New and emerging communities

“Arts & Life”: Newly Arrived Migrant and Refugee Women in Liverpool

Women have told their stories through the ages through the Creative Arts for centuries. Painting, weaving, beading, mosaics, poetry, song and dance are just some of the ways that women have used to express their feelings, emotions, thoughts and “talk about” their life experiences.

This project is working with newly arrived migrant and refugee women in creating safe spaces to begin talking about and telling stories of experiences that are affecting their day to day feelings of health and well-being. It is also creating opportunities for women from diverse and emerging communities to connect with the Liverpool Women’s Health Centre to access centre services, network with women in their own communities as well as making connections with other women in the community.

open day 2006

The Centre hosted 2 Open Days attended by women from communities including Iraqi (Mandaean), Sudanese, Afghani, Iranian and Fijian-Indian. Of the over 30 women attending only 4 had visited the Centre previously. Women participated in a number of activities including hand massage, drumming, Henna tattooing, Sudanese traditional dancing and card making as well as hearing about the Centre and the Creative Arts Project.

The Project needed a framework to trigger discussion and the exploration of thoughts, feelings and emotions in a safe learning environment. Six (6) sessions were developed around themes that support women in the telling of their stories and sharing of their experiences and include Migration and Settlement, Loss and Grief, Hopes and Dreams, Strength and Courage, Rebuilding and Reflection and Celebration.

To date the sessions have been run with Mandaean women who chose to share their stories through story telling. Their work is currently being translated and formatted for publication in booklet form.

Currently Sudanese women are meeting at the Centre and weaving their stories and experiences