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Recycling visual heritage and skills

From Ornament to Adornment 
How to create your own Cultural Art piece? 

Recommended for

People with migrant or refugee background

Duration and phases 

4 sessions + a blended part that you can organise in 3 or 4 days 

Number of participants
Up to 8 participants

Part 1: Introduction


1. Ice braking
2. Explaining the workshop activities
3. Creating cultural encounters within an intercultural group


Between 30 and 60 minutes depending on the number of participants

Materials needed

- Eventually some objects brought with the participants from home

You can  begin general conversation with a storytelling exercice.  about the participants' home countries and their culture of origin. 


You can orientate the conversation with questions such as is "What is different in adopted  culture and  what is same?"
What is something you like/dislike in each culture?

To introduce the notion of recycling cultural heritage, you can also ask them to bring objects that they brought with them when moved to their adopted county and that they are still using; wearing.  You can ask the to present these objects like here.

To introduce the notion of recycling skills, ask them about  skills and knowledge that the ygained back their home country and  that they are still using.

Part 2 : Discovery

Exploring the Familiar in the Museum and at Home 


1. Discovering oneself by reconnecting with artefacts of your culture of origin

2. Discovering how one's own culture impacts other cultures

3. Getting familiar with the museum landscape in the city


For this individual exercise you can give to the participants a few days up to one week.

Materials needed

- Travel tickets  

- Museum tickets 

- Smartphones

When living abroad, often we are not aware of all those treasures from our culture of origin that local museums are hiding. So we don‘t know either how much these objects and artworks are appreciated by many of the local people. Discovering them together with the context in which they and showcased can be encouraging to make initiatives ourselves to create dialogue with local people through visual creativity and to dare to use our own cultural references.



While visiting the exhibitions, share ideas about what a
museum can do to preserve artefacts. 


Concentrate on the ancient artefacts of the region where the participants come from, to connect with them and to  see that the city of Berlin has a part of the museum dedicated to their own cultural background.

In this museum visit, you will explore what is familiar for your target group (Here, the Turkish partimonium). 


Ask participants to take pictures and videos of the artefacts that speak to them, that have an interesting pattern or colour, or remind them of their own culture or childhood.

Part 3 : Blended workshop

Your home as a museum


1. Discover oneself in one's personal environment, documenting aesthetic elements and symbols from home

2. Rediscovering elements of visual culture of origin

3. Inciting analogical thinking, linking daily patterns to artworks

4.  Learning skills in concise verbal expression



For this individual exercise you can give to the participants a few days up to one week.

Materials needed

- Smartphones

- Objects and artefacts at home

Ask the participants to walk through ones own home as if it was a museum and rediscover what they own and think about where they bought it, why they bought it and if it
has a connection to their culture.


Ask them to collect objects that have pattern or ornaments connected to their home culture and/or to the culture in which they currently live in.

You can also turn the activity into a story-telling exercise by asking the participants to write down in1or 2 sentences (in local language or in language of origin) about:

Where does the picture, objects, ornament come from and how it is related in their view to the photos they previously took at the museum.

hassan massoud.png

Part 4  : Body Mapping


1.Discovering and depicting cultural identity

2. Learning to express feeling visually

3. Rethinking relationship between body, emotions and souvenirs

4. Learning new visual forms of expression

5. Working in group

6. Improving  soft skills in visual storytelling



60 - 90 minutes

Materials needed

For the original version of body mapping:

- Large brown wrapping paper
- Gray and colourful pencils or markers
- Erasers
- A wide space where half of participants can lay down on the ground at the same time.


For small version on A4 papers:

- Paper
- Gray and colourful pencils
- Erasers

The original version of body mapping requires to be able to move freely in space, lay down on the floor, etc.  For people with physical difficulties, we recommand a simplified version of the exercise.
Body mapping is particularly apt to express feelings and  thoughts about multiple cultural identities  and can be interesting to use it within a mixed group of people with different cultural or ethnic origins.

Body mapping is a participatory art tool that enables the participants to find visual topics involving their bodies. 

The outcome will consist of the contour of each of your bodies that will be filled up with drawings, colours, patterns or even words and sentences which, when analysing them together at the end of the exercise tell more about you than simple  speech..

1. Choose a topic that your body map will "talk" about and share it with the participants. In the training, we concentrated on our social and cultural identities.

2. Explain the participants how the exercise works: they shall depict feelings, experiences which are important for them and they should also connect  them to  a specific body part.   

The exercise can be particularity interesting to depict multiple cultural identities. You can map how different identities leave traces in your body. Tell them that in the drawing, they should also think of their organs: their brain, their heart, their stomach to link feeling with them too.  


3. Form pairs. Spread out your large wrapping  papers on the floor. 

4. Now one should lay down on it, in the position he or she wants to while the other will draw the contours of his or her body on the paper. Use markers, it is easier to manipulate.

5. Change roles within the pairs to create the other's body outline too.

6. The next phase is an independent task. Each of you will work on his or her own body map. As mentioned, some of you may use symbols...

7. When you're done, spread the body maps all over the place, on the ground or on the walls as in an exhibition room and initiate a conversation session about them.

Ask the participants to describe and to explain their body maps. Ask them also about their difficulties and how they felt during thee exercise.



If, for any reason (because of age, illness or cultural obstacles), your participants cannot move freely enough to make the body maps of human size, you can also ask them to draw the outline of a human body on an A4 sized paper and fill it out in the same way with words, patterns or images.