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Bristol, April 2023

Today was the second of two arts-based psychosocial trainings for staff and volunteers from both Bristol’s Church Hubs and Hereford Community Arts who are all offering spaces of welcome for people who have arrived in Bristol and surrounding counties from UKRAINE. Funded by Bristol City Council

Exploring the uses and grounding qualities of different materials, the heart of the session was held around a beautifully embroidered table cloth that was donated to Art Refuge among a pristine bundle of fabrics and lace, some over 100 years old that belonged to a family who had migrated from Scotland to Canada. One of the sons had become a church minister. With huge thanks for the donation to Janine Elliott!

As we slow stitched and moved further into the cloth we covered many topics in free-flowing conversation: love, loss, migration, being with and alongside others, the true meaning of hospitality, what we carry with us, objects of the every day, creativity and plans for creative spaces.

A member of the group used coffee cups as a material for an activity within today’s session, symbolising welcome, hospitality, creativity, growth and plans to make a collective prayer art piece.

The group have collectively inherited the table cloth and the seeds of ideas for its use and migration between hubs and organisations are in their early stages. With plans to meet again in July, we are looking forward to seeing how the shape of the art spaces will unfold.

Words by Sarah Robinson & Amy Wilson.

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