Interior designer Natalia Ritari knows that the best solutions against bullying come from children. The Design Kiddie Academy after-school clubs organise sessions entitled #bebold where Ritari works with children to build a safer, fairer school environment. The clothing company Vimma is also involved with the works of art created at these after-school clubs and will be launching a new fabric design based on them at the Helsinki Design Week Children’s weekend.
You have been involved in introducing design thinking at schools. What made the clothing brand Vimma join in with your cooperation with children? Design process gives the children an experience of achievement and success, which is a large factor in the development of positive self-esteem. The results of my #bebold after-school club with the children from the Snellman elementary school inspired me to design fabric patterns that would bring the children’s handiwork and the anti-bullying agenda to a wider audience. I contacted Marjut Rahkola at Vimma about the patterns I designed on the basis of the children’s artwork. She loved the idea of making a fabric from the children’s works.
#Bebold is also a social media campaign. What is it all about? The campaign started as a result of my observation that there is sadly a great deal of bullying online.I encourage people to share their experiences of bullying using the #bebold hashtag and to protest against bullying in the social media. I’m an interior designer: I have designed public spaces, homes, light fittings and fabrics.In all my work, I have always wanted to influence people’s well-being and to stimulate dialogue.Why couldn’t we have a national anti-bullying day, or a #bebold children’s festival?
What does design thinking bring to schools? Design thinking promotes the creation of new kinds of ideas and emphasises the importance of interaction and cooperation; it strengthens your problem-solving skills and capacity for empathy. Design thinking is a necessary part of the modern world, participatory learning and interactive activities. It is important to develop the learning environment and to promote children’s well-being. Schools can apply it to any subject at all. The results of the pilot projects have been very positive and have shown that design thinking promotes learning.
How have your design-oriented after-school clubs been received? I have received a great deal of positive feedback about the after-school clubs from both children and parents. I was particularly happy to hear the feedback from a parent who said the #bebold after-school clubs had positively influenced the decline of discrimination. The effects I saw in the children were a breaking free from external expectations and increased courage in interacting with the rest of the group and me.
What is the Design Kiddie Academy?
The Design Kiddie Academy clubs organised by Ornamo Art and Design Finland and the Design Museum Helsinki have taught children in comprehensive schools in Helsinki about problem solving, empathy and working as a team since 2010. The project, supported by the City of Helsinki Cultural Office, is piloting the use of design methods in teaching and promotes the advance of design education in comprehensive schools. This autumn, designers will provide school teachers with tools to prevent bullying, promote the learning of natural sciences and for 3D modelling and coding.
Kuva: Laura Oja
Bring your child to Natalia Ritari’s workshop!
Are you interested in after-school clubs oriented towards design? Why not bring your child to the Helsinki Design Week Children’s weekend? The #bebold workshops are where bold ideas are created on what a courageous and fair city looks like. During the workshops, children design and implement their own ideas that will help to build a better, fairer world. The workshops are run by interior designer Natalia Ritari and her team.
Helsinki Design Week: Children’s weekend
Kattilahalli, Suvilahti, Helsinki
15–16 September, 10:00–16:00
VIMMA to launch new #bebold fabrics during the Children’s weekend
Vimma is known for its distinctive printed fabrics which have become a social media phenomenon. This charismatic children’s clothing company will launch a new fabric at the Helsinki Design Week Children’s weekend.It has been created by designer Natalia Ritari from the works of art made by the children who participated in her #bebold after-school clubs.The new fabric designs “Bugbears” and “Eye” will be on display and on sale during the Children’s Design Week and at the Helsinki Design Week Children’s weekend event at Kattilahalli in the Suvilahti district of Helsinki from the 15th to the 16th of September 2018.