Homeward is a project that reframes how integration is understood and practiced through the use of co-creative practices. Despite the multiplication of highly innovative and inclusive local or national initiatives, the way integration policies are conceived remains fundamentally embedded in an idiom of power and the illusion of an achievable cultural homogeneity. By contrast, Homeward posits that insertion into a new society is more than a succession of formal steps toward assimilation and employability. It means the progressive construction a new home, not only linguistically and culturally but also existentially. That is, building a place where people can reconcile their past, present, and future, hence acquiring a sense of belonging. To encourage this existential dimension, Homeward proposes to develop a double reflection. On the one hand, ensuring that homemaking is discussed by immigrants from their own experiences and perspectives. On the other hand, better understanding why previous initiatives aiming to include immigrants’ voices fail to translate into institutional and societal thinking of integration. In doing so, Homeward actively engages with contemporary concerns for social inclusion and sustainability in growingly diverse societies.
What do we do
To accomplish its objectives, Homeward relies on co-creation, a growingly popular concept of policymaking that disrupts hierarchies between governmental, economic, academic and individual knowledge. Through the organization and facilitation of co-creative workshops combining immigrant voices, academic research, and societal activism, Homeward reflects upon how making a home in Finland is lived. In doing so, we also hope to critically engage with what is at stake in the process of co-creation itself, to understand what sort of voice it enables and to which extent it allows for transforming the society in an inclusive manner.
In practice, Homeward partners with the Association of Middle Eastern Women (Lähi-idän Naisten Yhdistys), an officially registered association founded in April 2018 in Tampere. Our ultimate objective is not only to better understand homemaking, but also to conceptualize and experiment ways in which lived experiences of this process can be shared and understood by others and thus ultimately impact institutional and societal knowledge on integration beyond the duration of a specific project.Homeward hence contributes to current reflections on the future of inclusion in the Nordic model
Bruno Lefort, Principal investigator
Housana Alfashtaki, Research associate
Ilaria Tucci, Postdoctoral researcher
Meeri Tiensuu Doctoral researcher