An audio work held at Brooks will be feature voices of Manchester Met students as part of Refugee Week 2016 (20th – 26th June).
The Critical Community Psychology group present ‘I am [a Human Being]’ by Kate Bevan, which the real, interlocking stories, of five refugee women now living in Manchester. In the recording, five local women – who are not refugees – read the parts and assume the ‘voice’ of a refugee. The five refugee stories unfold as they read, telling tales of seeking safety, searching for dignity and a place to call home.
Harrowing, life threatening situations have forced these brave refugee women to make perilous journeys, leaving familiar surroundings for a future of uncertainty, indeterminate waiting and relocation. Their stories are mixed with pain and hope, the kindness of strangers and wish for a place to feel safe.
The author who lives in Bolton, uses storytelling as a platform to allow the “less heard” to be heard. Kate said: “As these women shared their stories I kept asking what if it were me? What would I do? How would I feel – traumatised, escaping death, protecting your family. These brave women who shared their stories are not ‘labels’. They are mothers, wives, daughters.”
The work developed from a workshop commissioned by Pod Collective, who use art to work with refugees and asylum seekers from war-torn countries like Eritrea, Syria and Afghanistan. They work with refugees who are now settled in local communities across the North West. The stories are those of real refugee women who are members of Manchester-based community campaigning group, United for Change.
Emily, Co-Artistic Director of Pod Collective, said: “This work allows the stories of my friends to be heard by people they don’t know, it allows people to experience their lives and feel the issues they go through.”
Refugee Week is a UK-wide programme of arts, cultural and educational events and activities that celebrates the contribution of refugees to the UK and promotes better understanding of why people seek sanctuary. It runs from 20-26 June 2016. This year’s theme is ‘Welcome’.