Community Engagement Programme
For many years Celebrating sanctuary has been developing Community Engagement and Outreach project alongside our World Music Programme.
Our ongoing work with refugee communities and asylum seekers continues to broaden audiences and improve access and participation. We engage communities who do not normally engage with the arts outside of their own communities or participate in events in mainstream arts and cultural venues. We run participatory workshops and projects, offering support with transport costs to those who need it. We know through feedback, that arts engagement can alleviate tension and offer a better quality of life. By encouraging participation in creative arts activities we aim to provide an outlet for expression and the opportunity to meet and mix with different people through enjoyable and rewarding experiences.
Through our activities, we aim to bring people together and offer opportunities to participate in wider society. We also take activities into Initial Accommodation hostels and work with newly arrived asylum seekers who have not yet had the opportunity to experience cultural activities within the UK.
This work addresses ongoing issues of isolation and community cohesion and is funded separately to our main programme. We regularly fundraise to develop and deliver this highly appreciated and rewarding area of work.
Some examples of our community projects and the benefits to those taking part.
Group visits for Restore, Children's Society and Hope Projects:
Groups of refugees and asylum seekers have attended CSB events at Symphony Hall Foyer, MAC, Ikon Gallery and Centrala. We have also taken a group of women from Hope Projects on a boat trip with a live music performance and brought a men's group from Restore over to Ort Cafe in Balsall Heath for a drumming workshop. Over the years of working with Restore and Hope we have always received very positive feedback.
We help an event at Centrala, which was attended by groups from Restore and Children’s Society of around 25 in total. Lots of the women got up to dance and one young man even got up and sang on the mic with the band.
(Restore Volunteer) “On the way back up the hill, the ladies were so full of the brilliant time they have had, how dancing had given them such a boost. A big contrast from the tiredness they talked about on the way there. Very encouraging!”
Group visits for Coventry Refugee and Migrant Centre
We organised visits and supported transport costs for 2 groups of asylum seekers in Coventry to attend events at Symphony Hall Foyer. A Women's group brought children to Musical Picnic and a Men's group attended an event put on by CSB as part of Jazzlines - Rush Hour Blues.
(Staff at Coventry RMC)
“families had a fantastic time and a chance to experience something they would not usually engage with. A great benefit is that it managed to get smiles off some clients who are suffering from severe depression and gave them an opportunity to socialise......”
Events and Workshops at Stone Road Initial Accommodation for Asylum Seekers.
For many years we have been taking artists into Stone Road to deliver performances, often by refugee artists, and workshops in drumming and creative arts. We also organised a collection of Christmas presents for children at the hostel.
(Migrant help at Stone Road)
“These concerts are very important as there is not much to do in the hostel. Many have been through traumatic experiences and this gives them an opportunity to take away the stress and anxiety they are under. Also a good opportunity to mix with each other.........and also enhances mental health & well-being.”
Migration Project - Stone Road - ARTconnects Workshop with Salma Zulfiqar
(Sudanese volunteer at Stone Road)
‘’The workshop gave them a chance to discover some creative abilities in art and I'm sure they will try some of these activities in their own time. It also helped them spend good times together with other refugees and asylum seekers and this will help them reduce the stress they feel during this period."
Jemal Dragoshi, Community Liaison, Migrant Help at Stone Road
‘’The artwork produced by Salma and the Refugee and Asylum Seeker women was beautiful and many people are appreciating the work (installed in the hostel). Thank you for your support for these vulnerable women.’’
Artist Support and Development
We run an ongoing programme of artistic and professional development for refugee artists. This includes facilitating artistic development through outreach programmes and new projects with organisations such as the Ideas of Noise Festival.