In response to their wish for a private space, I acquired an empty ISOBOX. I developed a printing project with their children and we took over the space.
Making our stamp
I found and cleaned abandoned roll mats from tents. I planned to use these to ’tile’ the inside of the ISOBOX with our own designs.
I printed images of tiles from Islamic buildings as reference and the children designed and cut their own blocks.
The children and young women in the camp transformed the ISOBOX into a creative space.
1951 Refugee Convention
Ongoing detention of refugees is contrary to the objectives of the 1951 Refugee Convention. The longer a camp exists the lower the annual international funding and the greater the implications for human rights are.
The 2016 crisis
In 2016 people seeking sanctuary and safety became trapped in the middle of a European political stalemate. In the spring of 2016 I went to a refugee camp in Dunkirk. Here I learned about the situation in Greece which was a crisis point
In the summer of 2016 I travelled to Epirus, Northern Greece to volunteer in a closed camp for Yazidi people. This was set up by the UNHCR but there were very few support agencies on the ground.
I worked with about 300 women in this camp collaborating with a group of seamstresses to co-create a textile and clothes making project. My work was noted by an NGO working in a neighbouring camp. I was invited to work with them at Katsikas camp so when the Yazidi women I worked with were relocated I went to work there.
In 2016-17 I established a creative engagement program, exhibition and outreach program in collaboration with residents from Katsikas refugee camp, Greece.
At Katsikas camp there were between 300-650 residents from Syria, Lebanon, Afghanistan, Iraq. I collaborated with residents in the camp to establish a creative engagement program.
Communities of Practice
I co-created spaces inside the camp with residents and developed broader engagement projects that connected people to the city and agitated for integration through organising cultural projects and events.
These events and projects created networking opportunities between Greek locals and refugee residents, paved the way for self-organisation, cultural integration and challenged ghettoization.
My connection to Lighthouse Relief Hellas and CalAid gave me official permission to work in the camps, access to volunteers and a €200 monthly stipend (which I used on materials). My work was self-funded, self motivated and self generated.