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Kent, May 10th, 2023

Today the Illegal Migration Bill moved to its first hearing in the House of Lords. In parallel, from a different view of people seeking asylum on our shores via the very same routes that are being discussed, we spent the day in two Home Office accommodation centres in Kent. It was also a day of all weathers.

Having worked in Napier for over two years, we’ve also recently started offering psychosocial workshops in a second space in Folkestone, which has in turn shifted our sense of the local landscape with reference to asylum seekers.

We spent the day firstly outside in the sun with Napier residents. Vehicles were laid out in miniature across our very large map of the world. Placed on the tarmac, it acted as if it were a huge table with people coming and going, crisscrossing the exterior space. There was a lot of movement, small gatherings of people, regrouping, and conversation.

On the table in the communal hotel lounge in a nearby Home Office hotel we placed objects, images and art materials. The largely younger adult residents from such countries as Sudan, Afghanistan, Syria and Libya responded to a gentle time of drawing, watercolour, and modelling.

Words by Bobby Lloyd, Miriam Usiskin, Josie Carter & Toby Melville-Brown Illustration

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