I've started my Wlaeslab project, 'Llaneski'- a project that creates a platform for the Polish community of Llanelli to express themselves creatively. I want to hear what they have to say and then discover a way of collaborating with them in making a piece of something creative.
I'm sorry if it sounds vague, but right now it's exactly that. I'm not going to decide what it will be, what it will look like, sound like or feel like. This project is about developing my process of working with and within communities whose voices aren't being heard. I'm gonna take it step by step and be as open and flexible as I can be as opposed to fall back on tried and tested methods.
So we (me and Laura Karadog, the community facilitator) started our journey at Coed Cae secondary school with 31 young Polish people. We had a full day of workshops- exploring their relationship with Llanelli and the people of Llanelli. It was really challenging because we don't speak Polish and some of them had very little English. The ones that didn't understand me talking tended to play up, chat, joke around which was really frustrating. But we slowly got closer and closer and the trust started to build between us. They shared their journey from Poland to Llanelli on the bus, their first reactions and the good and bad about living here. Just because they're all Polish they are of course also individuals and very different from each other. But they all had one thing in common- they have all experienced racial abuse.
"You're stealing our jobs"
"Fuck off back to your own country"
"Everything is your fault"
These are some examples of what they're told at school by fellow students.
The sentence we ended up with after a day of exploring was this one-
Our second day on the Llaneski project was last Sunday where we had a dance/movement workshop. Nine of the young people got in touch with using their bodies to express themselves led by the awesome Karol Cysewski. Next weekend we'll be exploring putting our voices in art with a fabulous Llanelli sculptor called Richard Gravelle. This is all building up towards a weekend full of workshops in February. We're taking our time so that we can contact as much of the community as possible. It's definitely not easy but so far I'm loving the challenge and really loving what we're discovering together.
I'll update you soon.....x
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