The project is done to challenge notions that Bengtsfors is at the far end of the world and a growing sense of disconnection and fear for the outside world. I want to take dreams and creativity seriously and inspire the children to tell and believe in their stories and abilities. The Bordr form works for this.
LocationFranserudsskolan, Franserudsvägen, Bengtsfors, Sweden
How it was done
The process started with an introductory lecture on the concept of borders, previous projects (listed under inspirations below), and a simplified Bordr workshop.
The “Book a border-story” questionnaire on this website was printed and the children were told to log their personal experiences of crossing a border. After the drawing and writing workshops below the full stories were logged into the digital system.
In their arts classes the children got to make drawings of their borders in different techniques.
In the Swedish language classes the children were assigned to write about their crossings.
At the end of the project Bordr workshops were held with the children building on a number of methods to try and make the children more aware of group dynamics, prejudice and xenophobia, and how all of us are prejudiced if we want it or not..
After the project and workshops the stories were displayed as part of the Not Quite Station Exhibition
As part of this activity, Bordr stories were booked.
- so far 68 submission to the Bordr database
- part of a three month exhibition at the Not Quite art centre in Sweden. Described on: http://europegrandcentral.net/departure/not-quite-station/
How it went
Main lessons learned
The project succeeded in getting the children to creatively describe their border crossings. However, a hope at the beginning of the project was to also be able to capture dreams and hopes for the future. This did not come true. All the stories submitted dealt with borders already crossed. This ambition failed as part communication error with the teachers, and part time shortage for the facilitator.
The project and methodology has developed out of a number of previous projects including:
The amazing team of teachers, and parents, at the Franserud Middle School in Bentsfors
Introduction the teachers
Thoughts and brainstorming between the facilitator and the group of teachers, anchoring the project, getting the budget cleared, and schedules developed. How does it tie in with the regular curriculum of the school? What are previous experiences?
First workshop - introduction
First workshop with the facilitator and the children, part workshop introducing the concept of “borders stories” testing the app, running the “black-board” exercise, discussing borders, and also a lecture introducing the border stories of other people across the world – to make them feel part of a global community, and that their stories are connected to the wider world.
The children got tasked with writing about a border they have crossed or want to cross, an exercise they are working with a couple of times a week during regular classes.
90 minutes per class
Second workshop - positive feedback
Before this second workshop the facilitator has read and given response to all the stories by the children. The workshop, 90 minutes in each class focuses on recognition, and positive feedback. What kinds of curiosity does the submitted texts incur? What does the rest of the class, and the facilitator want to learn more about. Introduction of the border-triangle (time- mind- space) and creative writing tips. Focus exclusively on positive aspects of the storytelling experience aiming to make the children dare to tell and trust their stories.
Also introducing individual Bordr app questionnaires, making every child answer the standardized questions on a paper form, and making a drawing to their borders. Stories will be added to the database by the facilitator.
Now the children have submitted their final texts, and images, and the facilitator has given response on the digital Box platform, used by the school. Focus today is on connection between the stories and the global community, what does it mean to cross a border? What types of borders is there? How does the personal relate to the communal and inter-personal. How can one understand the borders of others?
The exact details of this step is still to be processed as the project is underway – and dependent on the stories by the children.
The last meeting in the project. Now all the children travel for one day to the nearby Not Quite arts cooperative where an interactive exhibition partly based on their submitted stories is being installed. They get a tour of the premises in this old paper factory turned arts centre, and get to see their emerging exhibition opening a couple of weeks later. And are encouraged to bring friends and family to the exhibition over the summer. Also the booklet with everybody’s stories is distributed.
The interactive exhibition partly based on the stories by the children in Bengtsfors is shown at the Not Quite arts cooperative.