Projects working with Intercultural Issues and Refugees

Projects working with Inter Cultural Issues and Refugees

This sector of our work grew originally from the projects Wolf + Water do in the conflict and peace building field, but is now an area of our work in its own right.

We began to realize that many conflicts on any scale – inter personal, societal or national – are often caused by differences and misunderstandings about culture and set about developing projects that that explored intercultural communication, the challenges faced by migrants and refugees when they arrive in a different society, and broader development issues.

We have found how arts techniques – in all their forms – can be used as a “universal language” and touchstone for communication – as all cultures express themselves through the arts in someway.

Past Projects Include:

NOAS Training – Oslo, Norway 2015

NOAS – is the Norwegian NGO dedicated to the rights and re settlement of refugees and asylum seekers coming into Norway. 2015 saw, as with most of the rest of Europe, an unprecedented influx of people fleeing the horrors of the other parts of the world – even to Norway.

We ran several training courses at the main reception centre in Oslo for the amazing staff – many of whom are ex-refugees themselves – who are are courageously dealing with this mass of often traumatised, troubled and very scared people – exploring issues of cross cultural communication and conflict resolution in an often very pressurised environment.

FK Exchange Program Inter Cultural awareness programs – Norway, Ethiopia, South Africa, Uganda, Thailand – 2001 – Present

FK is a Norwegian Government project that seeks to promote development and cross cultural understanding through a program of professional exchanges between Norwegians and their counterparts from Africa, South America and South East Asia. Professions represented can include engineers, doctors, environmental and agricultural project workers.

Before their exchange, each group of participants are brought together for a two week briefing on a Preparatory Course. On this Wolf + Water deliver the “Inter Cultural Challenges” training, using drama and other participatory methods with participants to explore the psychological and practical impacts of leaving ones own culture and arriving in another.

The training is both in the psychology of culture shock, but also uses role play to  enable participants practice facing their biggest personal challenges.

 


Hallo Norge – Her er Jeg! (“Hello Norway – Here I Am!”) – Drammen, Oslo, Trondheim, Bergen – Norway 2012 – 14

This was a project we developed in conjunction with the Norwegian Save the Children. Over the course of two years we ran a series of residencies in asylum centres working with children and young people aged from 4 – 25 (although our oldest participant was actually in her 80’s!).

The idea was to work with the groups about their experiences of leaving (or in many cases, fleeing) their homes and coming to Norway. Through art and drama we explored their journeys and arrivals, their experience of the Norwegian asylum system, what they felt about Norwegian cultures, and finally what they felt that the future holds.

From this we worked create an interactive comic book that will be distributed to other young asylum seekers coming into Norway, packed with our groups’ practical advice, stories and inspiration. The book also invites the reader to draw and fill in their own experience of their asylum journey as they go along.

It really was an eye opening and inspirational project for us.

 


The Exwick Youth Project / Nordic Black Theatre Exchange Devon UK – August 2013

This was a British Council funded week long multi arts residential that brought together young people from the sometimes troubled Exwick estate in Exeter, and members of Nordic Black Theatre – an Oslo based theatre school especially for young immigrants.

The idea of the project was to explore each groups respective thoughts on what they felt the challenges of being a young person was in their cultures. The results were wonderful. Themes touch upon included gender, stereotypes, expectation, violence, drugs and above all identity.
Over the course of a sunny week we used mask, music recording, drama, film, dance, masks and creative writing to create a series of short films on these issues.

Just the time these young adults had together, travelling, cooking…and it has to be said, with the occasional bit of partying thrown in too, was really inspirational, and some life long friendships were forged.

 


“Dogs Don’t Bark” – No Theatre, Oslo, Norway 2009 – 2012

No Theatre was project set up by Wolf + Water in conjunction with Norges Fredslag (The Norwegian Peace Association) to explore the use of theatre in peace building and community cohesion.

“Dogs Don’t Bark” was performance and workshop package exploring issues of immigration and integration in Oslo, and wider Norway. Research for the project involved an extensive series of workshops with various immigrant groups and communities across the city. (The title came from a comment made by a woman from Iraq in one of these workshops – “Norway is so quiet! Not even the dogs bark!”).

The resulting performance was premiered at Kafe Teatret as part of Oslo Theatre Centre’s Teatetreff Festival and has subsequently toured to schools, universities and conferences.

 


“Others” – Plymouth Drum Theatre, Devon, UK 2002 – 2003

A project working with Refugee First and Refugee Action, bringing together refugees living in Plymouth and young disaffected people from the city to share experiences, frustrations (sometimes which each other) and to devise a public performance.

With the refugee group being drawn from Bosnia, Iran, the former Soviet Union, and Macedonia, we explored the notion of being an outsider, an “other”, and how that related to the experiences of the disaffected young locals.

By time we reached our sell out performances both groups had learned a lot from each other, and worked together brilliantly to deliver two excellent shows, both which ended in standing ovations.

The whole process of the project was documented by both BBC Radio and television.

Excellent, revealing upsetting and wonderful

That was really very powerful indeed – excellent