Specially Unknown in a nutshell  –  Collecting and sharing life stories of refugees


Life stories of refugees in four 4 European cities  –  Antwerp, Bochum Paris and Turin – are video recorded between spring 2018 and winter 2019.


These stories – about their life in the European cities, about what they bring and could add to these cities, but also about their sometimes long way to Europe – are meant to inspire productions of various art works and actions, in co-creation between refugees and local artists and cultural professionals and institutions, to be presented to the local public in the spring of 2019.


Parallel, a Delphi panel study on the meaning, policies and practices of cultural participation involving 45 experts from various fields, is being held in 9 European countries: Belgium, France, Germany, Grece, Hungary, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal and Sweden.


In June 2019, the outcomes of the Specially Unknown project – interviews, artistic productions and the Delphi panel – were shared at the Oracle of Amsterdam conference to inspire 180 participants to create their own ideas, visions and plans on how to include life stories of refugees in cultural heritage, production and policies in their own organizations and cities.


We have collected 148 stories which, together with the 248 interviews of the Dutch project Ongekend Bijzonder, all translated into English, are a part of a European database of oral history interviews with refugees. Ongekend Bijzonder won a public award of the Code Cultural Diversity Award 2017. It had a significant social and cultural impact on all involved parties – fieldworkers, refugees, artists and cultural organizations – in The Netherlands, attracted a lot of attention from abroad and got a follow up in the European project Specially Unknown.