Crossing borders with visual thinking

Building up a common understanding instead of building up walls: Visual thinking as a philosophy of respect and friendship. 

Franks and Carolas dream to travel the USA has become a great inspiration for the whole bikablo® akademie trainer team. We define ourselves as a community of visual practitioners that work together and share lifetime. Visual practice for us is not only training people how to draw on flip charts. Visual practice is also to make societal issues visible and bringing them to the front.

So we did 2015 and 2016 in our hometown Cologne when Germany was faced with a situation where a lot of migrants, mostly from South-East Europe, Africa, Arabia and the Middle East, came (and still come) to seek shelter from war, suppression and despair.

We did not want to judge their reasons. We had no answers. We wanted to learn and ask questions. So we had conversations with refugees and residents who helped them. And we told their stories visually on big billboards. St. Agnes church in the northern part of the city was our studio and exhibition space – and a room for conversation with the people who visited the exhibition.

The bikablo USA training tour breathes a bit of this spirit as well. Frank and Carola come in order to meet people, be curious about a different lifestyle and find a common ground in visual thinking for fruitful conversations, in times where certain politicians and their supporters claim that hiding behind walls is the answer to a complex world.

Join in, meet Frank and Carola and connect the dots. I wish I could be there as well!

Martin Haussmann, executive director of bikablo® akademie

Learn more about “OurStories”, our refugee visual storytelling project