Public Interventions

Migrating Provebs

Participatory Action Research
Ankara, Turkey


Catalina Pollak Williamson, Reem Charif (UEL/Febrik), Ela Aral (METU), Deniz Altay

Migrating Proverbs is an participatory action research project that explores interdisciplinary tactics for the production of new forms of community engagement and social integration processes between Syrian refugees and local Turkish population living in the highly contested area of Altindag in Ankara, Turkey.




The research uses social and cultural practices as elements of exchange and transaction to share and bridge particular cultural identities. Specifically, it makes use of language (particularly, the common use of proverbs), as a cultural artefact that can be exchanged, translated, transcribed and put into circulation to bring visibility to the particular cultural identities of the different communities in the public realm.


Through the use of proverbs, both in spoken and written form, the research brings forward methodologies of play to unlock new forms of participatory strategies of engagement for:

a) understanding the context in relation to ideas of identity, locality and place;

b) exploring the development of capabilities and identity politics through different forms of representation in public space, and;

c) enabling spaces of empathy by building 'common ground' interaction between local and refugee communities.