We are proud to report that CS Design Candidate, Natalia Villaman was selected to represent Finland in this year’s Nordic Match initiative working with the theme of migration.
A few years ago, Natalia embarked on a journey to link design with topics relevant to her such as human rights and sustainable development. Since then, she has been working on tackling these issues from within, by working alongside organizations and other professionals in the field but also through activism. In addition to her current MA studies in Creative Sustainability, she is trained in Cultural and Intercultural Mediation. Read about Natalia’s experience of Nordic Match below:
“Nordic Match is an initiative by the Nordic Culture Point and the creative agency Måndag. It was created with the intention of acting as a platform for collaboration among the Nordic countries. Taking the form of a think-tank, every year it brings together five professionals who work together for a week to tackle a pressing issue, collaborating with local partners and other creatives. By considering anyone with an address in a Nordic country is a Nordic citizen, one of the core objectives was to bring together people with diverse professional but also cultural backgrounds.
I had the chance to be involved in this year’s Nordic Match as the representative from Finland, and together with the other participants from Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Iceland we concentrated on the theme of migration. For a week, we worked alongside the Empathy Movement from the Finnish Refugee Council (Suomen Pakolaisapu) to come up with solutions that could be not only implemented during the Habitare Fair taking place this September, but also to find ways to combine design, communication, migration, the public sector and empathy.
Currently, the situation in Finland regarding migration is quite delicate, with a strong reluctance in accepting diversity and with the strengthening of right wing led politics that aim to harshen immigration policies. During our week together, we analyzed the present scenario in Finland, and we took steps back to understand how to put empathy and acceptance at the core of our behaviour. We focused on prompting collaboration, active listening and communication among people.
Personally, I can say that this experience was very fruitful for me, both on a professional level but also on a more personal level. Having a background as a designer, but having focused my work on topics such as human rights, refugee crises, sustainable development and linking activism to design, it was yet another opportunity to challenge myself. As professionals in the creative field, we are communicators by default. Reducing the gap between design and social issues is key to promoting empathy, raising awareness and to mediate between groups of people who wouldn’t normally communicate to each other. Personally, I would recommend immersing ourselves more in these types of activities where we can exercise our roles as mediators between the public sector and the community.”