Project participants share impressions from mediation session

Picture: Ed Petroff

On the 1st of June, project participants from the Finnish team hold a mediation session at Chaika – a meeting place for Russian-speaking people of the “elegant age” in Helsinki. The mediation was built around Kytköksissä/Connected exhibition that deals with the notion of home, identity, and experiences of Russian-speaking people living in Finland.


The mediation session was a great learning opportunity and rewarding experience for Nadezhda Gretskaya, Jana Dubovskaja, and Ed Petroff. Mediators shared their impressions from the session with us.


💬 Jana Dubovskaja: “Mediation for me is communication. Together with the participants, in a cozy atmosphere over a cup of tea, we discussed the online exhibition, listened to many interesting stories, and most importantly, shared our emotions and feelings.”


💬 Nadezhda Gretskaya : “Since art mediation is a fairly new approach to working with audiences, we experienced some excitement during the preparation stage and the event itself. But, thanks to the rich and well-planned educational program of MeM, as well as the incredibly warm and involved audience from Chaika club, I can say with a high degree of certainty that our first art mediation was a success.


During the mediation on the topics of home, belonging, language, and its role in shaping one’s identity, I was struck by the diverse range of emotions the participants had: from genuine tears to joyful revelations. And, even though we were dealing with the feelings of participants very carefully, the topics discussed in the session revealed the common painful experiences of the Russian speakers who moved to Finland at different times.


The most difficult thing for me in terms of the practical arrangements was time management. I tried to follow the timeline, at the same time making sure each participant has an equal opportunity to share and allocating the necessary time for all the stages of art mediation, including the final reflection at the end of the discussion. Also, I realized that I still need to develop my active listening skills, as well as be ready for the emotional outbursts of the participants during the discussion.


Even though it was our first experience of art mediation and we were feeling a bit anxious,  we received positive feedback from the participants. Many of them highlighted the importance and necessity of this particular experience, especially in such a difficult time for everyone.”


💬 Ed Petroff: “This experience left such a strong imprint on me. The audience was incredibly involved and grateful. The emotions that mediation evoked in the participants were worth all the preparations. Tears, laughter – we had it all. This was truly amazing!”