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For 'InFlight' I devised, originated and delivered a series of on-line textile-focused workshops to two groups of female asylum seekers & refugees. Online workshop took place weekly between 8 March - 8 June 2021. Instead of one as planned, I worked with two groups of women for 8 weeks; women from the Parents Group from Together With Migrant Children charity (11 participants), one mentee & one facilitator & women from the Cotton Tree Trust (7 participants), including 2 facilitators. Neither group have been previously involved or had experience in creative workshops that focused on textiles and thread-based activities, so the workshops reached entirely new audience, as intended. The same applies to my mentee and my 3 project facilitators, none of whom have ever been involved in creative practice. Average attendance was 95 percent. If they missed a session they were given zoom recordings of missed sessions, and/or instructions & links to teaching material. Workshops progressed from initial Artist’s presentation, discussion of ideas & exchange of stories, to drawing individual designs to be embroidered, followed by women receiving the sewing kits, the fabrics & dresses to decorate through the post. The women learnt new sewing & embroidery techniques & developed ideas for designs. Themes of journeying to safety, to safe new homes, to peace, happiness and new life were all developed as part of the workshops’ narratives. Designs were embroidered beautifully by participating woman. At the end women met with the project facilitators & mentees exchanging experiences of the workshops whilst wearing their creations during social events organised by their respective charities over the summer. We all met in a London park for a potluck picnic, where women wore their beautiful dresses, shared their stories & the delicious dishes they prepared. On 3/11/2021 at a public webinar event, women & their charities gave short presentations about themselves & their experiences during the InFlight workshops. Women exchanged stories about their journeys & shared their experiences of the textile workshops, discussing the skills they learnt, emphasising the importance of having a weekly opportunity to meet & engage in creative activities during challenging periods of their lives (most women are single mothers seeking asylum in the UK, and some were homeless during the workshop period). The women were extremely happy with the workshops’ outcomes and were proud to show off their creations online. I conducted 8 Mentoring sessions with my mentee Sarah Firth. I advised her on communicating with participants, collecting & selecting images of works in progress, sending weekly reminders on the forthcoming workshops & collecting women’s home assignments when was necessary. She also organised the in-person first meeting for women in the workshops in Summer 2021, & in October she worked on organising facilitating the public facing event, the November 3/11/2021 Webinar. This event was organised & delivered on-line together partners, Counterpoint Arts, led by Tom Green. The Webinar was advertised via the Cotton Tree Trust’s & Together with Migrant Children’s public facing and social media channels, as well as via my own mailing list & social media. The Webinar was led by Sarah Firth, project partner Tom Green & myself. 6 of women who participated in the online InFlight workshops presented their art works online & demonstrated their artworks. Some women chose to wear their artworks/dresses on camera. The womens’ Webinar presentations were recorded, edited & are available via social media channels of the project participants and partners. This project was supported by National Lottery through Arts Council England and by Counterpoint Arts.

Artworks & Documentation

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