Tuesday, October 20, 2015

the project

Creating a safe open space for creative activity with women asylum seekers

(Information for race and Equality event at Leeds Beckett University 21.10.15)

Mary, Marry, Tabitha, Mavis, Michelle, Diana, Tabitha, Chandrika, Zanab, Samira, Rosemary, Lorraine, Rosemary, Vuyana, Dorothy, Lotte, Elaine, Sophie, Serena, Liz, Laura

We have been talking, making, learning and sharing skills particularly in sewing and dressmaking. Cushions, clothes, paintings, bags, poems, symbol designs and a banner are things made so far.
We talk about how the space offers a distraction from the stressful and precarious nature of their lives, a place where we can share experiences in a smaller group, learn new things, share our skills and ideas and express ourselves creatively. How in making, the distraction is positive whereas forms of therapy offered through counselling can feel more like dwelling on the situation without feeling like anything has changed.
Recently a conversation over food was played on Projectradio , a radio residency at andmodel Gallery in Leeds as part of the events around the British Art Show 8 at Leeds Art Gallery. The lunchtime conversation had been about experiences two women had in Yarls Wood Detention Centre. Their words dispelled many of the mediated reports and perceptions of the centre and the women detained there, revealing the support methods and networks women use to protect themselves and each other inside and afterwards.

The research perspective in this project looks at how participatory creative practices can be equal, active spaces of unique experience that include the everyday routine activities needed for a community to be able to function. From washing up to dressmaking, eating to drawing, this creative process is based on the significance of connecting through making that may not be dependent on verbal language. To feel connected and attached to place through the creative process and to learn together, recognising that everyone has something to contribute.

“A good educational system should have three purposes: I t should provide all who want to learn with access to available resources at any time in their lives; empower all who want to share what they know to find those who want to learn it from them; and finally, furnish all who want to present an issue to the public with the opportunity to make their challenge known.”

Ivan Illich  Deschooling Society 2002

“Tools for Conviviality sets out how society needs tools which encourage individual creativity, enabling people to give shape and character to their own lives….being able to make their mark on the world... “Conviviality represents joyfulness.

From David Gauntlett on Ivan Illich  Making is Connecting  2011

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