‘De Voorkamer’ (‘The living room’) is a social design method for integration which combats the loss of identity often experienced by residents of refugee centres. Using participants’ specific skills, Pim van der Mijl’s team creates a meeting space in the middle of a Dutch town, outside the refugee centre. Skills may be technical, to build furniture or fittings, but also more intellectual; in the pilot, a refugee with a degree in English created a magazine. Then the team cooks with the local residents and everyone shares a meal. Encounters based on equality that bring a sense of involvement, confidence, pride, and laughter for both the hosts and their guests.
Pim van der Mijl