SELMA at Aboagora

SELMA takes part in this year’s Aboagora at Turku with a workshop on Friday 17th of June at the Sibeliusmuseum:

Travelling stories in the shadow of forced migration

In this session we hear stories, from those who have been forced to leave their homes and are seeking asylums from Europe, and from Finland. We hear individual stories, which open up the question of fate in this particular context of forced migration. What happens to life-stories when people are part of catastrophic upheavals? How do their life-stories become narrated in a new context, is it even possible? What forms of remembering do traumatic events produce?

The fragmented narrations of life-stories will be performed through a performance combining sound and visual elements. After the performance, we will gather in a multidisciplinary discussion and explore different kinds of perspectives to these fragments. We will also ask, how creative practices could be used as a tool to enhance encounters and to deal with trauma.

The background of the session is in the project of the Department of Creative Writing at the University of Turku. It has been organizing workshops aiming at getting to know asylum seekers . At the same time the project has had as a possible goal to gather asylum seekers’ stories. The discussants represent different fields of research, and are part of the research centre SELMA: Centre for the Study of Storytelling, Experientiality and Memory.

Our session will begin with a performance combining literary, musical and visual elements. Students of creative writing,  puppeteer (DMA) Laura Sillanpää and social instructor  (specialized in musical theatre and musical therapy) Sonja Valtonen will join in a dialogue concerning their creative writing project “Toiset tarinat” (Other stories). This will be followed with literary presentations by Akhlad Al-Mudhafar and an Iraqi writer, journalist, theatre teacher and an asylum seeker Bahaulddin Rawi, who came to Turku last autumn. After the performance, Sillanpää, Rawi and Al-Mudhafar will join in a panel discussion. Other discussants will be Sanna Salanterä, Professor of Clinical Nursing Science (Department of Nursing Science University of Turku), who is interested in health issues both from individual asylum seeker’s point of view and from perspective of the Finnish healthcare system; Kaisa Kaakinen, Postdoctoral Researcher in Comparative Literature (University of Turku), who has done research on contemporary and twentieth-century literature and the analytical challenges posed by transnational circulation of narratives on traumatic historical events; Erkki Sutinen, professor of information technology (University of Turku), who is specialized in digital storytelling and has travelled and worked many years for example in Africa; Maarit Leskelä-Kärki, adjunct professor and senior lecturer at the Department of Cultural History and vice director of SELMA (University of Turku), who is specialized in the practices and methodologies of biographical and autobiographical writing. To conclude, we will listen to a song by Kimi Kärki, who is a musician and University Lecturer at the Department of Cultural History (University of Turku).

ABOAGORA – BETWEEN ARTS AND SCIENCES SYMPOSIUM brings together the aspects of the academia, arts and society. Symposium consists of interdisciplinary discussions, workshops, artistic intervensions and Falling Walls Lab Turku – the international contest for young researchers. The symposium is organized by the University of Turku, Åbo Akademi University and the Åbo Akademi Foundation.