November 28, 2018

"Ali told me that he wants to do his own cultural project at some point. He would like people to see him as a photographer and a creative person, and not as a newcomer. We also had Vasso who was pregnant when the project started.  At the beginning, she sent me an email and then she found me on Facebook and she said please let me know if I can participate – she really wanted to find a creative activity to do during her pregnancy. And at the very end of the project she came with the baby!"

September 14, 2018

In our latest artist interview, we speak with Beatrice Schachenmayr, photographer and founder of photography initiative, Frame Your Story,

We were introduced to Beatrice Schachenmayr a few months ago when she came to one of our Pass the Crayon meetups, and expressed her interest in helping us with some workshops. We got talking with her about her photography work, and it turns out we have a lot in common!

Beatrice had just finished a six month project at the Spandau refugee shelter, a project which saw her meet up with a group of young people every week and go out on excursions around Berlin, photographing their surroundings. Their work was being displayed in an exhibition at Café Refugio, so I went along to take a look. The photos captured Berlin from a multitude of angles, focusing on a diverse range of subject matter. I became interested in the young photographers who took these pictures, and I wanted to find out more from Beatrice about her experience in single-handedly cre...

September 10, 2018

A few weeks ago, we welcomed the film editor and producer, Kate O. Wagner, for a special film-making workshop series at the Weißensee shelter. 

In August, Pass the Crayon and the children living in the Weißensee shelter enjoyed a week-long film workshop series, led by movie-maker Kate Wagner. Kate had flown all the way from Washington DC to lead a pre-production workshop series for us. From character design, to script writing, to story boarding, around ten kids from eight to ten years had the opportunity to delve into their imagination and write some incredible stories. The children relished the opportunity to get behind the camera, and under Kate's guidance produced some wonderful videos.

For the Pass the Crayon team, it was such a delight to see how involved the youth became with the project. We were particularly pleased that some of the older ones - Saad, Zeed and Barham - preferred to spend five whole afternoons working on their story-line rather than p...

August 7, 2018

When student, Katrina Cassel, flew ✈️all the way from America 🍔 to intern with Pass the Crayon 🖍️, we were amazed not just by the fact that a 17-year-old had the passion to spend their whole summer holiday volunteering halfway across the world 🤯, but by how much she contributed during her stay.

Katrina became heavily involved in organizing and delivering our weekly art workshops at the Weissensee and Pankow shelters. She also helped out at numerous other events, including the recent Weissensee Sommerfest and WelcomeCamp 2018. Katrina's positive energy, poise and maturity made her a hit with the PTC team, and most importantly, with the children at the shelters. Her fluency in German really came in handy when communicating with the kids, enabling her to forge close relationships in a short space of time. This aspect of volunteering was what Katrina valued the most - the chance to meet, to understand and build connections with these children.

With her impressive polit...

May 6, 2018

'You, Me, and The Distance Between Us', by Ellen Murial, portrays the reality of migrant camp life in all of its dirt, distress, boredom and banality. It also dissects the life of its volunteers, who very rarely get considered as more than a bunch of earnest drones searching for a cause. 

I went to watch 'You, Me and The Distance Between Us' a few weeks ago. The performance took place at M29 Theatre, a community housing project located near Gesundbrunnen. Pillows were strewn across the floor, the ambiance mellow, the room packed with people. The lights suddenly go down, the room goes quiet, and a lone figure stands on stage.

(image via Hamilton House)

Ellen Muriel introduces herself, providing us with a brief bio of her volunteering experience. Almost imperceptibly, her cadence shifts from normal dialogue to spoken word, possibly as a way of juxtaposing 'volunteer' Ellen, with 'performer' Ellen. I wondered, how will Ellen successfully manage to emb...

March 23, 2018

Our 'Artist of the Week' post for this week is dedicated to the wild and wonderful Flying Seagulls Project- the travelling circus collective bringing smiles and laughter to thousands of kids living in some of the most precarious and deprived places in the world. I speak with some of the Flying Seagulls' European Team, and ask them about their work...

With over 65 million refugees worldwide and an average protracted displacement period now estimated at 26 years, entire generations of migrant children are growing up in host countries- very often, in the confines of migrant camps. 

With insufficient funding and lack of infrastructure, camp life is hard. Every day, families struggle to find enough food and clean water to sustain themselves. With all the immediate concerns of survival, and a huge psychological burden of uncertainty, parents are often too preoccupied, and downright exhausted, to play with their children.

Tragically, only 50% of...

February 24, 2018

Maëlle Foix, our friend and long-term artistic partner, is this weeks Artist of the Week! She speaks with Manon Jourdan about her work, past and present, and her exciting future plans. We also speak about the power of creation, dreams and metaphor as a tool to help young people communicate and connect with other people- and themselves.

Maëlle is an inspiring graphic designer and talented illustrator from the ''School of Art and Design'' (Ensaama) of Paris. Looking through her various illustrations is like entering a bath of color - Maille creates a childlike, joyful and twisted universe of cheerful characters and stunning colors.

In June 2017 we were lucky to have her as an intern for one month, and in that time, we formed a very special bond and considerably benefited from her creative spirit. Not only did Maelle co-ordinate artistic workshops, but she also helped to build our PTC brand by designing all of our amazing bespoke logos and infographics (see right). Maël...

January 29, 2018

“The cherries, for me, are a memory about Iran. The last cherry I eat. It’s a good memory for me. I can’t forget.”

Nages, an art student originally from Iran, is showing me her contribution to the Migration Mural project: a basket of bright red cherries. Nages left Iran and came to Berlin 15 years ago, and explains to me that these cherries represent one of the only memories she has of her old home.

Nages is one of sixteen art students involved in the Migration Mural Project at Migration Hub. As well as her cherry picture, Nages also came up with the layout and design for the main mural. The Migration Mural Project is a collaborative art project, led by Jie-Liang Lin and her art students from the tenth and eleventh grades of the Privates Europa Gymnasium. As the name suggests, the Migration Mural Project offers the chance for students to share their personal experiences of migration, placed within the context of a collaborative mural; in this way, the migration mural emerges as a collec...

October 17, 2017

When considering the socially unifying and emotionally catharticimpact Art can have, there a few examples that validate this perception more than the work of Joel Bergner (AKA Joel Artista). Joel is a pioneer of 'community-based public art', and has facilitated hundreds of community murals in some of the most deprived areas of the world.

These beautiful murals, hand-painted by the whole community, tell the story of a collective group of people- their voices amplified through colour, shape and image. In this way, the public mural becomes more than just an inanimate piece of art: it becomes a reflection of the spirit of an entire community.

The profound imagery captured in mural artwork is often the most direct and powerful form of expression these groups have at their disposal. This has particular importance within camp communities where opportunity for creativity and emotional expression is very limited.

Importantly, t...

August 24, 2017

"In the beginning we collected money, clothes and other donations to help with refugee accommodation, but it did not seem to be enough..."

This is the the story of a group of friends living in Germany, who were inspired to start their own initiative through witnessing the struggles of the refugee community; not just to find food and shelter, but the more complex struggle... for acceptance.

Saddened by the fear and mistrust directed at the migrant community, but confident in the essential goodness and humanity within their fellow citizens, they vowed to help change attitudes and nurture the integration process by providing a platform for discussion and innovation. Thus, WelcomeCamp was born.

On 15th July 2017, Pass the Crayon, attended the second annual WelcomeCamp, a barcamp which saw over 150 people and 26 different projects including UNICEF, and and the UNO come together to exchange information and ideas, make connections, and ultimate...

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