Unity in Diversity is a community drop-in for asylum seekers and refugees hosted by the United Reformed Church in Waunwen, Swansea. Here members from various backgrounds across the world meet and form a sense of community and togetherness, sharing food and support. They are able to attend English classes as well as other training activities. Members of the group are from diverse parts of the globe, including Sudan, Pakistan, Ethiopia, Egypt, Turkey, Albania, Cameroon, amongst many others.
I have been fortunate to have worked with this diverse group over the last few months, whose members are often temporary and transient, to introduce a cultural exchange, engaging in a process of sharing singing dancing performance and conversation to help build relationships and understanding – often where language forms a barrier.
Members have sung, danced, performed – sometimes in spontaneous collaboration, and through taking part and being together in activities, we have been able to learn about one another's respective cultures – sharing art, music, dance and stories.
As part of the process, I have worked passionately to build bonds with the participants, to find out about their lives, their family, their journey and their heritage as they in turn learn about Swansea, Wales and the culture they now find around them.
I created a short film that was screened alongside the group's performance on the 23rd of May at Swansea Waterfront Museum:
An exhibition of the work with Unity and Diversity and other participating groups will be on display in Swansea Museum in July, designed by Tim Stokes and Natalie Paisey.
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