The ateliers: expressive laboratory pathways for newly arrived and second generation youth


Let's take the opportunity to look more in depth into some of the psychoanalytical concepts of the epistemological framework of our work within the EXULI project.

In particular, we have discovered how the concept of trauma in itself doesn’t necessarily imply a negative connotation and that, if we were to describe it, we could say how trauma is the encounter of a subject with the Real, something that the subject is unable to name or describe, not only with words but also with symbolic or imaginary resources. Somehow, when this impossibility of processing what one has just experienced takes place, that’s when the trauma settles in.

Here in this module, you will be introduced to the ateliers, a series of expressive laboratory pathways that we implemented with newly arrived and second-generation youth during our local work phase within the EXULI project.

The idea of the “atelier” was born from the wish to offer a context-free of expectations, a space which would favor a  more complex and symbolic approach to expression.

The atelier then is not an environment where people are expected to “perform” or where it is necessary to deliver or produce something, but where the focus is rather on the process. It is based on the assumption that expression can come from anywhere, inside or outside the subject, through experimentation, observation, actions, conscious or unconscious and unconventional ways of interaction with different tools, materials and people.

Especially for newly arrived young migrants who in the hosting country have to deal also with whole new language and cultural systems standing in their way to expression, the atelier can thus become an opportunity to discover and acquire new symbolic and imaginary resources; a first preliminary step on the way to be able to name something that until then was unnameable.