Pathway Arts



A project challenging the dispersal process and exploring the human impact of the act

The Dispersal Act was introduced in 2000 in order to ‘disperse’ refugees and those seeking asylum in areas across the country. Although intended as a cost-effective solution for housing refugees, the Act has resulted in individuals being dispersed to isolated towns across the UK, separated from people or areas they know, and housed in areas where anti-immigration sentiment is high.

To mark 15 years since the act was introduced, and the immense impact it has had on refugees in the UK, Pathway facilitated Disperal, six weeks of workshops and tours to introduce the city of Manchester to people dispersed in the region.

We collaborated with cultural venues in the city, including John Rylands Library, Chethams School of Music and Manchester Football Museum to offer free tours of the city and the resources it houses.

In addition to this, we ran mono printing workshops with local refugee communities to provide a creative response to the dispersal process. This resulted in a printed book with illustrations and a series of quotations that exposed the human suffering behind the dispersal act.

The resulting Dispersal Newspaper  has been shared with community centres, local councillors and in parliament to start a conversation about the dispersal process.

Mono prints by participants 

Making the newspaper

Embroidery from exhibition

Many thanks to:
John Rylands Library, The Manchester Central Library, Manchester Jewish Museum, The Peoples History Museum, The National Football Museum, Dr. Jonathan Darling, Manchester Craft and Design Centre, Textbook Studio, North Manchester FM, Manchester University and Z-Arts.