“Travelling stories in the shadow of forced migration” – workshop at Aboagora in Turku

SELMA’s workshop “Travelling stories in the shadow of forced migration” at Aboagora in Turku at Sibelius-musem on June the 17th, was an affective combination of light, shadow, music, story fragments, monologues, poetry, and artistic-scholarly discussions. This year Aboagora had as its theme Fate, and it drew SELMA immediately to think of fate in the context of the present situation in Europe and at its borders. Like it is written in the program of Aboagora about the Norn of fate: What possibilities do we humans have in our lives and how are we bound by the past? As we knew that the students at the Department of Creative Writing had organized a project aiming at getting to know asylum seekers and to hear their stories, we constructed the session around these stories.

This was a culmination for the project “Other stories” and our joint discussions that have been going on through the spring months. It has been a challenging, thrilling and exciting experience, that really seems to combine all those elements that we regard important in SELMA’s aims: multidiscpilinary research, joint discussion and happenings with scholars, artists and other people outside academia, affective encounters, new openings.

This seems to be a start for a larger co-operation, and possible future project. First we aim to publish something about the workshop, and then continue discussing how we could combine our ideas to a larger European project concerning asylum seeker’s stories, artistic outcomes and digital storytelling. So, please, keep following us here on facebook and our blog. We welcome ideas and contacts from other European projects working with similar kinds of projects.

We want to warmly thank the organisers of Aboagora and our whole team, most of all Bahaulddin Rawi and Akhlad Al-Mudhafar, who were ready to share their stories and participate our discussion!


Performers Laura Sillanpää, Bahaulddin Rawi, Akhlad Al-Mudhafar, Sonja Valtonen


Akhlad Al-Mudhafar narrating his poetry

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Bahaulddin Rawi and the story of his travel accross Europe


Laura Sillanpää and Sonja Valtonen performing fragmentary stories of asylum seekers in Turku


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Rawi’s monologue in Arabic



Discussion continued with the performers and scholars from SELMA: Sanna Salanterä, Erkki Sutinen, Kaisa Kaakinen and Maarit Leskelä-Kärki




Our workshop ended with a musical performance by cultural historian, musician Kimi Kärki. He played his song “I am Aries” born under the shadow of Lampedusa.

(pictures: Maarit Leskelä-Kärki and Kimi Kärki & Aboagora)


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2 Responses to “Travelling stories in the shadow of forced migration” – workshop at Aboagora in Turku

  1. Pingback: ”Taide voi olla tiedon lähde” | SELMA

  2. Pingback: Trauma, Memory, and Art: SELMA taking part in Change2017 | SELMA

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