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Swarthmore College

Friends, Peace, and Sanctuary


AIGA 50 Books | 50 Covers

UCDA 50th Annual Design Competition

DNA Paris Design Awards 2020

Indigo Awards 2020

Synthesizing years of information into meaningful
(and award-winning) documentation.

FPS book



We want to show this success to the world. Can you help?

Swarthmore College had a project underway — Friends, Peace, and Sanctuary — which brought together book artists and members of Philadelphia’s Iraqi and Syrian refugee communities to create artists’ books that expressed personal narratives of displacement, immigration, and sanctuary. 


Two years into the project, after ongoing community workshops which garnered so much participation, Swarthmore had collected heaps of information, photos and testimonials about what this project was accomplishing. 


They needed documentation that would share the spirit of the events, and the impact they were having — for the community, the artists, the Pew, and prosperity! 




With reactions from participants like, “You’ve made me feel like I exist,” we understood the magnitude of this project and knew that it had to be represented poignantly!

First we read everything (we always do), because we have to know what’s inside the container to create the most fitting container, right? After reading, we began to distill. We created an order and flow, fine-tuning the information — chapter by chapter — making suggestions for the addition of headlines and quotes. 


Then came the construction of the book. With readers from both native languages, it was important that Arabic and English were present throughout. The big idea? Unity. Since English reads left to right, and Arabic reads right to left, we saw an incredible opportunity. Not only to have two languages — but to create a truly equal experience for readers in both languages.



Synthesizing years of information into meaningful (and award-winning) documentation.

Through collaboration, the book we designed has won a number of awards. Most importantly, it thanked the community for participating and furthered the two-year initiative’s intention — for members of the refugee community to be seen, heard, and to have a voice. 


The book structure reflects issues of displacement and immigration by melding two books (stories) into one. The book(s) shares a common cover while housing two book blocks. It reveals itself, page by page, like an exploration. 


Recipients said they’d never seen a book like this, where Arabic and English were not just translated, but treated equally.

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