Mideast Creatives brainstormed with the founders of a creative hub for refugees in Amsterdam. El Space, Shift Incubation, Science Camp and Cairo Hackerspace were invited to the hub ‘Ondertussen’ during a work trip to The Netherlands.
The new hub, in down-town Amsterdam, is an ‘in between space’ where international artists co-work in residencies. At least half of the the co-workers are (or once were) refugees.
In Holland, refugees from places like Syria or Afghanistan are hosted in asylum seekers’ centres. It is where refugees wait to get a status, sometimes for years. In the meantime, they are not allowed to work of follow a study. Ondertussen is challenging this widely accepted idea of how to best host refugees.
The hub is currently in its starting phase. The co-founders were all eyes and ears to hear about the experiences of the Mideastern and fellow creative hub-makers. Some of the questions they prepared for the Mideast Creatives:
- “How do you design a hub co-owned by its creative community?”
- “How do you develop programmes that mix psycho-social support and artistic skills?”
- “How can our hub can become economically independent?”
Some advice from the Mideast Creatives:
Tarek Omar of Cairo Hackerspace advised to not be hasty with transferring ownership of day-to-day operations to the artists: “I have seen with my own eyes how management can kill creativity.”
Omar Assaf of Shift Incubation explained how his co-founder fled from Syria and is now running the space. “We made our own curriculum to include trauma healing and psycho-social support in our vocational or incubation programmes”
Adnen from El Space encouraged the hub to look out for ‘hidden sources of revenue’: “Can you sell the artwork? Or make a deal with galleries in Amsterdam to showcase their work?” You can watch his full presentation here.
Do you want to get in touch with the refugee hub in the Netherlands? You can ask Lotte (email@example.com) for an introduction. Watch a documentary about the co-founder here.