20 students, 5th grade, Miguel de Cervantes School, Vitoria-Gasteiz

Teacher: Josune Mendia
Artist: Nerea Lekuona
Main curricular subject: Social Studies
Related curricular subject: Basque Language/Studies
Language: Basque

This project was aimed at promoting respect and inclusion in the classroom, on the basis of the cultural diversity of a group whose members had very different backgrounds. A safe space was built where the students were not afraid to show their feelings. In this space, they put forward a series of initiatives to promote collective action and outspoken communication.

Tasks included filling in information about their families’ countries of origin on blank maps, and coming to school wearing traditional clothes (djellabas, saris, hijabs, etc.) or carrying traditional objects from those countries and capturing them in selfies.

The ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine led the students to think about displaced persons and design a “new home” where they could feel safe – especially children forced to leave their homes. They discussed the impact of armed conflicts and the importance of language and communication. They drew sketches of the safe place and then turned them into models for a full-scale installation.

Once the installation was ready, they were asked to think of words, images, and shapes that could help displaced persons feel better, and to add them to the installation. The sound piece Susurros amigos (Friendly Whispers) was made to give encouraging messages in different languages. Finally, a large-format book was edited containing facts about other armed conflicts going on in the world.