Post production of the book “What is Nation?”
Children's contributions from the workshops of "What is Nation" were amazing! We are starting to work on the postproduction of the book.
I would like to describe how the idea of making a book about a nation was born and how children participated in the implementation of this project.
I was born in the USSR, a country that no longer exists – today it is Russia, in the city of Leningrad, which is also was renamed – now it is called St. Petersburg. In my apartment building where I lived with my parents, there were a thousand apartments. In each of them was living about three or even five people.
Several thousand inhabitants in the same building!
Our courtyard, that was more like a square, two kindergartens were built. We all went to the school assigned to our house. We knew each other from childhood: we met in the library on the first floor of our building, played on the same playground and went to the same ice cream cafe. Our apartment building was a city in the city.
Could it be a nation-state?
Almost all the children sought to leave this “city in the city”. For the weekend we tried to go to the center in which where were beautiful houses, museums, large shops. On vacation, we went out to the river, to the field, to the forest or to the sea. We did not have any in our “”sleeping district” with hundreds of thousands of inhabitants. Adults worked far from home and, spending two hours going from and to work, returned home very tired. We dreamed of growth and entered the university, we wanted to see the “real world”.
I realized, that if a dozen apartment building of the sleeping district of Leningrad – my childhood city had been united in one country, by size, it would be comparable with Iceland. We would have invented our language, flag, history, we may elect a parliament, written books, founded our own universities, museums, and opened embassies in different countries. Friends from my childhood would become diplomats, deputies, and members of the government, translators or athletes from the Olympic team of our district (nation-state). Probably, we would have to create our own army and police.
What is making people feel as a nation? Common memories, common heroes? Being related by blood?
These are questions that usually answered by adults, but we decided to ask children what do they think about it.
The answers were not only amazingly smart but also very beautifully expressed.
Next year I will be working on post-production and hope to release the book with children’s contributions as well as the text by academics and contemporary artists.
A4kids “What is Nation” in Reykjavík’s central library
Come check out the exhibition that showcases the results of a workshop for kids 9-12 years old held earlier this summer. The kids looked at the term nation and used their own imagination and critical thinking to express their thoughts and create their own utopian society.
A workshop and conversation based on the book What is the City from the A4 teens series.
These sessions are a game and an experiment.
Participants in the workshop, based on the book "The City of the Future," will be divided into two groups. Each group will receive a large piece of paper, a giant tablecloth.
How I integrated the kids’ input
At the beginning of work on the A4kid book, we organise workshops for kids, in which they draw, comment and make notes in a first version of the book. An essential part of the A4Kids project is kid's works, that will became part of the next version of the book for future readers'
Anastasia Khoroshilova as part of the project “Anthropology for All” and the exhibition “Where the Motherland begins?”
Portraits of members of the community of Russian Germans resettled by photographer Anastasia Khoroshilova as part of the project "Anthropology for All" and the exhibition "Where the Motherland begins?"