A PROJECT FOR NEWLY ARRIVED WOMEN AND LOCAL WOMEN IN CATALONIA USING PARTICIPATORY PHOTOGRAPHY AND AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL WRITING WITH THE OBJECTIVE OF PROMOTING SOCIAL INTEGRATION AND INCLUSION
Where do we feel at home?
What is feeling at home?
And what does it take to feel at home?
These are relevant questions in times of migration, change and movement. Millions of people around the world are fleeing. A small part settles here, in Catalonia, and we live together, sometimes without knowing anything about each other.
“Hidden Histories” is an international project that is being carried out in parallel in the Netherlands and Catalonia. It is a collaboration with Mirna Ligthart who, with the support of different organizations in the Netherlands, has been working since 2021 on the project “Verborgen Verhalen” about feeling at home and not feeling at home .
Feeling at home does not always take place. Even when Catalan is the mother tongue and Catalonia has been the cradle of childhood, we can feel lacking in warmth and familiarity, attention and listening, recognition and a sense of belonging. Everyone wants to feel at home. It is a universal need.
“Hidden stories” is a project that aims to build safe bridges to connect us beyond language barriers and the bubbles in which we live. We do this through an age-old tradition: the establishment of meeting places where people meet, see each other and share their personal stories. In the past, this happened spontaneously in the washing place, around a campfire, in the park… But where is this ‘magical’ place today? Where are the public spaces where we can gather to explain, listen and connect?
“Hidden stories” organizes workshops for women from Figueres and Girona and women from all over the world who are new to these cities. Without the same mastery of the language and, in some cases, accustomed to swallowing their stories, listening becomes very important.
The artistic project is a proposal for them to narrate their life stories in writing, as small writing works with the accompaniment of a writer, and make them visible, through photography and collage with the support of an artist.
Returning to experiences, putting words to them and explaining them has a beneficial effect, not only because of the recognition that the writer receives, but also for the listener.
In “Hidden stories” we speak the language of the heart. When we share our own experiences we create a connection with others. Thus, stories become the basis for human contact. Therefore, we provide a safe environment where the participants can expose their trajectories through various artistic expressions and, from which, they can build new intimate relationships.
The project will materialize in a collective exhibition of photos and writings, and in the broadcasting of podcasts of the memories and histories of the women, through the radio and on different platforms, and can also be heard at the exhibition.