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Updated: Jul 1

Braintree 20.06.24

Playing a game with the postcards, taking it in turns to make connecting patterns and associations with imagery, provided a new way of seeing the familiar imagery on the postcards. It also helped to establish The Community Table and ourselves in the drop-in space on this sunny World Refugee Day. As people began to arrive from Wethersfield Asylum Centre, two young men joined us and the game organically evolved into tracing from postcards onto a roll of tracing paper. One man from Sudan traced two giraffes and then added a horizon of flying flamingoes, remaining deeply absorbed throughout the process.

On the other side of the table, two men from Eritrea built their ‘future homes’. One of these houses remained in construction with torn card used to create arches and steps. He seemed to have softened the architecture by using card, creating curved forms and an inhabitable interior.

On the English table we could overhear the volunteers teaching a group of men how to ask and speak about time in English. One volunteer explained what ‘doing time’ meant. We thought about how significant time is in this context and how many of the men feel like they are ‘doing time’.

One man shared his long journey from Eritrea through Sudan, Egypt, Libya, Israel, Turkey and on up through Europe, all whilst flipping the pages of the illustrated Brick book as if each page represented another country or step in his story. Taking moments away from the story to admire some of the architecture in the book, we reflected on how the table and materials allow people to travel in and out of memory and then back to something tangible.

Words by Thomas Etheridge & Katie Miller.

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