Feedback from Collaborators


I loved to be with this group for many reasons:
First: because I will got to know new people in my life , also American people to improve my English language with them.
Second: I discovered through the project that I have so many skills I don’t know them before and when I mingled with the other team and the group I do discover them.
I am so happy with them, they are like my family.

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Ali Salman:

  1. Such am amazing and excellent project.
    2. I got to know so many new ideas and information.
    3. I got to know great instructors throughout the project.
    4. Expanded the ideas and perspectives about art and technologies.
    5. The project helped increase my creativity and make new artworks.

Area for improvement:
1. There is no perfect project in any place around the world.
2. The process of combine the skills cause uncertainty for some collaborators.
3. Should divide group based on the art skills separately.
4. It did not promote the people with good skills to other institutions.

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It gave me new information, but I thought it would be more ambitious. I thought I would develop more talents and arts skills. I learned new things, but didn’t develop. I saw new things on the project. THe making of books the American way. This type of art I didn’t learn in the Arab world. I made lots of beautiful things with this idea. WIth wood. With ceramic. With glass. With leather. Everyone gave me many ideas. Everyone taught us their own way of doing their work. Would have liked more theory and practice in arts.

This project was about getting to know each other. Even if it was a little. I met new people. I learned new things. Swarthmore College gave me many ideas. The workshops with Maryan and other activities was really nice. Learned so many things from different people. The most important thing - we learned about a type of art that is done in America that is different here - making the books and cutting the paper. The work that Erik does is totally different than in the Arab world, especially the open accordion books. I really liked the accordion books. I want to do an Arabic accordion book on Arab poets.


  1. The project means cooperation.
    2. Means to exchange the ideas and perspectives.
    3. Means to uncover and improve the skills.
    4. For me,the project represents the real opportunity to learn and to be creative.


We got a lot of benefits from how to make work that reflect friends, peace, and sanctuary. Putting together all different kinds of arts in a way never thought of. I will never forget the music of erik - the idea of the stories of migrations and all the reasons that people came here. 70-80% of us came with the same stories. It will never be forgotten. Really liked the work of artists I never saw this kind of work before like erik and islam - never saw it in my country. It brings out new things.


  1. I liked the idea to mingle with the other people.
    2. Improved my ideas and delivered some direct points about how to live here.
    3. Delivered the ideas about the refugees and how they admitted to USA, my collaboration with this project to connect ideas, thoughts and religion between the different languages, cultures and religions here.



Abdul Karim Awad:

The project generally developed the ideas of the refugees from their skills to their viewpoints to get to know other nationalities in this huge country an also to introduce our home countries - from the perspective of religion, history, and society. It is a candle to give light in any corner you are.


I want the most amount of Americans to see the arab and muslim culture from the work that i made. I made these things not to make money but to help others see who we are and what we are. This was the most important experience for me to both show my work and - biggest opportunity to make work and grow.
I learned so much in the workshops and also made so many new friends.I benefited from seeing and working with everyone and their talents and skills. Erik really influenced me - he really showed how to tell a story - his work was very influential. When he spoke about me and included me in the - he really got it right. It was hard memories for me, but i was very proud to see that. Each artists taught something particular. All of the statues - first time for me to ever try something like that. The project encouraged me to try new things and do new things. I wanted people to see the real thing as much as possible because its more impactful than just a picture. First time for me to do that. My skills and talents grew in this project and encouraged me to keep doing more and more work together better.



I really liked my experience. I knew I had art inside of me but it brought me out. It encouraged me to make other kinds of works like the statues and I started to feel like I could do something. My husband asks me - where have you kept this art hidden? Seeing the exhibitions really made me proud. To see how it all wrapped up - to see all people talking about.

Asmaa Diab:

  1. I loved to participate in this project in order to gain more skills because I love anything related to art. Because of this, I got to do art my way and learned how to do other art practices different than mine.
    2. As I saw this project gave us the hope and gave us the power that we can do something.


I did so many things. I thought we would do small things. The support and encouragement pushed me to do more and learn more. This is a project that helped bring understanding between American and Arab culture. We got to show our own talents and artists shared theirs. When we put together our talents we can make our message more clear.

Osama Herkel:

  1. In this project I gained new information about cultures. The reason for my participation about to know many kinds of art.
    2. During the project there was a chance for great conversations that gave us new information and knowledge.
    3. When I came to the (Swarthmore College) library I got to know the library system, archives, and I discovered many valuable old books.


I benefited a lot. I learned how to print and make paper with Mark and Courtney. I learned a lot of new things. The poetry workshop with Maryan making poetry was great. Everything was different for me - it was different and beautiful. With Erik - I never saw art like this. Something different and strange and very difficult.


  1. I liked the gathering and weekly meetings, exchange of ideas and perspectives.
    2. I got to know the stories about refugees and how they reached USA.
    3. The artists workshops was so enjoyable and we spent so nice time with them.


I didn’t realize it was going to be this big. I thought we would just help the artists
When you told us about the artists workshops. I thought we would learn from them and their thinking and their art. I didn’t realize they would take our stories and incorporate it into their work. That mix was really good. I think this is a good way to tell people’s stories, because sometimes its hard for us to continue to tell our stories. Like Layla she will start talking and start crying. They can use their artistic talents to tell the stories. When they use the different artistic methods to express our stories it gets to people differently. I feel like I shared in the way that I wanted to. It was really nice to see what the artists made.


This project took us from the light to the dark - found things inside that i didn’t know. We feel like we are started from the beginning. I didn’t know fadaa before and we are friends now. She came to visit me Friends are only 2-3 – where you both feel each other. You feel safe with them. They are an extension of them. I am very close to fadaa like this - we are close like that. She is a real friend. Not from working on the project together, just The heart feels it, not the has nothing to do with nationality, it hs to do with who you feel most comfortable with.

What do you hope people will learn and understand from seeing the artwork that came out of this project?

ماذا تتمنى أن يتعلم الناس او يفهموا من خلال رؤية الأعمال الفنية التي نتجت من المشروع؟

  • Will know about the real society of who has come here. Too many people do not know anything about our community, society, our consciousness, our talents, etc… they can begin to understand who we are to accept us as part of their society and community. Will know more about us when it goes to different places

  • I want them to know how we got here and what has happened to us. That we have talents and skills and have a lot to give. If we didn’t have a war we could do more than this.

  • That people know and understand where i come from who aren’t from there. That we have similar and different ideas but we can learn and hear from each other.

  • I want them to understand why this art was made. I want to show something about my home and my country. I saw that not all people have information about the Arab World. The people that are coming from the Arab World are not just an empty mind and they can do things that are good and we can show that. We have culture, civilization. People think that people who come from the Arab World are not cultured, like woman who wears hijab is stupid. We are not terrorists. I want to show the beautiful things from our country and our beautiful history and civilization and we are diverse like everywhere else.

  • I want them to know that even arabs have art. That we are able to do stuff if we have the right resources. We are not like what is said in the media.

  • From most of our work about what happened in Syria and Iraq. People just see the news. They don’t know what is really happening. It is so different than what they see. For us, we felt so much fear and felt unsafe. People think we are terrorists. Most people dont know that its the president and their people who are killing people, not just terrorists.

  • We are not refugees, we are a part of society and have a lot to offer. We know how to take care of ourselves and can work. We can do, even if our country is gone, we did learn stuff and we have skills and things. We are not here taking away from society, we can contribute to society and we are contributing to society.

  • That we can express ourselves. The pictures show what is in inside of us - what we like, what we don’t like, what is going on at home, what we are dealing with here, what life is like living here without English.

  • The diversity we have in our countries and culture. And that we were really living together before the war. Like people don’t know that we were 18 different sects but we were getting along and respected each other.

  • To learn to love. Love makes everything else easier. Love of mother, wife, kids, country - it is love that bring us together. Without love we do not have life. We became one family. When I speak to the people on the project - I feel they are my family, they are part of me, like I live with them. And it doesn’t matter what religion, color, center - the simplest I will meet them where they are. We are all human beings.

  • I want them to know that art in the world is a language to bring people together. It doesn’t have borders or types of communities. It is something that all people can do. I hope that people have the ideas that there are feelings and cultures around the world that are equal to here and that are good and are very similar to here. Middle East is the center of culture and civilization and I hope people realize that when they walk away.

  • That we have arts, we are cultured, and we have ideas and that we want to cooperate and work together. Show the two cultures together. We are ot that different. To know more about who we are.

  • I want people to understand how difficult our lives are when we arrive. Yes lots of organizations help us and there are different opportunities, but when you get kicked out of your country and come here EVERYTHING IS DIFFERENT - language, system, etc.. its soo difficult and so different. I want them to feel that it is hard for us and nothing is easy. I want them to see us successful, we can work, we go to school, we can travel, we can connect with this country. I want people to understand we work very hard and we try to show our best side of ourselves.