Behind the Blackboard

Behind the Blackboard is a socially engaged project consisting of 1-3 months long workshops held in 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 more desirable and to transform that vision into reality.

In the workshops the participating youths study and analyse 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 depict the ways youths from different backgrounds produce change in their everyday environments.

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

In Keinutie Primary School in Helsinki, for example, 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 Chattogram the youths were disappointed with the poor communication between the students in their school. To increase the communication the youths designed and built a a social space for the students of the school. The space also served as a library that the school did not have before. In Nepal the students of Dibya Joyti English Medium Schoolneeded to study in a temporary shelter school since the 2015 earthquakes 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.

Work info

JP Kaljonen, Lauri Ståhlberg (Behind the Blackboard Helsinki); JP Kaljonen, Abu Naser Robii (Behind the Blackboard Chattogram); JP Kaljonen, Abu Naser Robii, Rabin Maharjan, Muna Bhadel (Behind the Blackboard Siphapokare & Bungamati / production: Rebuilding Recaptured project), socially engaged project, 3 x 1-channel video installaations, 30 min / 16:9 / HD, Finland, Bangladesh, Nepal 2015-2017.