • Reflecting on them critically
  • In groups, each thinking in a certain way and cycling this between the groups
  • What lead to these articles? Political? Social? Economical?
  • Who do these articles affect?
  • How do these articles affect them?
  • How welcoming are these articles?

Newspapers – Creating – Collage

  • Restructuring the narratives
  • Presenting personal sentiment for welcome message
  • Bringing forward words that could be used to create our group message of welcome in response to the anti-immigration narratives

Group Message – Defining

  • Deciding as a group, what the message will say
  • Should be a process of empathy with each other
  • Defining the content of the message
  • Splitting it between participants / groups

Group Message – Creating

  • Individuals can work on creating their own section of the message.
  • Free to interpret their section however they choose – so long as it can be mounted onto a piece of card / paper

The Workshop: Aims

Aim1: To cultivate empathy for the forced migrants, asylum seekers and refugees in this country / trying to enter the country

How: by group work reinforcing the humanity in all peoples and by proxy those aimed

Aim2: To challenge the anti-immigration rhetoric, through a gesture of welcoming

How: deconstructing the narratives – linguistically, politically and physically

Aim3: Create a space to discuss (primarily forced migration) but issues relating to migration as a whole, share thoughts, feelings and ideas

Aim4: Test application of HCD methods

How: Defining opportunities for focused discussion and encouraging OPEN discussion while working. the good, the bad, the beneficial, the accepted and the misrepresented

The Workshop

It would seem that this is the most relevant and potentially the most effective method for engaging with the narratives and cultivating empathy. It should allow for a fair amount of flexibility in how activities are designed – whether they are to focu on migrants, hosts, narratives.. The issues of migration narratives are complex and subjective. Instead of attempting to create an interaction that dictates, the workshop can create interactions that facilitate.

Have looked into migration focused workshops. When focused on migrants, they often focus on skills (language, employability). The Green Light workshop by Olafur Eliasson, is a little different though as it is a creative workshop with the intent to create a space of inclusivity.

Not quite what I’m currently thinking, but relevant.