We launched our next fundraising campaign. You can donate here or create your own fundraising page for the campaign within Just Giving. Thank you for your support! we can’t do it without you.
Note that we are also accepting applications for our Active Supporter program where motivated individuals come along with us and support the project both financially and with their time and skills – in return they have a life changing experience.
This 15 minute documentary of our most recent visit was prepared by Matt Allen to tell our story. We showed it at our event at the Argentine Embassy in April 2017.
Artmongering with Refugees from Matt Allen on Vimeo.
We have been excited about the coverage we got this time:
ITV news Artmongers from Artmongers on Vimeo.
In a few days 3 of us will be heading back to Jordan for the next phase of our ongoing project with the refugees, staff and volunteers there.
We plan to
- co-create two more village squares (like Hope Square)
- run a new creative activity with the children on the camp
- pilot Talk Circle – a mobile audio unit to create pop up circles between the houses in the camp where the women who do not move far from their shelters can connect and be entertained
It’s not too late to contribute… just click here to go to our Just Giving page
And here to see the video
Well if our plans had worked out I would be writing this from Jordan. Alas things have not gone quite so smoothly and because of increased security we didn’t get our permits from the local police in time to head out yesterday as planned.
However, we won’t be so easily put off!
We are in discussions with CARE, our host NGO, about going in January instead. and if things haven’t improved by then, we will find other ways. If nothing else this project has taught us to be resourceful and resilient! And of course it has taught us many other things too. How incredibly lucky we are for one, to live in this – even imperfect – democracy, to have homes and freedom and futures. And taught us how it is possible to have connections with people from a different culture in a different environment, even without a shared language. It has taught us too that even though the problem is overwhelming, and a solution seems a long way off, it is still possible to bring moments of joy and connection to people.
When we had our fund raising event last week in the Hill Station I was once again moved by everybody’s presence. By the attention in the room, by the shared intention to see the humanity in the people we are working with. By the enraptured faces of the children listening to the storyteller, Sef Townsend. By the generosity of all our amazing performers, Jean-Bernard Marie, Adrian Bradbury and Oliver Davies, plus a lively finale from Tango’s Descent. Thanks to to Brockley Brewery for their support on the beer and Bosco and Bee for delivering up many many delicious pizzas.
Thanks to that event, and previous ones, and the Hilden Trust and generous donations from members of the community we are now at 87% of our fundraising target for this part of the project. Our campaign on Justgiving allows for direct donations and for you to set up your own fundraising page if you want to do something for the campaign.
Come and join us to hear Alia Alzougbi, an award winning dynamic Syrian storyteller (stories in English) at 6.30pm and then classical music by brilliant and highly acclaimed pianist Jean-Bernard Marie. All proceeds to twinning projects in the Syrian Refugee Camp we are working with.
We will update you on the project during the evening and are available for any questions.
We are planning to go back Oct 15th to do the next wave. Waiting on the Jordanian Police to give permission which will take up to four weeks apparently…
When we are there we hope to
- build two more squares
- make a shade structure for gathering and chatting – which will include a solar powered LED installation
- pilot the Pop Up Time Machine (nee Refugee Radio). All Syrian audio material very welcome, could be music, poetry, storytelling – for adults or children
- We are planning a fundraising event on Oct 7th at the Hill Station – Syria’s Got Talent. Featuring music, magic, storytelling etc. and Syrian pizza. If you know anyone who would like to perform, help with the bar, or get involved get in touch.
- We are also encouraging people to do their own fundraising – they can set up a page on our Just Giving webpage. We already have one volunteer who is going to be busking. Maybe connected things eg sponsored giveaway of clothes to a refugee charity, sponsored sleep-out … interested to see what comes up!
The overall idea is to address the isolation and poor support networks of many of the women in the camp by creating a magazine style daily podcast that is broadcast via a mobile unit which travels around the camp and then parks up between houses.
- Theme tune to attract attention (like the ice cream van jingle) and encourage women to listen – and eventually to emerge and sit together to listen and maybe chat afterwards
- A short episode (7 minutes) of a soap opera set in an imaginary small Syrian town (a la ‘Azraq Archers’) – not the camp itself – which addresses similar issues eg neighbour disputes, food shortages, trauma, bored teenagers looking for trouble, elders struggling to adapt).
A short term option is to use Boz’s soap opera
- Information pieces eg an interview with a woman who has been to the adult training centre for the first time
- Traditional Syrian music
- Children’s storytime (a la ‘Listen with mother’)
- Existing podcasts? (tbc)
- Existing audio books (via Catherine’s contact in Amman)
- Get more info about Boz’s work to check for suitability / availability (Patricio)
- Contact syriansinlondon.wordpress.com for potential writers (Catherine)
- Contact SAID Foundation re funding (Catherine)
- Contact Flick / Dorothy re Syrian arts / refugees
- Contact Felicity re BBC (Kate)
We also discussed the possibility of corporate sponsorship and need to follow up on that. Virgin? (Mark S), Sennheiser, Pure, Philips?
The idea is that for a few days in September there will be educational / entertainment events relating to the Twinning Project and culminating in a 3 day pop up ‘refugee experience’ to fundraise and awareness raise for the project. Events will be centred around the Hill Station . Note that the focus will be the specific camp conditions where we are working. Not other refugee situations.
Note that these are notes from ideas discussed – they are not yet plans
Ideas for Installation
- To have someone at the door stopping people as they come in.
a) ask them to leave their phone or something of value
b) ask them to create their own ID with which they can get food
c) delay them for 5 minutes after they want to leave.
- Installation, to have all the café windows blacked out
- Install an L shape wall at the entrance so that people can’t see in as they approach the door
a) To have that wall divide the easy side from the hard side (people find different levels of difficulty as they choose whether to go left or right).
- Inside, we will remove all furniture and niceness and make it as monochrome as possible.
- We will build a replica of a shelter.
- We will project footage from Azraq onto the background using The Café’s projector and audio
a) it will have high level of wind
b) it won’t be like a narrative film, the material will be as unedited as possible
- The space will be disorganised. Cushions and other things piled up and people might have to organise themselves.
Main Objective: Celebration of Syrian Culture
- Photo-journalism project – adolescents
- Story Telling
- Syrian Music Night – Pop up Restaurant.
- Actors cook while telling a compelling story then share the food as well
- Stage a discussion or an impro with actors
- Comedy night about Pain and loss – quiz game/ disco night
- Syrian Women Night… women focus on the challenges ahead and something to be done at the Camp.
- Drama – about unexpected loss
- Exile Poetry – Spoken Word Night – people choose poems to read about leaving their homeland behind
- Sponsored Sleepovers at the ‘camp’