We did this to make people meet others through the similarities of our dreams, and to use textile craft as a common language. Craft can provide a recreational and tangible space of togetherness.
We also wanted to make a mapping documentation of contemporary dreams.
Bengtsfors is a small town in the Swedish countryside of Dalsland. The workshops were held in a centrally located basement, Paletten, where several different community projects rent space for a variety of purposes. At the same time as our workshops an accordion orchestra held their practice. The music got a little loud for our participants.
Our room had large tables and chairs and our equipment was a large suitcase with textile materials.
The group was a mixed group of mixed national origin, all of them now Swedish citizens. Mixed ages, genders, psysical abilities, ethnic origins.
How the audience/participants were reached or discovered
We searched for participants through a school for Swedish as a second language (SFI), put in an ad in the local newspaper (Dalslaningen), posted a link to the official Bengtsfors county website (www.bengtsfors.se) and spread the word through social media with #drömmaribengtsfors
It was our personal visit to the SFI office that paved the way for all the above. In the meeting we showed a slide-show both about the Europe Grand Central project, and about our ambition to map the dreams of Bengtsfors.
Our project ad looked like this:
How it was done
The workshops started by a short 10 mins presentation where we told about our interpretation of “dreams” ranging from the short-term to the long-term. We also told about our ambitions for the mapping projecs – how their dreams would become parts of a larger canvas of collected dreams of Bengtsfors.
After this all participants got a piece of cloth and was presented with lots of different textile material to represent their dreams. The magic began!
The workshops went on for about two hours. During the making process we also sat down at the table making our own “dream cloths” and talked to the participants, about their dreams, their lives, and how they had ended up in Bengtsfors.
In the wrap-up, at the end of the session, everybody got a chance to tell about their dreams and their representations thereof. How their pieces told their stories.
Mapping/ Public Art/Exhibition
At the end of the project we plan to make an installation of the collected works by our participants, the final design is not yet decided, maybe a house of dreams. We plan on something three-dimensional as a public art installation.
After the collection of stories we photograph the works of the participants and upload them digitally through Bordr as a means of connecting the dreams to a wider audience.
As part of this activity, Bordr stories were booked.
How it went
Main lessons learned
It is so much easier to get participants if meeting them directly in their context. Newspaper ads did not work at all, the county website gave a few participants, and social media gained some traction, but going to the participant contexts directly and present the project was by far the most effective.
In the next round of workshops we will not rent a space (with accordion classes) but have been invited directly to their already existing classes at the town language café.
The concept with mixed classes was very succesful, the gender and age differencies contributed to an open and relaxed athmosphere. When working creatively participants are oftentimes wary of making something “ugly”, but in a mixed group this fear lessens. The adults are allowed to be more “childish” and the children become less competitive.
Another lesson was that we met only every second Thursday, this was a little too far between to gain any routine for participants, so every time we had different people to work with. This was nice, but we had originally thought that we would work with one group over a whole season. This changed as we worked onwards – and people did not return but told their friends to come.
We have had many previous workshops on concepts such as “claiming public space” and “claiming a voice”. This time we wanted to clarify the concept and run a longer-term project digging into one concept and create a larger material of collected works. We hoped to create a greater research project investigating the intersection of participant and facilitator. We wanted to see how we affect the participants, and how free they can be within our given parimeters.
Maria Styhr, Bengtsfors County
Daria Larsson, SFI Bengtsfors
Karl Hallberg, Not Quite
Marcus Haraldsson, Europe Grand Central
Meeting the first group at Paletten, Bengtsfors
Small amount of participants
Meeting at Paletten, Bengtsfors