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Purpose – This chapter discusses the belonging of second-generation Finnish Somalis based on a participatory performative research project conducted in Helsinki with young…
Purpose – This chapter discusses the belonging of second-generation Finnish Somalis based on a participatory performative research project conducted in Helsinki with young second-generation immigrants.
Methodology/approach – The project involved organizing workshops with teams of art and media professionals and, together with the co-researching participants, staging productions, such as photo and video exhibitions and producing books and documentaries; these artworks, in turn, formed an important part of the research reporting. In these productions, the search for multiple homes and belonging formed a narrative that was expressed in both the audio-visual materials and the written stories.
Findings – The performative approaches and audio-visual methods employed in the study assisted the participants in dealing with questions of belonging and othering by emphasizing the strength and multifacetedness offered by outsider positions. In the ‘potential spaces’ created in the project setting, memories and experiences could be expressed in symbolic form, discussed and rearticulated. This, in turn, made possible the negotiation of a form of cultural citizenship that combined different homes, nations and senses of belonging.
Social implications – By claiming a cultural citizenship in their productions, the young participants were able to create multiple narrations for themselves and Finnishness, which also supported their resilience. By creating works of art with the young people, we other participants were able to observe our own participation and research from a critical perspective.
Originality/value of the chapter – The chapter demonstrates how varied perspectives and different epistemological understandings can be recognized and shared with an audience in a performative research setting.