In Between

In Between is a personal publication about home, belonging and identity from cross-cultural perspectives. A cross-cultural person has lived in — or and meaningfully interacted with two or more cultural environments for a significant period of time during their developmental  years. The concept "cross-cultural" is an umbrella term for biracial, bicultural and multicultural children, but also  for children of expats, refugees, migrants and international adoptees (the term applies both to children who are now adults).

When you are familiar with interacting with all kinds of worlds, a simple question like "where are you from?" can be truly dreadful at times. Is the question purely based on appearance, accents? It can make one feel out of place, as it insinuates a sense of 'otherness'. One might look different from the outside, but feel the same as their surroundings. One might also look the same as everyone else, but feel different on the inside. By asking this question (how well intended it might be) reinforces this feeling of otherness. Is the validity of nationality solely based on appearance? How does one navigate this in-between space between a multitude of worlds where it feels like you don't ever fully belong? 

Feelings of rootlessness or even alienated from your parents' culture are in fact the by-products of a unique and powerful transnational and transcultural lifestyle, which is also full of benefits. Rather than being culturally unrooted, we are culturally unlimited. An understanding of this in-betweenness is so important, as we are transitioning into a society where growing up among cultural differences is becoming the rule, rather than the exception — even for those who do not physically leave their home country. Contrary to popular belief, it is possible to be a globalist and have national pride. This does not equal betraying your country, as many politicians state. It simply means you have enough social empathy, and you project some of it outside your national borders.

Even though we are all culturally different in many ways, part of the human experience is to want to belong somewhere. We all find meaning in a fundamental sameness which creates a space to understand one another, even if we are not rooted in one geographical place or ethnicity. Identities can be ambiguous and multilateral. Thus, exactly this dynamic essence of a modern identity is highlighted through the portraits of six different cross-cultural people, through personal objects that represent "home" for them, accompanied by conversational interviews. Being cross-cultural offers a possibility to rethink and reshape restrictive and divisive notions of where we belong to, and shows that there is also a valid place of belonging in not belonging, or rather the beauty of belonging everywhere and nowhere.

The classic plastic chair in the photographs is used as a lingua franca, as it is familiar to almost anybody. Its power is that it can be placed anywhere in the world whilst remaining context free, transcending cultures and adapting to its environment wherever it is placed, just like the cross-cultural community.