Session1.

After lots of planning, we just delivered our first workshop to a cohort of women, connected by a personal interest to build a better relationship with their mother or come to terms with loss. This session was structured to deliver activities in order to provoke emotional responses, stories and feelings which are often left unresolved in one’s mind. We live within a hectic world where expressing emotion is often read as a sign of weakness.

 

This workshop was specifically intended for women who may consider themselves to be working class and have little or no opportunity to express themselves creatively. While the purpose of my Leverhulme Residency is to research lives of British South Asian women, this workshop was open to women of all nationalities as we aimed to open a discussion around the shared experiences of motherhood, work, identity, power struggles and belonging. The participatory component of my residency is being delivered with support from The Leicester City Council’s Community Engagement Fund. If you are interested in running activities to help your local community, I would urge you to look at local sources of funding such as this.

 

This was a full day event, split into morning and afternoon sessions. The morning session was led by Divya Ghelani who guided the group to participate in six short writing exercises, relating to mother-daughter relationships. Our afternoon session was led by Raisa Kabir, who guided the group to transform their stories into sculptural objects using fabric and text.

 

Five of the women were also accompanied by their daughters, making a total of ten attendees. A further six of were present as facilitators, artist practitioners and interns – We participated in the activities due to personal interests in the subject of mental health, cultural conflicts and/or intergenerational communication. The workshop was open to women of all nationalities and cultural backgrounds.

 

Vegan lunch. Bhel Puri, Pani Puri & Samosas.

 

The purpose of my research and workshops is to provide better access to knowledge, art and ideas with the added intention of provoking critical thought and discussion within non-academic circles. I have experienced the ideas contained within ‘art’ as that which functions within elite, bourgeois circles. These ideas are generally inaccessible or exclusively reserved for those with disposable time and/or money. 
 

These workshops are an effort to gain perspectives of happiness in migrant settler women; In order to do this, it is necessary to understand what happiness is to begin with. How do we quantify happiness and is happiness different things to different people? There are far too many variables to fully understand let alone try to make a comparison. These workshops are an attempt to collect individual stories. Art & storytelling allows us to connect with each other and enables us to see qualities in others that we recognise within ourselves.