Discovery and Creation of
Migrating Objects

Overall objectives

1. Discovering local visual culture
2. Getting in touch with local people and institutions
3. Enhancing culture of origin
4. Rediscovering and reusing skills
5. Raising awareness about environmental protection through recycling materials
6. Developing linguistic skills and vocabulary in the local language



- Women and/or children with migrant or refugee background

Recommended for

Women and/or children
with migrant or refugee
background

Duration

2 or 3 workshop sessions
(120 to 240 minutes per session)

1. Introductory Phase:
Storytelling exercise and game with spices 

Specific objectives

1. Community building and communication

2. Developing vocabulary in local language

3. Creating cultural encounters within an intercultural community

Materials needed

- Colorful spices and grains
- Small plastic or glass containers

 

1. Collect as many kinds of spices as you can coming from as many different regions, countries and cultures as possible. You can also ask participants to bring with them spices they like and that use often.  
 

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Time frame

Between 30 and 60 minutes depending on the number. of participants

2. Ask participants to smell each other's spices and try to find out where they come from.

 

Ask them to tell their name in their own language and repeat its name in the local language.

3. Ask them how they use them or how would they use them, to what other spices, flavors, dishes they could imagine to associate them. 

 

You can also ask if they evoke any specific souvenirs and ask to tell them.

2. Discovery Phase :
Exhibition visit and digital photo collection

Specific objectives

1. Discovering artworks issued from a third culture.
2. Getting familiar with public spaces, resolving practical questions such as moving around the city and getting in touch with local people, institutions, etc.
3. Making participants familiar to the use of a museum or an art exhibition

Materials needed

- Museum and travel tickets
- Personal mobile phones


 

Time frame

Between 120 to 240 minutes depending on the exhibition's size

1. Find an exhibition showing artwork from divers cultures.

 

As the exercise is based on the idea of creating a common ground between local visual culture and the participants' culture of origin through discovering art objects from a third culture, take this into consideration when you choose the exhibition or the museum you propose to visit. 

In our case, it was an exhibition about migrating objects, but we also visited all the rooms of the permanent exhibitions dedicated to the Egyptian, African, Oceanic and Mexican arts. 

2. Before the exhibition visit, ask the participants to take pictures of intriguing, exciting, strange or unfamiliar details.
 

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Photos may be taken of the whole art object or from details only with textures, shaped or colors.

You may also ask the participants to take photos of each other while taking pictures of the exhibited objects in order to discover and document each others reactions and feelings towards the artworks.

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Following the exhibition visit, create a Whatsapp group and ask them to share their photos. Help them with technical issues if they have any. 

In addition to make participants practicing the use of digital tools, this exercise helps you to find out what kind of art objects they are the most surprised or fascinated by. 

Optionally, as a  blended part of the workshop, you can ask the participants to repeat the exercise of taking photos of familiar objects at home and ask them to share them too through WhatsApp.

2. Sharing experiences and impressions:
Discussion session about the exhibition

Specific objectives

Finding common features in newly acquired experiences, sharing feelings, sensations and impressions

Skills needed

- Linguistic skill in the participants language of origin
- Some knowledge about visual arts and craft to comment artworks.

Materials needed

Optionally a video projector 

Time frame

Between 30 and 60 minutes depending on the number of participants

This conversation session might be linked to the creative workshop. Optionally, if you have the necessary framework, such as video projector, you can create a virtual exhibition room of the photos taken during the exhibition and at home.

This allows participants to see their photos side by side and facilitate to compare colors, patterns or shapes and to share their impressions about each other pictures as well.

Otherwise, you can also talk about the pictures by showing them on the participants' mobile phones.

Engage them to find common features in the unfamiliar object seen during the exhibition and photos taken at home.

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Find a common ground, something in the exhibition that they all have appreciated. 

It can be a specific association of colors, geometric shapes, something unusual still intriguing. 

For example, the participants could be intrigued by the surprising use of extremely vivid colors in some popular art (i.e.Mexican statues) or by the unfamiliar way in which familiar topics are represented.

4. Creative Phase :
Recycled spice talisman making

Specific objectives

1. Interpreting and personalizing newly gained experience through creation
2. Sense making of  recycling, waking
awareness about the link between creating objects and protecting the
environment
3. Discovering and recycling skills
4. Creating souvenirs to remind positive
experience of theworkshops

Skills needed

For trainers, some experience in working with resin is needed. Before introducing this technique in a workshop, it is recommended to
try it out following the instructions in the description here below 
- A room where participants are allowed to
have creative activities
- Trainer shall also be prepared to know a few
technical terms in the participants' mother tongue

Materials needed

- UV resin in small portions, one per participant
- Spices and grains collected from home
- Small plastic bottles to hold the spices
- Wooden sticks to mix species with resin
- Pliers
- Metal wires, jewelry  findings such as hooks for earrings, hoops for pendants
- Silicone mats and plastic gloves
- Hoops of different forms made of metal
- Small UV lamps or a place exposed to sunlight
NB : For further materials, please see a more detailed description below

 

Time frame

Between 120 to 240 minutes

To introduce the Spice talisman making workshop, talk to participant about what a talisman is, about how objects such as jewelry and talismans travel around the world. If you saw any talisman-like object during the exhibition, recall them.

 

You can initiate a conversation about the materials they are made of, compare noble and ordinary ones in order to prepare them for the recycling process. 

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During the workshop's first part, you shall show them one of the possible techniques to create recycled talismans with spices and/or pigments.   

The following tutorial will help you to learn the technique. 

You will need :

Metal findings (steel, brass or copper)

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Silicone pads to apply the resin

Wooden sticks to mix the spices or the pigments with the resin and to apply it.

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UV resin that you can order on the Internet.

UV resin, unlike resin epoxy can be hardened immediately with the help of a UV lamp and allows you to create art pieces within your workshops that the participants can take home immediately after.

Small UV lamps or a place where you can expose the talismans to the sunshine.

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Plastic bottle caps to mix resin and spice in it. 

Finely powdered colorful spices or pigments 

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Plastic gloves for each participant to protect their hands

Begin the activity :

Place one ore more metal finding on a silicone pad

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Put a little bit of pigments or finely powdered spice into a plastic cap.

Mix it with a little quantity of UV resin.

IMPORTANT!

From the very second you pour out UV resin of its black plastic bottle that protects it from UV rays, it will begin to harden.

Thus, pay attention not to work too close to the window and protect the surface you are working on from direct sunlight. 

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Fill out gently and carefully your finding placed on the silicone pad. 

Work slowly

When you are done, you can add a very little amount of powder,  pigment or spice to create interesting or uneven textures or shades of colors. 

In the example (opposite), we just put some additional blue pigment without mixing it.

- Mix it with a little quantity of UV resin.

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Then place your talisman under the UV lamp for 1 or 2 minutes to harden it.

When you are done, turn in gently and dry the back side as well for 1 or 2 minutes.

If you don't have an UV lamp, put it directly on a sunny surface and keep it there without touching for 10 to15  minutes on both sides. 

Be careful while moving with your piece while the resin is still liquid.

The sprinkling has resulted in a nice play of transparency.

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With your tongs, peel off gently the exceeding resin from the back side.

Don't wait to long because if it is completely hard, it would be more difficult to peel it off.

With a thin drill bit, make a hole into your talisman close to the edges.

Be careful with the driller and place your talisman on a solid surface. Try not to drill through your finger. 

If you don't have a driller or you don't want to use it for security reasons,  you can also pierce your talisman with a needle.

In this second case, you will need to work quickly and carefully while the resin is not entirely hard yet.

Do it as if you were working with the driller, on a hard surface and pierce it gently, otherwise the resin risks to come off the metal frame.

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Now you just have to fix your bail to it, tighten it with your pliers.

You can put it on a metal chain to transform your talisman into a pendant.

In the example shown (see opposite), the participants mixed the vividly colorful universe of Mexican popular art objects with simple geometric  forms  inspired by symbols used on Islamic talismans.

As you can see, working with spices, resin and pigments can be a little bit messy.

But the mess can eventually help to put you into the creative flow, you just have to preview to protect your  tables and some time to clean up and put away everything at the end.

Here are some further ideas about that kind of "wasted" you can put into your UV resin to give them texture, colors and patterns:

- waste of pencil sharpening

- brass powder

- curry 

- sand

- tiny stones

- drops of oily painting

You can assemble them with pearls and beads. Just let your imagination flow.

If you have enough time for the workshop, yo can set up two different parts for this activity:

1. A first part to learn the technique and to freely experiment with it

2. A second part to create co-designed pieces around a specific theme.

Here, you can check out COTA's video description about the local training held in Marseilles: