As part of Amman Design Week, our Jordanian partner, Department of Architecture at the German Jordanian University organised Design for a Nomadic World exhibition in collaboration with young people from Azraq refugee camp, the Future Heritage Lab - MIT Department of Architecture and CARE Jordan. The exhibition showcases studies of everyday-life problems and inventions of the Azraq refugee camp residents and explores how art, architecture and design can address the emotional, cultural and aesthetic needs of refugees. The exhibition was opened on 8 October by curators Dr Azra Aksamija, Dr Mohammed Yaghan, Zeid Madi and Melina Philippou alongside the group of young refugees who were involved in the project.
The project started informally as the “book of problems” in Azraq camp which enlisted issues encountered by refugees in their daily lives. After two months spent documenting inventions in the camp, the team designed the “book of inventions” created as solutions to those problems, for instance a washing machine built out of two buckets by 14 year old refugee Rawan Hussein. The end product of the exhibition which is still under development, the Lightweaver, is a playful kinetic lighting machine and an educational device developed in collaboration with the artists, calligraphists, engineers and inventors from the Azraq camp.
Drawing on the cultural memory, the exhibition examines the notion of refugee camps as civic spaces where social healing, innovation, creativity and cross-cultural interactions take place. It aims to broaden the dialogue around the role of design in conditions of conflict and crisis within a global perspective.