05 Jul 2022

See the outcome of workshops centered around Refugee Week 2022's healing theme, hosted by BLKBRD Collective in collaboration with the National Maritime Museum

by Sondos & Tasnim Mahdy - BLKBRD Collective

To explore ideas and rituals of healing, the theme of Refugee Week 2022, BLKBRD Collective in collaboration with the National Maritime Museum held a pilot three-part workshop for Arabic-speaking women. 

We created a safe space that encouraged creative imagination and expression of rituals of healing.

The creative workshops were all held in Arabic, allowing for the women to express and discuss ideas, stories and experiences- creating a space of rejuvenation through making.  

The aim was to explore healing through the following six acts; remembrance, visitation, imagination, ritual, archiving and reflection. These workshops were all skills-based, focusing on how to use craft and making as a way to develop new ways of seeing.  

Workshop 1: Healing through acts of archiving

This was a workshop based on sketching as documentation, exploring mark-making and drawing as a method of documenting.

The aim was to look at ways of recording the present as a method of processing and understanding.  

Participants were invited to create observational drawings using charcoal and pencil. They created a series of drawings mainly focusing on continuous line and blind drawing as a way to document and reimagine.  

Sketching as part of Healing theme Refugee Week 2022 Sketch created as part of healing workshop for refugee week 2022

Workshop 2: Healing through acts of ritual

Our second workshop was on jewellery making. 

Prayer beads, rosaries and precious jewellery are all invaluable objects to us. Often given by a loved one, they are a reminder of a greater future and a symbol of hope.

We wear jewellery often as an act of defiance or of care or hope. These objects are made, used and cared for in ritual, through acts of repetition and tradition. 

Participants were invited to make an item of jewellery that would help them through their journey of healing. During the workshop, we made rosary beads, necklaces, bracelets, anklets and earrings.  

Jewellery workshop as part of Refugee Week 2022

Workshop 3: Healing through acts of remembrance

Our third workshop was a clay sculpture workshop. 

This workshop dealt with using memory and resemblance as a form of contemplation and reflection. Sculpting was used as a way of remembering and rediscovering - with every journey something new is born.  

Participants were invited to sculpt portraits that activated memory, remembering faces of those that are dear to us or those that we wish to recall.

We made a series of clay busts, each one depicting a memory of someone that is important to us - a memory that we wish to cherish.  

Clay workshop as part of Refugee Week 2022 Clay workshop for Refugee Week 2022 'healing' theme


About BLKBRD Collective

BLKBRD is a collective of artists from different disciplines who work together to create art. They are concerned with honouring the sacrifices of migrants to Britain today and throughout time; from the transatlantic slave trade to the contemporary refugee crisis, the Windrush scandal, and the disproportionate BAME death toll for COVID-19.

Their aim is to explore the traditionally underrepresented legacies of migration to the UK. 


Header photo by Basma Kamel

An image showing 'Bust created during clay workshop'
An image showing 'Necklace created during the jewellery workshop'
An image showing 'Jewellery created during the workshop'