With their latest project, “New Experts”, Haus der Kulturen der Welt (HKW) seeks to recognize high-school students of the Staatliche Europaschulen Berlin as experts regarding questions of migration and arriving in a new society. In our cooperation with the HKW, we tried not to focus on the prevalent discourse in which migration is often presented as a problem. Rather, we adopted a post-migrant approach that accepts migration and arriving as one basic element in society occurring on different scales and integrating physical-spatial as well as social or psychological phenomena.
During the project week, we worked together with a group of twenty experts from the Robert-Jungk-Oberschule on questions regarding the meaning arriving. Based on personal experiences of the participants, we discussed aspects that hamper or ease the process of arriving. Further, members of the Jugendtheaterbüro Berlin and Dieter Bichler from the initiative querstadtein told us about their perspectives and experience during field trips in Moabit and Charlottenburg. Thanks to their narratives we learnt what they perceive as problems, strategies and utopias in the process of arriving.
Back from the field, we brought together the personal knowledge and what we had learnt during the excursions by discussing and selecting the most relevant issues and scenes. Inspired by the method of critical collective mapping that seeks to combine “non-expert knowledge” and day-to-day experiences in order to share knowledge and use it for a critical visualization of relevant problems or strategies, we visualized the narrations to collect all of them in one single hidden object map. Bit by bit, the group created an urban landscape in an interactive and productive process sharing spatial understandings of arriving in Berlin and integrating the different narrations and perspectives. Simultaneously, one group documented the selected narratives in a written form that serves as a legend pointing to scenes in the hidden object map and explaining them in more detail.
In addition to the mapping process, the students painted the mural “Arriving city” using spray cans and adding elements from the preceding activities. In another reflection process, we tried to formulate demands as consequences of what we have learnt during our action research and artistic activities.