Where Culture Meet. 

Over the past years Shay Raviv has been leading the development of De Voorkamer initiative, together with Pim van der Mijl who currently manages the place with a devoted team. De Voorkamer is an initiative they co-founded after graduating from the Design Academy Eindhoven.

BY & FOR the community

In 2016 De Voorkamer opened its doors in Utrecht, creating a cultural meeting space to promote inclusion and integration by stimulating and facilitating the talents of our diverse community. Since day one, we have striven to ensure the initiative is not only for our community, but created by them.

We do this by working with small groups to establish creative and valuable connections through which to share and exchange inspiration and talents. In collaboration with local professionals, we design meetings and projects that bring our space to life and create events and objects that facilitate our activities. We have realised many projects born from the fascinations and interests of our community, including: our weekly language cafes and game nights, storytelling events, photography and visual art/design projects, music events and many more.

A personal approach to integration based on equality and talents

De Voorkamer is based on equality and individuality. It creates a framework for participants to work on an assignment that fits them, that is meaningful to them, and that stimulates their independence and personal integration.

Our main goal is to create a safe place where people can express their thoughts, feelings and knowledge, whilst exchanging experiences to form connections and a network. We believe integration cannot be achieved solely by making people follow impersonal procedures and regulations; rather it is realised in an individual's sense of belonging.

Design as a medium for creating an inclusive space

At De Voorkamer we use design processes and culture as mediums for creating an inclusive space, with the goal to bridge the gaps between different groups in society. We believe the role of design and culture in the initiative is to encourage and stimulate participation and inclusion: both crucial ingredients for integration and social cohesion. These mediums are our way to connect people, bringing the ‘other’ closer.

De Voorkamer is an initiative developed by social designers and researchers Pim van der Mijl and Shay Raviv and realized by Stichting Collective Nouns.

The initiative is made possible with the ongoing or past support of many partners and funds: the municipality of Utrecht, Stimuleringsfonds, Stichting Doen, VSB fonds, Kansfonds and Oranjefonds.

Visit De Voorkamer site to learn more about the initiative.