Seeking New Worlds in the Museum
Their Past Your Future, Phase 2 is a UK-wide educational programme supported by the Big Lottery Fund and delivered by the Museums, Libraries & Archives Council. The project is designed to encourage exploration of the impact and contemporary significance of conflict in creative and innovative ways. Through this project, the Sainsbury Centre has been working with refugees from conflicts in the Congo and Ethiopia, welcomed to Norwich as part of the Home Office Gateways Protection Programme, using the museum and creative project stimulated by it as a starting point to assist families with settling into a new life in Norwich.
Over the past 2 years, the Gateway Protection Programme has welcomed over 140 refugees to Norwich from the conflicts in the Congo and Ethiopia (among other places). Through the programme the refugee families are assisted to become self-sufficient and able to live independently - working, studying and participating in local life. Communication is one aspect that many of the families find difficult, partly because of language, but often because the traumatic experiences they have been through are difficult to talk about.
From August 2008 to April 2009, the Centre worked with artists Dave Lewis and Chinwe Chukwuogo-Roy to deliver creative workshops based around the Sainsbury Centre’s collections. The workshops used objects from the Congo as a starting point to help the refugees to explore positively some of the valuable memories from the cultures they were forced to leave behind. Through drawing and printmaking, photography and film, participants were encouraged to give expression to their memories, their feelings and their ideas about art, as well as their social and cultural development in Norwich. The art work made by the participants was presented in a week long exhibition at the Sainsbury Centre.
The Sainsbury Centre is currently working on a continuation of this project with the support of the Priorities Challenge Fund, aiming to help the families increase their range of skills with which they can explore their changing identities and cultures.
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