Bristol Refugee Festival: Coronaquilt Imagined

5 BRIEF WORKSHOPS OVER 5 DAYS 15 – 21st June 2020

With the theme of 'Imagine' spanning Refugee Week, and using Art Refuge's Coronaquilt as a backdrop, we were delighted to welcome fifteen playful participants to our visually interactive sessions. Some joined us from our charity's home of Bristol and others from across the UK and Kathmandu where we began working back in 2006 with Tibetan refugees in transit from Tibet through to India. Many of those who attended the workshops were there, in part, to use the week’s experiences in their own work places to help support both isolated individuals in their homes as well as refugee organisations continuing to connect with people who use their services.

Each day we explored different visual effects including texture, colour, form, light and dark, lines, shapes, borders and in a more abstract sense, borders, networks, safe spaces and internal resources. Tuesday's workshop paid particular homage to Aida Silvestri, an artist of Eritrean origin who has become an important collaborator with Art Refuge and the Coronaquilt in her use of silhouettes to provide a voice for individuals connected by their challenging experiences of lockdown. Using our laptop and phone cameras plus the function of Zoom to rename our silhouettes, we typed our Rituals of the Everyday that have become personally valued during Covid-19’s impact.

In these brief sessions we explored vast themes of displacement, journeys, connection and resilience, and noticed the resonance in our collective experience of the Coronavirus pandemic, particularly of separation from loved ones along with thoughts and conclusions of what matters in times of crisis - the ability to imagine and hope serving as a valuable resource throughout.

Led by Bobby Lloyd, Miriam Usiskin, Amy Wilson and Sarah Robinson.

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