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Calais, September 29-30, 2022

An ominous new feature has appeared in the Calais landscape - huge boulders now occupy the green space previously used as a temporary living site by families from the Middle East who were camping there in tents. Someone has sprayed in large letters ‘pour ça?’ (‘for that?’)

There were many more men in the day centre today than yesterday, when we worked outside in bright sunshine and there was a general feeling that things were calm. Today was more frenetic.

Yesterday and today made up the second Writing Letters workshop in our collaboration with King’s College London. We shared with the men who joined The Community Table fragments of letters that survive from the ancient world. We invited them to use our typewriters to write their own letters if they wanted to.

One man from the Middle East spent a long time carefully composing a letter on mindfulness to help anyone who is struggling; a 17 year old boy from North Africa wrote a touching long letter to his mother; a group from Sudan collectively ghostwrote a letter on behalf of one of their number.

Some of these letters will form part of an exhibition on the overlap of the ancient and modern worlds at King’s College London next March.

James Corke-Webster, Josie Carter, Aida Silvestri, Miriam Usiskin, Bobby Lloyd

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