There are six participants to start our next session, Hossein will be late and Yama has sent us an email to share with us that he has to attend a German course at the same time as our scheduled project dates.
We discuss the best ways to work with these difficulties, that allow us to accommodate Yama’s need to attend his German class and continue to participate as part of the group. Our question is about structure how do we allow for parallel working – we may not be doing things at the same time however we are sharing the experience?
We agree to try and find an extra appointment with Yama, and that part of the group will work together with him.
The ‘Refugee Project’, allows for experimentation through the juxtaposition of extremes: On the one hand, the participants are refugees only recently arrived in Germany; on the other hand they are students whose families are rooted for generations in Germany. However we become aware, that intercultural exchange also takes place outside these extremes: none of us is a tabula rasa, each of us carries our cultural backgrounds. Between Anna-Paula from Grünberg and Stella from Heidelberg an intercultural exchange is also taking place when both work together.
We start the work: Are the sentences that we have fixed still coherent to us? They are.
We realise that our sentences – as personal as they are and as simple as they are – have a shared tradition: For we share them with many other people of different origins and different ages: the question of freedom, of happiness, the call for solidarity.
We now write out our sentence by hand, each of us in their own language, in our own handwriting. We write on different papers, with different pens. We write our sentence many times.
Then we share our papers with each other, by laying them out on tables.
We notice that our perception changes. We no longer pay so much attention to the contents, we begin to pay attention to the handwriting. We see forms rather than content. We see the differences in the handwriting.
We decide on a selection from our different versions and scan them.
Then a technical problem appears: The scans can not be edited on the computer as fast and easily as we had hoped for.
We discuss what to do next and we come up with the idea of using an old overhead projector; our papers with our handwriting are copied onto foil.
We begin to combine them on the display of the projector, placing them one on top of the other. We work at first hesitantly and very calmly, but then we begin to communicate with each other: Please photograph this detail. Can I turn the foil a little? Can you help me with that?
We start playing together.
At our next meeting, we will review all the photos of our combined handwriting to find and select the best combinations. This will determine who will be working with whom in the next session.