My passion and interests lie in community arts, education and activism. It is my view that (urgently needed) social transformation can and must be achieved through (amongst other things) critical pedagogy, creative activity and collaboration.
I have therefore given my energy in recent years to the following projects:
World Spirit Forum Theatre Group produces community theatre which explores integration and the asylum process from the perspective of those experiencing it directly: we aim to challenge institutional and street level prejudice, and celebrate diversity. Many of the group’s members have come to Scotland from a diversity of communities and cultures globally, and have direct experience of claiming asylum and ‘integrating’ (with all that this implies) in the UK.
Check out World Spirit @ http://www.dialogue4destitution.wordpress
The Unfinished Picture Project
A network of art, media, and education practitioners and activists dedicated to the promotion of community art, popular education and cross-cultural dialogue.
UPP aimed to achieve its mission through a combination of tools, including creative workshops, community engagement, social media and the creation/performance of public arts and interventions in the community.
During my time with UPP we delivered and collaborated on projects around the world working with numerous community groups in a multitude of mediums – from mural to film. The experience taught me a lot about the importance of art and the challenges of cross-cultural dialogue (especially the challenges differing access to technologies present!).
Though no longer ‘in-action’ you can check UPP out directly, @ http://www.unfinishedpictureproject.org
Las Manos works in a rural village in Guatemala to deliver quality English and Arts education within and alongside the existing public school system. During my time working in El Hato I worked on various arts projects with all ages from the pre-school to the young adults taking Saturday classes.
The experience allowed me to develop my capabilities in facilitation and explore many different methods. My favourite projects with Las Manos were the community mural, the Public Space Project (carried out in collaboration with Oxford Montesorri School in Antigua) and the Puppet Show. You see some of my projects in El Hato here. You can read more about Las Manos here.
Ahmed Must Stay Campaign
The Ahmed Must Stay campaign was a campaign to keep our friend and valued member of the community here in Scotland with his family. The campaign involved public, legal and direct action against the UKBA’s efforts to forcibly deport Ahmed to Tanzania – a country he had never lived in. With a host of organisations, including NCADC, UNITY, GCIN and The Portal, as well as a huge number of individuals supporting Ahmed’s campaign to stay, we were eventually successful and Ahmed has recently received his leave to remain in the UK with his family.
Dialogue 4 Destitution was an event held in Glasgow in October 2011 to bring together refugees, asylum seekers, activists, practitioners and the general public on the issue of destitution. Working with GCIN, the Refugee Council and City of Sanctuary Scotland, the aim of the event was to raise awareness on the issue and to develop action plans in response to this problem. The event included participatory workshops, films screenings, interactive art creation, forum theatre and live music from a wide range of groups. Out of the Dialogue 4 Destitution project, the theatre group World Spirit was born. You can read more about the project here.
During the time I lived and worked in Palestine I worked alongside the Nahr Al Oja Cultural Centre and Project Hope to create a girls football team in Balata Refugee Camp, and eventually put on Nablus’ first ‘Girls Football Tournament.
The project was an incredible experience for me and demonstrated the importance of physical activity and working as a team in increasing young peoples capacity for general well-being and solidarity. You can read more about this project here, here and here.
Before the above projects I was involved with a number of organizations in Scotland, and in other parts of the world, all of which have influenced my work and my views.