tiistai 2. kesäkuuta 2015

Speak your mind!

I remember the day when we had our first meeting in winter with Cristina, Gabi and Mari at Café Mascot. It was cold and it was a Sunday afternoon. Everyone was a bit sleepy and we had to tank coffee to wake up a bit. It was Gabi who told us about the possibility of organizing an art project for the Mental Health Art Week through Yeesi and since I think I and my team mates are all people who like to try new things we started to brainstorm in the name of “why not”.

Our main idea came actually really fast. As we were talking about mental health I asked my team mates what they would think about connecting the role of communication with mental health. We could ask a graffiti artist to make boards with different words on it and people could write on the boards what comes to their mind seeing those words. Then Cristina had the idea that we could distribute candies with positive messages on it during the event and the framework for the project was born.

Several meetings followed, we made a project plan and applied for funding, met Kirsi who was the coordinator of the MHAW. There were times when we were more positive and times when nothing seemed to get together. Another big turning point was the second meeting with Kirsi. We started to talk about location and practical details of the event and I remember that this was the first time after long time that I felt that there can be something real from this project.
Then Annukka joined Yeesi and our team in the project at the same time and everything started to speed up. We had lollipop-workshops and prepared the positive candies which looked like this in their finished forms:

Fanni who is also a volunteer at Yeesi made the boards for us. Kirsi helped us to reserve a spot at Kansalaistori for the event and we got permission from Library 10 in Postitalo to exhibit the ready boards until the end of May.
The day came and we were all excited and a bit worried: what if people do not think that it is that great idea as we think? Do we have to carry empty boards to Library 10 at the end? Luckily this was not the case at all. We set up our spot in front of Musiikkitalo. It was a great spot with many colorful beanbags, chairs and tables borrowed from Yeesi. Some of us had to work so we could join only in the afternoon but Gabi, Mari, Annukka and Kirsi were there already from the start.
The official start was at 1 pm and I was really happy to see through Facebook that the first entries had been done on the boards. I could see also that there were people participating which made me really happy. I saw how our idea was looking in reality and it felt really great.

 I arrived a bit after 4 pm and it was so cool to see that our stand was full of people. Our team members were there, and also Jannika, Ioanna and Saranda joined our team who participated in the event and helped us out. During the event we distributed 500 lollipops with positive messages on them and a random incident helped us to expose the boards even more. We planned to have a tent at first but since the wind was so strong we could not set it up so the boards had to be put on the stairs in front of Muissikkitalo. This way they were actually much more visible and the tent did not separate us from people.

Although we believed in our message we were very surprised at the level of success of our event. It was really nice to see that people want to talk and they want to express their opinion. That they are actually much more open-minded as we are made to think and that it is so easy to connect with others. People liked the idea of the lollipops, came to write on the boards, had a chat with us, gathered at the MHAW-Yeesi Speak your mind-spot and there was a great atmosphere. There were kids, families, teenagers, students, adults and middle aged people. Rockers, skaters, office workers.. really all sort of people.

They came and told us what their thoughts were on love, balance, motivation, strength and family. And they told us much more as well. They showed that people appreciate if they have a chance to speak their minds and there is a need for public events because people feel good if they can gather and meet others. It makes them feel good if they feel that it is important what they think and someone is listening. This message was exactly what we wanted to transmit with this project: that it is important to be able to articulate what we think and find platforms where we can do so.

Big thanks to Kirsi-Marja Moberg and MHAW for choosing our project and funding us, and to Yeesi for giving the organizational support. Thanks to all my team mates and the people who joined us on the road for doing this great project together. It was a great experience and therefore I can only encourage others to do their own project and participate next year at MHAW 2016!

A list of our team members and the people who helped us:

Annukka Kokki
Cristina Domenech Garcia
Gabriella Óturai
Ioanna Frangou
Jannika Vuori
Kirsi-Marja Moberg
Mari Kukkonen
Monika Csapo
Saranda Dedolli 
Fanni-Laura Patanen

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