Right now I’m working on a project called Kuutio, together with architect student Tuula Mäkiniemi.
Right now I’m working on a project called Kuutio, together with architect student Tuula Mäkiniemi.
5.5.2012 the block party ‘Sitratorin Korttelitapahtuma’ took place.
There was collective painting led by a local art therapist…
…the local band Rising Rice had a gig…
…the library was selling old books…
…and the gym Lady Line led a Zumba session.
There was also Bingo held by Kaarelan eläkeläiset…
…there was a knit graffiti workshop held in the youthcentre…
…and a game session led by the library in the gallery of Kanneltalo.
All pictures in this post by Saara Kähönen.
One day before the block party Sitratorin Korttelitapahtuma, students from Kannelmäen peruskoulu painted chairs at Sitratori. The chairs were then built into benches and during the block party people were able to suggest where the benches should be placed.
By painting the chairs on Sitratori by-passers attention was drawn and they could be told about the project and invited to the block party. People who would not normally go into Kanneltalo to see what is going on were reached while painting and building the benches. When the chairs were dry and I was building them into benches, I got useful advice about how to proceed by a few local people enjoying a Friday beer at the Sitratori.
The benches were placed at different places in the area.
When I went back a few week later to see what happened with the benches I found one of them had been a bit modified.
The course Repicturing Suburban Neighborhood, which is part of Aalto University’s 365 wellbeing project and the European project called TANGO was held in Kanneltlo 2.5. – 8.5. 2012.
Students from Aalto University, Politecnico di Milano and l’école de Design Nantes Atlantique participated in the course. The workshop was held as an open exhibition, were the information gathered previous to the workshop was displayed. The exhibition served as a way to help the workshop participants to get to know the area and what the residents think of it, while it was also a way to display the data gathered to the residents of Kannelmäki. During the workshop week the residents of kannelmäki were able to follow the students’ work, answer to questions posed by the students and leave messages in the exhibition. The exhibition aimed at serving as a mirror, reflecting back to the residents opinions that had been gathered and can hopefully serve as a way to create dialogue around common interests and concerns within the neighborhood.
During the first day, those who were involved in the postcard project called Tärkeä Paikka, were invited to the exhibition. Here the students from Kannelmäen peruskoulu and the elderly which the students had sent postcards to, met each other.
During the course I was involved in setting up a block party at Sitratorin Korttelitapahtuma and painted chairs with students from Kannelmäen peruskoulu which were built into benches and placed at different places in the area.
During the spring I have been visiting the school, Kannelmäen peruskoulu once a week for a period of four weeks. During the art classes of class 7c, the students have done postcards of places in Kannelmäki that they find important. Each student have chosen a place in the area and have then decided him or herself in which way to present the place i the postcard. Many of the pupils have photographed the places, others have done drawings.
The postcards were sent to elderly living in the area. The students described why they chose the place in the card and in which way the place is important to them. Each card had a question, regarding the place or what place in Kannelmäki is important to the elderly person. Some of the students made two postcards, the second one for the elderly to send back to the student.
Most on the cards were sent to persons who are part of the association “Kannelmäen eläkeläiset”. During a visit to their weekly meeting I collected addresses from those who were interested of participating. Some of the postcards still needed respondents, so last week I visited the elderly home called Rumpupolun palvelutalo. I talked a bit about my project, the upcoming workshop in Kannelmäki and then we looked at the postcards the students had done. The seniors from Rumpupolun palvelutalo responded to the cards, while we also discussed how long they had been living in Kannelmäki, what they think about the area, which places are important and about memories related to the area.
A presentation of the project will be exhibited during the workshop in Kanneltalo 2.-5.8. The visitors of the exhibition will also be able to tell about their important places in the area. The postcard project is a way to find out what kind of places are important for people living in the area, while it acts as a way to create dialogue among different generations around a common concern. Discussion around what the area is like, can act as a way to connect people from different generations around a common concern.
During the WDC design week-end 3-5.2, there was a workshop held as a foundation for the ‘Repicturing Suburban Neighbourhood’ workshop, which will be held in Kannelmäki in May. The area of Sitratori, situated by the train station of Kannelmäki, in front of the cultural centre called Kanneltalo, has frequently been mentionned as a ‘not-so-nice’ area, during discussions with local people. We decided to give the locals an opportunity to share their ideas of how the area could be improved. We took photos of the area and made black and white prints, where the participants of our workshop could then draw and use collage technique to present their proposition. The idea is that these propositions could be used as inspiration for the work that will be done during the upcoming workshop in May, and serves as one of the steps in my co-design process related to suburban revitalization and intergenerational dialogue. For those who were not eager to express themselves visually, we prepared question notes with three simple questions about the living environment and Sitratori.
Three students from the Art education department who took a course in museum pedagogy, were involved in the workshop. Here are the reflections of one of the art educators, Saara Kähönen, about the workshop in Kanneltalo;
…Saturday morning I realized that I still knew very little about this whole thing. What would I say when people come to ask what we are doing and why? What can we promise to the inhabitants? That there is going to be a workshop later this spring and we are gathering some information and ideas for that. At least I could say that they get free coffee and pulla. Would it be enough for people to make the effort?
We started at 11am. The beginning was quite slow as we expected since it was Saturday morning. But as the day went by we got more participants. It was good that we also had the question form because some people said no to the do-it-yourself photo but when they heard that it would be possible just to write down their ideas, they were more willing to participate. There were children, couples and elderly people, we tried to get as versatile group as possible. Some were just stopping by but some spent quite a long time scrapping and writing.
The main message from almost all was that they didn´t like Sitratori because of its restlessness. That there shouldn´t be bars (or at least one would be enough) and that the drunken/intoxicated people hanging there are not wanted and are even a bit frightening (especially for children). Flowers were considered good as well as all kinds of events that would gather people together. Also people liked that all the services are quite near.
The more I listened to people and talked with them the more I started to realize the point (or at least what seemed to be the main thing for my opinion). It isn´t about what is in Sitratori but more about who there is. We can paint a nice picture on the wall or plant some flowers etc but it is not going to be a solution to these people. The things that are most important (and again, only my opinion) are to get the people together and to create some kind of continuity. It´s not really going to do anything if Aalto Yliopisto will arrange a workshop where we paint a wall with some pretty colours. The thing is to get those people who are interested in some kind of social activity, and create contacts between them so that after this is over they have some kind of network. Very big words and high hopes, yes, and I´m not really sure if it is possible to bring something like this from outside. Can outsiders increase the willingness to be active or should it be something that comes from inside the community? Should it be inhabitants themselves who bring these ideas and activate themselves so that there would be something lasting?
Anyway, the workshop was good and inspiring, I got a lot to think about. I really hope that I manage to be involved also later in the spring. This kind of things bring good mood, hopefully not only for the organizers but also to those participating.
Terhi Vilkman, coordinator of the CADDIES project suggested that we could contact Anneli Turtiainen, since she had been quite actively involved within the community development project and also otherwise seems interested of the things that are happening in the area.
An advertisement in one of the local shops about the one of CADDIES workshops, attracted Anneli’s attention and she decided to participate. Anneli has been involved in the development of the webpages of Kannelmäki, she had already earlier been thinking that it would be good if Kannelmäki would have a site where to post information about what happens in the area.
Anneli has lived in Kannelmäki over 30 years and she likes living there because it is close to nature and it is a calm area. Since some of the residents of Kannelmäki has told us that certain areas are at times restless we asked Anneli if she perceives some parts of the area as restless, but she said the issue of restlessness links more to the reputation of the area. She has very few experiences of encountering threatening or otherwise unpleasant situations.
Some issues she points out about the neighbourhood are the services which have disappeared and are now to be found in Prisma. She also thinks that people should take each other more into consideration in the traffic and that the biking and walking lanes should be more distinguished from each other. Another thing we talked about were benches, recently she had talked to an older woman who had been carrying her shopping bags home, she had said she wished there would be more benches around, where you could sit down and have a break. But then she had mentioned that benches are often occupied by certain kind of people, those who hang out and drink beer. Anneli also mentions that this is often the case around Sitratori where there are some benches.
We talked also about the events and happenings that there has been arranged some in Sitratori, for instance the City Dances where who ever that is interested can learn waltz, tango, jive etc. Last summer there was an event that was connected to The Night of Arts. Everyone was welcomed to combine an animal figure of nine possible – a pike, a wolf, an eagle’s head and so on. According to Anneli, these kind of interesting events colour the life in Sitratori.
Anneli is a frequent visitor of Kanneltalo, especially of the library, but she also takes part in the events of the cultural centre. There was one occasion where the cultural producers were sitting in the lobby and waiting for people to tell their ideas and wishes. There was only one or two that answered to them. One of the ideas Anneli had suggested was that there could be activities where young and old people connect.
Anneli has been involved in many different kind of activities in the area and also in Maunula, earlier she frequently visited the communityhouse, Horisontti in Malminkartano and is involved with the Helka webpages. We asked her what she thinks is the main motivation for remaining active. She said that for her one reason is that she has time, after the meeting she sent us a mail, where she had made an interesting list of reasons for being active.
Anneli’s answer to the question about being active:
Why is a person active? – Why am I active?
I am somehow curious – but not in all ways
I am interested in many things
it is interesting to see things “from inside”
so that is a question of one’s character
I like to do things that are fun
I like to learn new things
I have been following the activity elsewhere = Horisontti, Maunula, and also participated
so I have been wondering, why there couldn’t be some similar activites in our own neighbourhood
Mediapaja in Maunula
there is a space where it is easy to come
the threshold is low – quite literately
whomever is welcomed to come and get acquainted and to participate
(In Maunula I was also in a “team”, where we were pondering the environment issues of Maunula – I just don’t remember what exactly any more)
one thing leads to another
it is possible to use computers in the libraries etc.
it is easy to find knowledge in the internet
it is fluent to send questions, comments etc. by the e-mail
a kind of loose community
a boiling soul defends justice
When talking about activeness Anneli also adds this:
“You don’t need to be active in big ways. It’s enough that you listen to people. Someone may have a small problem and it may happen that you have knowledge that can be of help to that person. This happens to me every now and then. You don’t need to be connected to any group to be active. If you see something fixable you can contact some office or some person and ask them to correct the thing that is not right. Or maybe you get a brilliant idea that you cannot make to come true just by yourself, then try to find the right place to contact.”
On the first of November we met Hanna-Maria Lehtonen, who is Coordinator of Operaatio Pulssi. Pulssi is linked to the “Lähiöprojekti” and is an initiative aiming at activating youth, by letting them be part of suggesting and planning activities.
Hansu told us that it has somewhat been challenging to get youngsters involved, to some point they might not be used to someone asking them what they would like to do, or to the fact that activities would be organized in their living area. They have now established a quite well functioning ground for the project, they visit schools to get visibility and to ask teen-agers what kind of things they would like to do or learn. Sometimes there are youngsters who contact them directly, but mostly the program is based on questionnaires they make in schools. Teens who get more involved in Pulssi are often those who first try something out, and get a good experience, which triggers them to take part in other activities.
When approaching the youth it is important to keep the right kind of profile. The first graphics for the brochures and flyers were maybe a bit too childish, but now the Pulssi-graphics look quite appropriate and seems like they are working well for reaching teenagers. Another aspect is also that of group-pression, it depends a lot of who in a certain group gets involved, whether the project is considered as cool or not.
One successful event was a dance competition organized by a group of teens themselves. They got a sum of money to use, but they were themselves responsible for how to divide the resources and how to organize the event. There was not a massive amount of participants, but the atmosphere was really good and the teenagers had successfully carried through the preparations and the event itself. The future of Pulssi is still a bit unclear, but there is a new “Lasu” (well-being plan for youth) coming from the start of 2012, maybe that will emphasize activities among youth?
We also talked a bit about the community-house plans that had been regarding the empty space in the old Kela house next to the railway station. There had not been a big enough instance involved that could have ensured the rent paying for the space, even though there certainly would be enough interested persons and associations to take part in using and organizing activities in the community house. Hansu also mentioned Horisontti in Malminkartano, that the women from Perspektiivi ry had told us about. Another community house is Mellari in Mellunmäki.