Behind the Blackboard

Behind the Blackboard is a socially engaged art project consisting of one to three months long ”transition workshops” held in primary and secondary schools with 12-16 year old youths in different countries. The workshops aim is to provide the youths creative space and means to envision their own immediate environments desirable and to transform that vision into reality.

In the workshops the participating youths study and analyze problems inside their school communities, develop solutions for the problems and implement the solutions into practice. The youths record the workshop processes with video cameras and the material is edited to video documentaries. These documentaries from various schools in different countries portray the ways youths from different cultural and socio-economic backgrounds produce change in their everyday environments at elementary school juxtaposing difficulties and problem solving methods in different cultural settings.

This far the project has been implemented in Helsinki City Kaisaniemi- and Keinutie Primary Schools in Helsinki, Finland 2015; Ambition Ideal School & College in Chittagong, Bangladesh 2016; Shree Rajeshwori Higher Secondary School in Sipapokhare, Sindhupalchowk and Dibya Joyti English Medium School in Bungmati, Lalitpur, Nepal 2017.

For example in the Keinutie Primary School in Helsinki, Finland the youths designed an intervention that took place in their school on a May day. With the intervention the youths wanted to make visible social problems within their school community. The youths distributed one thousand balloons with printed slogans about the school´s problems to all the students and teachers in their school. The youths repeated the intervention also in the busy Helsinki University metro station by distributing the balloons to citizens on their way to May day carnival events.

In Ambition Ideal School & College in Bangladesh the youths were unsatisfied for the lack of communication between their school´s students. To increase the communication the youths designed and built a a social space for the students which functioned also as a first libarary in their school. In Nepal the students of Dibya Joyti English Medium Schoolneeded to study in a temporary shelter school since the 2015 earthquake had destroyed their school building. The students were suffering from poor soundproofing and couldn’t hear what they were taught. To solve the problem the youths designed and built soundproofing for their school from locally sourced materials.