I sought to enable volunteers from across Wales to share their experiences of volunteering to work on the behalf of refugees.
With the assistance of the Welsh Refugee Council I identified six individuals from across Wales, volunteering in divergent ways to assist refugees. This also complemented the Welsh Refugee Council’s expressed intention to then tour the exhibition across Wales; the touring venues being as close to the participants as possible, increasing the identification with community and location.
Creating Sanctuary- more detail
Methodology and coverage - Authentic Voices blog post
*The quotes featured in the exhibition were taken from the volunteers responses to the below questions.
- In what ways have you volunteered?
- What was it that brought you to volunteering with refugees?
- What reward do you get from volunteering?
- What have been your struggles?
- What would you say to your wider community to encourage others to be welcoming, or to work with refugees?
- What does your volunteering bring to your community?
- What difference has your volunteering made?
‘Creating Sanctuary’ sought to identify fundamental human commonalities based around the loose theme of home, work and community, what they mean to us and bring to our lives. Beneath that lay the common thread of purpose, security, family, friends, creativity, camaraderie, healing, sharing loss and grief. In an 'ideal' society the ability to access these components is essential when required. This project sought to illustrate and share those core human requirements, that are being created by those who have volunteered in Wales to assist refugees. Refugees whoever they are, regardless of where they are from, have had those basic human requirements wholly or partly removed.
I sought to shift the narrative away from the controlled national media, aiming to localise the narrative back toward demonstrated compassion and humanity.
During the project I shared the volunteers personal surroundings, community, and associated places of voluntary action. I looked to identify personal outcomes for the volunteers and the people they assisted, whilst considering the impact on the wellbeing of their community.
The project also sought to propagate the aspiration that Wales becomes a "Nation of Sanctuary”.
I would like to thank all of the volunteers and associated organisations involved to giving over their valuable generous time to help create this exhibition.
Please, I urge you if you have time, to give some of it over to those in need of assistance.
*For the full volunteer responses and associated links please click the on the six named links below.
- Jane - Wrexham, NE Wales - 'United to assist Refugees UK'
- Catrin - Barry & Cardiff, South Wales - 'The Birth Partner Project'
- Ceri - Newport, SE Wales - 'The Sanctuary Project Bethal Community Church'
- Fred - St Dogmaels, West Wales - 'Hiraeth Hope'
- Alan - South West Wales - 'Swansea City Of Sanctuary'
- Sean - Mid Wales - 'Hay, Brecon & Talgarth Sanctuary for Refugees'
Funded/Partnered by: Arts Council of Wales