Mediation Lab session - October 2018. Credits: Alexia Venot


Helped by a team of designers and teachers, migrant-craftsmen and students will imagine and co-create several pedagogical models of transmission of ‘travelling crafts’ and conceive ‘manifest objects’ that illustrate those approaches. These objects are discursive and materialize a cultural exchange with a specific narrative.


Eventually, this pedagogic model could later be applied by other PSL and art & design schools as well as other national institutions.


Based on a horizontal model (expert migrants-designers-students) and experimented within the Mediation Lab, this pedagogy outlines the potential retraining of craftsmen, and a recognition of their skills by the public, e.g. during open workshops with the local community, considering migration as a rich, stimulating and creative experience that must be shared.


Mediation Lab session - October 2018. Credits: Alexia Venot


1 - Sharing skills (with craftsmen from Crafting for Change and the Agency of Artists in Exile): October 2018-January 2019

The Studio 4Cs students collaborate with 4 expert-craftsmen who share their know-how with the goal of co-creating transmission tools that can adapt to different contexts, and co-produce manifest objects resulting from the exchange. These pedagogical tools will be shared first during the ENSAD open doors in January.


The Workshop "Something new", model workshop to co-imagine an urban space, by Ibrahim Adam, model architect, ENSAD students and designers Florian Dach and Dimitri Zephir has certainly helped Ibrahim to analyze his way of approaching his work of modelmaker in France. His method of building the models that he sets up by spontaneously assembling and composing disparate elements (pieces of wood, paper, foams, consumer objects, etc) guided  by the forms and sometimes the materials that compose them allowed the public to explore its working method, thus enriching and co-construct a new vision of architecture and the city.



The "Karim Ruhullah workshop" to discover the Afghan carpet through initiation to knots and patterns has certainly helped Karim Ruhullah, upholsterer, EnsAD students and designer researcher Natalia Baudoin to deepen his theoretical knowledge of his profession, in particular, the history of tapestry in Afghanistan and France. This experience was a real revelation for him and allowed him to co-develop new methodologies for the transmission of his profession, more interactive and intuitive and thus to complete his practice. Karim Ruhullah has been knotting rugs since he was a child because in Afghanistan the job of upholsterer is a family affair. His practice requires a lot of skill and perseverance in order to create patterns rich in meaning and detail. 



The "ALARA" workshop, introduction to the techniques of ancestral Sudanese pottery by Yasir Mohamed Elamine, potter craftsman, students and artist-designer Carmen Bouyer has helped the expert newcomer  to deepen his knowledge of modern pottery by exploring the latest techniques available at school (3D ceramic printer, etc.) and by developing the shapes that these contemporary tools make possible. The challenge they have set themselves was to integrate these forms and new perspectives into their low tech mobile workshop that will allow him to teach his craft in different contexts and places.



The workshop "Castle of plaster", workshop of narrative sculpture in plaster by Bassam Salwkha, plasterer artist,  EnsAD students and design researcher Alexia Venot helped Bassam breaking down and understand his own work process, which involves the elaboration of a story, the construction of an architectural element and its plastic shaping. In order to develop the potential for the transmission of his technique, he co-developed with the students a meditation device in which the participant is invited to discover Bassam's know-how based on a personal history that brought out architectural volumes. Bassam Salwkha is Syrian, originally a craftsman-staffer, he worked as an architectural ornament in official buildings. His exile was the trigger for his current work. His personal history has led him to transpose his practice into artistic creation, through narrative and emotional sculptures. Bassam's work is characterized by a spontaneous and sensitive approach to sculpture that blends the artist's experience and imagination. 


2 - Revealing skills (with Emmaüs Les Résilientes): February-April 2019

Studio 4Cs students collaborate with non-expert migrants to ‘reveal’ their skills. With the designer Eugenie de la Rivière, Emmaüs Les Résilientes will propose 3 labs (1 per month) gathering inhabitants, Ensad students, and ‘newcomers’ from our social work. The goal is to produce collaborative works based on creativity and collective intelligence.



3 - Valuing skills: May-June 2019

Students assist the migrant-experts in the mediation of their know-how possibly at la Villette Makerz, Centre Pompidou and the event “La rue aux Enfants” of the Centre Pompidou. This last phase will be an occasion to share the year’s experience and celebrate the enhanced value of the know-how of the craftsmen-newcomers.

The Villette Makerz is a third place to connect ideas and materials. driven by WoMa, a neighbourhood factory, and supported by the City of Paris and the Etablissement Public du Parc et de la Grande Halle de la Villette (EPPGHV). On the 11th and 12th of May 2019 two three expert newcomers, students and designers proposed and shared with the public different pedagogical models developed during the year in the objective of letting the public create objects that at the same time highlight the exceptional know-how of each expert and develop new approaches to each craftsmanship. The context was perfect because la Villette Makerz is situated in a public parc welcoming very different publics because of the different institutions present in the parc (Cité de la Musique, Cité des Sciences, National Music and Dans Conservatory, the Philarmony, several theatres, hippodrome, etc.). The participation was continual and particularly active.



La Rue aux Enfants is an event voted during the Paris 2014 participatory budget and proposed by the association Cafézoïde (the first children's café in France that opened its doors in 2002 as a place of life where caring adults would welcome children and allow them to participate fully in cultural and artistic life, encourage the organization of appropriate means of leisure, recreation, artistic and cultural activities for the benefit of the child on equal terms). La Rue aux Enfants is an event that takes place during the national game day with the objective of recognizing the game as an essential activity for the child's development, a tool for learning, knowledge transmission and education for all. On the 29th of May 2019 during the event, we proposed the mediation lab by the expert newcomer potterer Yassir in the form of experience for children as a mean of cultural expression promoting intercultural and intergenerational encounters, creation of social and communication links and thus source of pleasure. This open-air event was just perfect for the Mediation lab and the young public could enjoy it for the whole day. It was also a perfect context to explain the context of the 4Cs project to the parents during their kid’s activity.


Beaubourg, Centre Pompidou. During two days (15th and 16th of June 2019) non-expert newcomers, EnsAD students and the public experienced the results of a three-month "revelation" pedagogy developed by Emmaüs les Resiliantes and its founder, designer Eugenie de Larivière, with students in Object Design and Interior Architecture from EnsAD. The pedagogy was previously tested in three pre-laboratories mixing inhabitants and "Newcomers" from the various social actions of the Resilientes (Les Résilientes is a design studio created by the Emmaüs Alternatives association and designer Eugénie deLarivière. It is a design studio in a context of professional and social integration whose objective is to co-create collections of "redone" objects based on abandoned objects and materials). The development of newcomers’ creative skills was enhanced and triggered by the “revelation” of a young public invited to the ateliers and produced collaborative works based on creativity, ingenuity and collective intelligence. The notoriety of the place allowed larger access to public.



Please visit here to see the Mediation Lab's video and here to the Handbook of the activity.