Creating Place is a ground-breaking project we co-produce with the Turnpike Gallery in Leigh. This project brings people from diverse backgrounds together to share skills and experiences and creates dialogues . In this post you learn more about this project from Beena Nouri, the main facilitator of the project.
For 12 weeks Beena worked with migrant community in Leigh town centre, in kingsleigh community centre. Each week the participants explored a different material or art form. The work in now on display at the Turnpike Gallery as a co-created, collaborative exhibition. Participants made clay tiles which Beena has put up as a wall, fitting together everyone's different designs into one big image. The explored weaving through making baskets, bowls and textiles.
Beena reflected that these workshops allow people to come together and do something creative. It isn't just what's being made that matters, it's the process. There's a lot of chat in the workshops, people asking each other about ‘where is the food bank?’ or ‘I didn't know there was a gallery here, where is it?’. This artistic space opened up a soft and welcoming environment for people to get together, giving space for people to talk and build their own community.
As a community facilitator and architectural designer, Beena has a unique understanding of what creating a place can mean. Beena studied an MA in Architecture and for her the combination of architecture and art is a powerful tool to redefine space for the communities it serves. Through her masters and her work as a community facilitator she is learning constantly about how people experience space. In the future she would love to put this thinking into practice and create a community centre with refugees and asylum seekers co-designed to suit the communities needs.
She also highlighted the way in which refugee and asylum communities are often forced into repurposed or clinical spaces. The current hotel accommodation being a clear example of this, we spoke about how cruel it is to expect people to make a home in a place where you cannot even mark the wall or cook a meal. In hotels you can't have any ownership over your own space or what you can do in that space.
Creating Place is about opening up a space where people can make things and not just inhabit them. Through this project we, as a community, can all come together and collectively make something new.
The exhibition launched in July and will be open until 16th September. The celebratory event will be on 15th September at the Turnpike Gallery.
Post by Maddie Wakeling