Affiliate Artist collaborations in 2019

October 2019

Clare Robertson will perform for the University of Glasgow's staff as part of their Black History Month activities. She will play a set specifically designed to reflect her own thoughts and feelings on the theme of black history and belonging in Scotland.

Pieter van der Houwen will host a lunchtime talk for staff of the University of Glasgow, as part of their Black History Month activities.

The African Union refers to the contemporary African Diaspora as the 6th African region, the other five being the North, South, East, West and central African regions. The reason for this qualification is the immense economic, political and cultural influence that the African Diaspora has on the African continent. Pieter van der Houwen’s talk will explore different aspects of the Diaspora on the basis of African communities in New York, Guangzhou and Johannesburg. Often thought of as the panacea of African problems the Diaspora does present some negative aspects, especially in regard to conflict in the home country.

Interestingly enough within the Nigerian Diaspora which is an estimated 17 million people we see a reversed trend; the so-called “returnees” i.e. the Nigerians, many from the UK, returning to Nigeria since the 2008 economic crisis. The talk will also focus on migration, if we are to take African poverty reduction seriously, should we not reconsider migration policies, taking into account the vast volume of remittances that flow back to the continent?

June 2019

At Solas this year we welcomed three of our Affiliate Artists. Pieter van der Houwen presented a workshop on participatory photography, Iain Campbell taught festival goers how to draw and Martha Orbach delivered a papercutting workshop around plants and home. More info on all of these can be found on the Solas page.

Later that month, Iman Tajik created two artworks, commissioned by the Scottish Refugee Council and the UNESCO Chair team and funded by Sustrans' Arts Fund. The first was placed in the V&A in Dundee, the second was put along the National Cycle Network near the Riverside Museum. Sadly that artwork disappeared within a week and we have been unable to find out what has happened to it. Iman decided to still present his work during our Refugee Cycle, scheduled to be the unveiling of the work, by turning it into an open discussion around freedom of speech.

May 2019

Affiliate Artists were well represented at our 2nd Spring School.

On the 2nd of May, Martha Orbach presented a workshop on Plants, Printmaking, Migration and Making a New Home. She presented two printmaking projects exploring our relationships with plants and their role in our sense of home and building new lives in the UK. Following the presentation she invited the audience to collaborate and create a papercut portrait of some of the plants which remind us of home. More information can be found on the Spring School page (see above).

Spring School 2019 Martha's pictures

Later that same day, I.D. Campbell treated us to a presentation entitled Threshold: A Creative Exploration of Rites of Passage for Gaining Refugee Status. Ritual can have tremendous power in helping us make sense of our lives. Births, becoming adults, weddings, and funerals are traditional life stages in our cultures. They are marked in special ways to help us acknowledge the moment that will soon be gone. They help us to celebrate or mourn that someone’s life has changed.In modern Scotland, how can we find ways to mark gaining refugee status that embodies the idea of positive change in both individuals and host communities? How do we give space to acknowledge a painful process, for the mixed emotions of celebration for what lies ahead and mourning what has been left behind? The arts have the power to help us make meaning in the modern world. In his talk, Iain Campbell explored ways we can create meaningful ceremony with community members, for a rite of passage for gaining refugee status.

Spring School 2019 Iain Campbell delivering his presentation

On the 3rd of May, Effie Samara regaled us with tales of her time as a taxi driver in Renfrew. Together with Tawona Sitholé, she explored what it means to be in a confined space, as a Greek woman, with total strangers. Plans for turning the experience into a play and a film were discussed, so watch this space!

Spring School 2019 Effie Samara in conversation with Tawona Sitholé

March 2019

Affiliate Artist Sawsan Al-Areeqe performed some of her poetry in the Gillmorehill Centre.

In celebration of her creative work as a visiting Fellow of the University of Glasgow, Sawsan Al-Areeqe shared poetry from across her four collections, including new writing from her forthcoming title, Expired Death, written during her time here in Glasgow. The evening was also be a rare opportunity to view some of her award-winning short films: Prohibited (2010), Daughter of the Sea (2011) and Photo (2012).

At the event, a new pamphlet of translations of her work 'As Death We Repeat Our Mistakes' will be launched. Some of the poetry in that pamphlet has been produced as part of her Artist Protectio Fund Fellowship.

Sawsan Al-Areeqe in front of the University's main building

May 2019

Some of our Affiliate Artists presented at the Spring School: The Arts of Integrating. See the listing for more information on the sessions by Martha Orbach, Ken Gordon, I.D. Campbell, Effie Samara, Pieter van der Houwen, Clare Robertson and Iman Tajik

June 2019

On 21-23 June, we hosted the Refuge Tent at the Solas Festival in Perthshire. Again our Affiliate Artits were well represented:

Naa Densua Tordzro joined Alison Phipps at the latter's UNESCO RILA annual lecture.

Ken Gordon from Refugee Voices Scotland was there to record two new podcast episodes in front of a LIVE audience, interviewing Farzane Zamen and Fawaz Raif.

Pieter van der Houwen hosted a participatory photography workshop.

I.D. Campbell took novices and more experienced audience members on a portrait drawing workshop.

Martha Orbach had created a workshop around plants, to make us think of which natural elements remind us of home.

Later that same month, at our annual Refugee Cycle on 29 June 2019, we were joined by Iman Tajik, who agreed to display his work "Freedom of Movement" under the bridge along the National Cycle Route 7, the Lochs and Glens Way. This work was also shown at the V&A in Dundee in June-AUgust 2019. Sadly the work got removed by someone who, we assume, didn't agree with the message. The project was commissioned by the Scottish Refugee Council and the exhibition was organised in collaboration with Glasgow City Council and Sustrans.

Iman Freedom of Movement