My Stories, My Terms - Berlin 2016



Content development and visualization workshop



‘My Stories, My Terms’ is designed as an initiative to combine the word with a design process to enable a group of enthusiastic refugees, asylum seekers and emigrants to tell their stories on their own terms. The objective is to place control back into the hands of the refugees/authors to write, design and share their own stories, eliminating any sort of agenda, exploitation or external influence. 



In its capital role, Berlin swipes you out of your comfort zone the moment you face its grunge. Even walls in this city refuse to stand passively, where there’s no space for pretentious avant-gardism and definitely no room for a ‘European’ dream the way American dreams are manufactured on a daily basis.


And today, most designers, urban planners, architects, researchers and academics are using Berlin to shake complacency: The amount of projects related to refugees is mind-blowing across all sectors, funding is relatively easy to ensure and exposure is guaranteed for any socially claimed project.


But many of these projects are more interested in funding and self-promotion -everyone wants a slice of that cake-, rather than true commitment to social purpose.


This led to many refugees feeling exploited by the media and the inflating number of academics interviewing them everyday. While the media insists on having a strong point of view and uses refugee stories to reinforce it, the project decided to alter that role and free these stories from agendas.


Process & Results 

The workshop’s reformulated idea makes a direct use of design and writing techniques in a forward targeted format rather than a theoretical framework. It included specific tools for writing, feedback exchange and a basic use of semiotics and visual metaphors to illustrate an idea.


The goal was to initiate an autonomous experience in storytelling where the authors are not dependent on media to translate their journey but instead have complete control over their recollections and current challenges they face.


Their stories are tales of endeavor and non-apologetic personal accounts. For the coming period, the work of the participants will be compiled into visual and textual outcomes, while ‘my stories, my terms’ helps the visual word reach the widest audience possible. 


‘My Stories, My Terms’ is available on Facebook.


Press Coverage





RSA ENGAGE: Thinking through design - London 



The project was made possible by Dérive Berlin, a scholarship awarded by Avans Centre for Art and Design in cooperation with Belius Foundation Berlin. 


Each year, Dérive Berlin offers 2 outstanding students enrolled in the Bachelor of Communication & Multimedia Design or at the School of Fine Art and Design St.Joost the opportunity to visit Berlin.

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