The last indigenous people in Europe
Duration: 5 weeks, spring 2018 AT
umeå institute of design
Team: Sebastian De carbo (es),
martina eriksson (se)
partner: Swedish Sami National
OrG., The Sami Handicraft OrG.
Type: COMMUNICATION design
Research, Co-creation workshop,
DOCUMENTATION, FILMING, PHYSICAL
INTERVIEWING, CONCEPT CREATION.
UNDERSTANDING YOUR POSITION AS
A DESIGNER IN RELATION TO SOCIETY.
A TELEPHONE SWITCHBOARD, GIVING
THE USER THE OPPORTUNITY TO
LISTEN TO VARIOUS STORIES about
THE SAMI; STORIES PARTICULARLY
related to NATURE, OPPRESSION,
In this communication design for co-creation project, we aim at challenging our preconceptions of design by using engagements with communities that have different world views as means to reflect on our position as designers in society. The goal is to depict the transformation that happens when we, as designers, humbly engage with different communities. The output of this project is an interactive exhibition depicting not only the stories, but especially how we (and everything) changes in the respectful meeting between different communities. Therefore shifting from portraying communities through “otherness” towards portraying “we-ness”.
The Sami are one of the world’s indigenous peoples around the world. The common denominator for indigenous peoples is that they lived in the same place before the country was invaded or colonised They have their own culture, language and customs that differ from those of the rest of society. Indigenous peoples have been oppressed throughout history. Their land has been confiscated, they have been displaced and their cultures have been suppressed. In some cases they have been victims of genocide. Most of the world’s indigenous peoples live on the fringes of society. They are held together by their identity – their culture, language and tradition. This identity is always associated with a geographical area and the historical links with the environment that they have inhabited and used. But indigenous peoples do not necessarily live in real areas and make the same kind of living as their ancestors. On the contrary, many of them live in towns just like other people. Time change, people adapt. Indigenous peoples keep up some traditions, while others change in time, and their identities, like everyone else’s, are constantly changing too.
Before leaving the university the students were divided into three teams with three different destinations, all in Sápmi of Northern Sweden. When preparing for the journey and the encounter with the Sami reindeer herding community, our approach was to have an open mind trying to see and understand as much as possible through participatory observations and having meaningful dialogues.
co-creation of exhibition
We held a series of co-creative moments throughout the project. The first co-creative workshop, was aimed at engaging stakeholders, tutors and other students in ethnographic data and insights. The goal of the first workshop was to validate ethnographic research and to refine the material by having “anticolonial checks” with the help of other students and tutors. Afterwards, a storytelling workshop facilitated the co-creation of an overall story for the exhibition and further organized the material into possible clusters.By the end of project we have roughly defined the story and the elements of the exhibition.
The interactive exhibition tells the story of people, a culture and a history that to many are new and strange. It tells of an indigenous population that has been forced to change its way of life and has elected to adapt its culture and lifestyle to modern society. It’s purpose is to raise awareness about Sami culture, history and society. With co-creative communication design we take the opportunity to express what we have learned about the indigenous Sami during our study trips; for example what it means to be a Sami today, what it meant in the past and what it may mean in the future.