The day was marked by a mixture of pleasure and sadness – it was lovely meeting another great bunch of people who took part in the workshop, but also it also meant saying goodbye to collaborators David Blandy and Larry Achiampong once the workshop had finished.
In total, we ran four workshops this autumn helping local people in the South East of England remember and explore their memories of childhood home.
We started with Brighton as part of Brighton Digital Festival in September, at the historic Brighton Dome.
Working with visual artist Aikaterini Gegisian, who interviewed participants for a film about spaces in childhood home, we had an informal session with a wonderful group people, some who hailed from Sussex and London but others who originally came from Jamaica, Germany, Turkey, and South Africa.
Participants tried a variety of art forms to explore and bring to light memories, feelings and ideas about their childhood including writing, film and multimedia, as well as oral history storytelling and sharing photographs. We also sampled fresh Caribbean food from Benjie’s Caribbean Kitchen, one of my preferred caterers in Sussex – again, a hit!
We then travelled to Bristol in October and held a workshop at The Station, formerly a fire station turned into a youth and community centre right in the heart of Bristol.
We explored memories of childhood and childhood home with a small but perfectly formed group who hailed from different parts of the UK, but had rich memories that conveyed the diversity of this small island.
Memories of London, Ireland, Yorkshire and beyond. Joined by the Ujima FM Radio team, we enjoyed a Caribbean feast prepared by a mum of one of our partners – made with love!
In November we visited Crawley Library and met people who grew up or lived all over the world before making Crawley their home:as far as Tanzania, Iraq, British New Guinea, India (before it became Pakistan), Jamaica, Trinidad & Tobago, Zimbabwe, and Barbados, and as near as South Yorkshire, Scotland and Crawley itself!
Benjie provided the catering once again and stayed for part of the workshop – participants loved meeting him.
Milton Keynes was our final stop, and once again, we were astounded by the memories and stories from all over the globe: Istanbul, USA, Jamaica, Hungary, and Congo and across the UK including Yorkshire, Birmingham, Luton and Bletchley. This time we enjoyed an Indian banquet provided by Saf’s Kitchen, a local caterer who prides herself on fresh quality, Halal cuisine. Perfect!
A moving final session, with many of the themes echoed in previous workshops prevalent: travel and unrest, political movements, having more than one home or being torn between different countries or continents, and questions of identity and belonging, not just for ourselves but also future generations.
And finally one conclusion, drawn on a sheet of paper: ‘Home is where the heart is’.
We will be organising screenings and sharings in each of the venues in the coming months. This will be a chance to share your completed ‘film memory’, share any writing or thoughts, plus watch the completed film by Aikaterini Gegisian and watch my own artist film based on the gentrification of my childhood home in Austin, Texas.
Thank you to all our participants, host venues, partner organisations, artists, caterers, photographers and supporters of the No Place Like Home project. It’s been an incredible autumn and we’re glad you could be part of it!