The Syrian Family group meets once a month, and hopes to offer an opportunity to socialize and participate in family-friendly activities and learn about and connect in with local initiatives.

In November 2017, I headed to the North East of England to deliver a workshop with the group, which involved making a three-legged hexagonal shaped stool. I was excited for the workshop, but also nervous, because I would be for the very first time working with a group of participants whose first language is not English.

However the day went really well, particularly as I had the assistance of Omar, one of the volunteer translators who helps at the monthly sessions.

The highlights of the day were:

  • Seeing how enjoyable intergenerational teamwork can be
  • Learning each others names in Arabic and in English
  • Meeting the members of the community, especially the young women
  • Seeing how engaged the participants were and how happy the activity made everyone
  • Seeing how inclusive a craft-based activity can be
  • Confronting gender stereotypes in a positive and educational way
  • Being able to encourage those who were more reluctant to take part, and the satisfaction that all participants left with their very own stool.

Syrian Family Group IllustrationsSyrian Family Group Illustrations

The positive feedback following the workshop felt really rewarding, and makes me hopeful that I might be able to return to the Shipley Art Gallery for another craft-based workshop in 2018.