JRS Creative Arts Space

A new Creative Arts Space, designed, developed and delivered by refugees has launched at Jesuit Refugee Service UK.

Refugee-led activities focus on improving skills, confidence, health and well-being by locating the skills, interests and desires of refugees at the centre of the planning process. Many of our refugee friends, who are caught up in the web of policies known as the hostile environment, are barred from accessing services and work; which enforces idleness and marginalisation. These policies inhibit community engagement and participation; increasing feelings of isolation and loneliness.

Yet, JRS UK’s refugee-led activities strive to give back agency and empower those who we serve. The impact of creating spaces of learning and enabling is long lasting, not only in providing immediate support to participants, but also in improving leadership skills for the future.

Recently the centre has launched their JRS Creative Arts Space, which is an art project designed, developed and delivered by our refugee friends. They have the freedom to use a wide range of modalities to explore different themes and topics that are collectively agreed upon.

Matilda, JRS UK’s Refugee Activities Co-ordinator, commented: "the Creative Arts space is more than just an art workshop. We play games, share stories, ideas and techniques; we’ve even been learning some British Sign Language! The emphasis is on collaboration and togetherness. We hope to start planning our first exhibition soon, so watch this space!"

The Creative Arts Space is an opportunity for our friends to explore their own individual creativity and take ownership over the creative process. The space is central to notions of enablement; giving our friends a chance to discover their own creative talents. Matilda has worked closely with two of our refugee friends to plan the project, and hopes that when the group becomes more established, more JRS friends will feel empowered to take leadership roles.

Whilst experimenting with different modes and mediums, our friends have a chance to play artistic games to get to know one another, and also share an evening meal – something which is cherished at JRS UK.

Can you help us stock up the art materials cupboard? JRS UK Creative Arts Space needs:

  • Paints & Paint Brushes
  • Oil/ Chalk Pastels
  • Air Drying Clay

You can purchase items directly on our Amazon Wish List, which will be delivered straight to JRS.

This article was first published on JRS UK's website.