The Museum of Things

As part of Refugee Festival Scotland, The Museum of Things invited us to join them for a special collage making workshop. The group – which is made up of asylum seekers, refugees and migrants who have settled in Glasgow – have been meeting online each week since the start of the year.

The Museum of Things is a creative space led by refugee artists. In their weekly workshops, group members can connect, experiment with different artistic techniques, discover new talents, share their skills and celebrate self-expression. We caught up with artists, Mousa and Paria, and groups members Maha and Ehsan to find out more.

Mousa: It was a big challenge for us to start this group when we did, while we were in lockdown. Each week, we meet on Zoom for two hours and we focus on a different topic or technique. We planned the 20 sessions of the workshop in advance so we knew what materials would be needed. We tried to make it accessible, easy and engaging.

Paria: We wanted to challenge the narrative around refugees and asylum seekers so that it’s not just associated with drama, sadness and negative feelings. Instead, we wanted to overcome this and turn it into something fun and meaningful. Before anything else, we wanted to show that refugees are human beings with needs and feelings.

Mousa: There are about 20 people in the group, all from a refugee background. Some are still in the asylum process, so they have appointments with lawyers and aren’t able to make it to every session. With the pandemic, we’ve had participants living in hotels and moving from place to place. Rose and Pinar from Maryhill Integration Network have really helped to keep the group together and provide support. They deliver the art materials to people and make sure they have internet.

Paria: It’s really nice to see people turning up each week and participating. It’s really inspiring. They are all so passionate and so creative. The feedback has been great. They tell us that the project has helped with their mental health. They’re happy and looking forward to the next week. It keeps people busy and gives them something to focus on.

Mousa: We wanted to create a safe space for people to meet each other, learn new things and use their creativity. The aim is to give people skills and confidence that they can continue to build on and take further. When the workshops are over, there will be an exhibition featuring artwork produced by the participants.

Paria: With the pandemic, we don’t have space to come together as a community. That physical contact is so important, especially for people who are already feeling really isolated. This project has allowed people to make those human connections. We’ve built a small community where we can make friends and people can express themselves.

As a single mum finding her feet in a new country while caring for two young children, Maha struggled with the added pressures of lockdown. The weekly workshops have helped her make new friends and manage her anxiety.

Maha told us: The art group has been so nice from the very beginning. They send us the materials and contact us before each session. It’s very well organised and very supportive.

Maha with her collage

Mousa and Paria are very patient. They do a really good job. We feel that they care about us. We want to keep coming back every week. I’m in seven different groups, but this is the most useful one for me. I wanted to do something positive. It’s two hours a week that we have for ourselves.

Through this group, I meet a lot of different people – different ages and cultures. We’re all working together. I have made a lot of really good connections. There are five people in our building who are all in the group and sometimes we meet up and finish our work together. I’ve met those people because of this group. When we finish each work, we share with each other. I want to see what other people are working on each week and what they’ve done. When I see their work, I feel very happy.

Its not just about painting. We learn new techniques and find out about art. Every session we do something different. I’ve started drawing portraits for the first time. I created a collage to visualise the anxiety I was feeling in lockdown.

As a single mum, it was hard for me, but I was able to express what I was feeling through this collage. It took me three months to complete. I wanted to show the struggle of women in my culture. We have to fight from the very beginning – fight our culture and our circumstances. When I arrived here in Scotland I had to keep on fighting.

Ehsan moved to Scotland during lockdown. He feels isolated and alone, but the group has given him a sense of purpose and helped him to build connections.

Ehsan with one of his pieces

He explained: I’ve learned a lot and made good friends. It’s also really helped me to improve my English. I have issues with mental health and this workshop has really helped with that. If it wasn’t for this project, I would just be stuck at home with nothing but my thoughts. I would just eat, sleep and think.

Now I have something to look forward to. It really makes my day. Every week I know I’ll be doing something different. Some of the materials and techniques, I’m using for the first time. I had never worked with clay before. Discovering that I had this talent and being able to shape these materials and make something with them, it’s a very positive energy.

After each workshop, that feeling of positive energy stays with me for days. It’s a moment in the week when we’re not thinking about problems or the negatives that surround us. It helps to distract us and gives us an escape. I’ve developed strong friendships. If I didn’t have this workshop, I wouldn’t have made those connections.

When I collected together some examples of my work to bring here today, it made me so happy. Knowing that our work will be displayed in an exhibition is a very good feeling. It’s a chance to share what I’ve created with everyone.

Festival line-up | Wednesday 16 June

Refugee Festival Scotland runs from Monday 14 June until Sunday 20 June (World Refugee Day). Check out the full Refugee Festival Programme here.

Here’s what’s on at Refugee Festival Scotland on Wednesday 16 June:

Celebrating Refugee Festival Scotland
by Ruchazie Pantry
In-person event | Community Events
10am

Tears of Gold: Stories of Refugee Women Displaced from Home
by Hannah Rose Thomas
In-person & Online event | Art
10am

Collage Making With The Museum Of Things Open Art Group
by Maryhill Integration Network
Online event | Art
12pm

Friends Of Amal – Growing Together
by Friends of Amal
Online event | Community event
12pm

by University of Glasgow / GRAMNet

Refugee Histories Scotland

by Katherine Mackinnon in partnership with Maryhill Integration Network

We Grow Stronger Together
by MILK
Family Friendly | In-person events
4pm

Educational Institute Of Scotland Member’s Screening Of ‘Journeys Into Film’ In Conversation With Maryhill Integration Network
by Maryhill Integration Network
Film | Online events
5pm

Body Mark Making With Iman Tajik And The Gallery Of Modern Art (GoMA)
by GoMA – Glasgow Museums
Art | Online events | Training courses & workshops
5:30pm

‘We Journey Together’ – Film Screening And Discussion
by Govan Community Project
Film | Online events
6pm

by Refuweegee

How To Make A Traditional Abaya With Sewing2gether All Nations

by Sewing2gether All Nations

Peruvian Fitness Dance Workshop

by ArtPerUK

Priti Foul: Why We Must Oppose The Sovereign Borders Bill

by Glasgow Stand Up To Racism

Storytelling Session With Tawona Sithole In Partnership With Pachedu’s Cultural Café

by Renfrewshire’s Ethnic Communities Cultural Steering Group

Champagne Room: A Nollywood Movie Screening

by Turn Flicks

Belal Plays The Oud
by Highland Migrant and Refugee Advocacy (HiMRA)
Music | Online events
Available all-day

Together / Apart

by Take One Action

08:00 AM

Together / Apart

by Take One Action

Available all day

Black Scots
by National Theatre of Scotland
Online event | Film
Available all-day

Travellers – Eden Court

by Eden Court

Celebrate Culture – Photography Competition
by Renfrewshire’s Ethnic Communities Cultural Steering Group
Online event | Art
Available all-day

Champagne Room: A Nollywood Movie Screening
by Turn Flicks
Online event| Film
Available all-day

Gaming Against The Hostile Environment
by Gaming Against the Hostile Environment
In-person / Online event | Gaming
Available all-day

Life In The Time: Exhibition
by Amina MWRC
Online event | Art
Available all-day

Multi Events-University Of Edinburgh 
by University of Edinburgh
Online event | Multi-events – see listing

Musicians In Exile – Always On The Move
by THE GLASGOW BARONS
Online event | Music
Available all-day

Making Home
by Steeple Church, Dundee
Online event | Art
Available all-day

 

Meet Razieh.

Artist Razieh is a member of Sewing2gether All Nations, who are holding an event on Wednesday 16th June for #RefugeeFestScot.

When Razieh arrived in Scotland, she couldn’t speak English and struggled to understand the Scottish accent. She began English classes at Govan Community Project, where she found out about Sewing2gether All Nations in Paisley, who helped her a lot to settle in her new city.

Razieh worked as an artist and art teacher in Iran, and hopes one day to continue working in her profession.

Razieh has kindly shared some of her story and artwork with us in a short video – watch now!


Razieh also shared a short message for other people in her situation.

“I understand that living in another country, it’s really difficult for all of us. But if we try doing something and continue working towards our goals, we can be successful, especially in this city. Scottish people are really friendly. When I first arrived in this city, I thought that Scottish people don’t speak English because their accent was totally difficult for me! But now I understand it and Gabi, Corinne, Angela, Pastor Debbie and Pastor Hugh (at Sewing2gether All Nations) have helped me so much with everything. So don’t worry, just try, keep going and you’ll be successful.”

Join Sewing2gether All Nations tomorrow evening at 7pm.

Watch as Aysha, another member of Sewing2gether All Nations shows you how to make an abaya dress, a loose-fitting garment that is traditionally worn by many Muslim women across the world.

Interested?

This event will be a YouTube Premiere and will go live on 16th June at 7pm.

The link and video will be available on www.sewing2getherallnations.com.

Find out more about the work of Sewing2gether All Nations.

Amber Update

Since the very early morning today, Paria and Francisco have started a massive journey walking from Dungavel IRC to the Home Office in Glasgow to mark the 70th anniversary of the UN Refugee Convention.

Over the last 70 years, the Convention has had an impact on millions of people’s lives. But in 2021, the rights and principles enshrined in the Convention remain insecure and under threat.

For more, please go to AMBER: As it happens – Scottish Refugee Council

Also, you can join them on TwitterFacebook and Instagram

Festival line-up | Tuesday 15 June

Here’s what’s on at Refugee Festival Scotland on Tuesday 15 June:

Black Scots
by National Theatre of Scotland
Online event | Film
Available all day

Celebrate Culture – Photography Competition
by Renfrewshire’s Ethnic Communities Cultural Steering Group
Online event | Art
Available all day

Travellers – Eden Court

by Eden Court

Available all day

Champagne Room: A Nollywood Movie Screening
by Turn Flicks
Online event| Film
Available all day

Gaming Against The Hostile Environment
by Gaming Against the Hostile Environment
In-person / Online event | Gaming
Available all day

Life In The Time: Exhibition
by Amina MWRC
Online event | Art
Available all day

Multi Events-University Of Edinburgh 
by University of Edinburgh
Online event | Multi-events – see listing

Musicians In Exile – Always On The Move
by THE GLASGOW BARONS
Online event | Music
Available all day

Together / Apart

by Take One Action

Available all day

Making Home
by Steeple Church, Dundee
Online event | Art
Available all day

Night Fever: Designing Club Culture
by V & A Dundee
In-person event | Community
10.30am

From Exclusion To Inclusion
by Scottish Wider Access Programme (West) (SWAPWest)
Online events | Community Event
11am

I AM FROM HERE, THERE
by Distanced Assemblage
Online events | Art
11am

Tears Of Gold: Stories Of Refugee Women Displaced From Home
by Hannah Rose Thomas
Online event | Art
11am

A Thread Is A Journey
by Central and West Integration Network and The Glasgow School of Art
In-person event | Art and community
1pm – 4pm

Sounds Of Govan Community Project
by Govan Community Project
Online event | Radio
1pm – 3pm

Ma Mapula
by ShwayShway Films
Online event | Film
2pm

Colouring Outside The Lines – Virtual Art Exhibition Guided Tour
by UNESCO RILA
Online event | Art
4pm

In Her Own Words
by V&A Dundee
Online event | Art
5pm

Welcome To Our Zoom Club *Children 8 – 12*
by Serve2020
Online events | Children’s club
5pm

Monuments For A Multicultural Society
by Francesca Zappia
Online event | Workshop
6pm

Right To Work: Right To Freedom
by Maryhill Integration Network
Online event | Discussion
6pm

ESOL Class With Lingo Flamingo
by Lingo Flamingo CIC
Online event | Training courses & workshops
7pm

Live Cooking Class
by Standing Tall Arts
Online event | Food
7pm-9pm

Refugee Festival Scotland runs from Monday 14 June until Sunday 20 June (World Refugee Day). Check out the full Refugee Festival Programme here.