Being displaced and unsure about your future is a difficult position to be in. The asylum process in the UK is complicated, and due to a lack of support services available, people seeking asylum can often feel scared and isolated.
Pathway has a history of collaborating with local services to meet with, and support people seeking asylum across the UK.
Rainbow Haven in Gorton is a drop-in centre for people to get advice and support. In 2012, Pathway facilitated a number of workshops in the centre to meet with people seeking asylum and listen to their concerns and experiences.
During this time, we utilised the mediums of embroidery and photography to give displaced people a creative outlet, leaving the theme of the project open so people were able to express a topic or issue of their choice. Utilising embroidery is effective in a setting such as a drop in centre, as it allows people to do something creative whilst talking with each other and sharing stories.
Over a three-month period of attending the drop-in centre and meeting with participants, a series of banners were created, using photographs taking by participants of their everyday lives, and embroidered quotes and stories used as a way to express themselves.
Although we anticipated we would create eight banners, the positive response to the project with over 60 participants taking part meant we ended up with nearly 30 unique banners containing original stories about lived experience of displaced people in the UK. The banners have been exhibited across the North West every year since.
Pathway still works with Rainbow Haven, delivering regular workshops in the centre.
The banners were displayed across Manchester during Refugee Week
Refugee Week celebration at Chapel Street Church
Workshop making banners during Refugee Week