The story so far

I PACKED THIS MYSELF was a project working with migrant workers and local communities in Cornwall, which started in 2006. We found instances of exploitation, discrimination and outright racism. I PACKED THIS MYSELF brought people together to increase understanding. This blog is a record of the work done over the following five years.

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Our first school assembly

Our first school assembly as we start to get things rolling. At Penair School, Truro, to launch the project in the school. Year 9 students will be working on related themes all term and - with other students - will be creating art work. Some, we hope, with migrant workers. The full I Packed This Myself exhibition will be on display there from 23 February 2010. And a formal launch party held on 23 March 2010. Watch this space for more details.
More than 1,000 children march into the gym with military precision. It is interesting that schools, like houses, have atmospheres. The atmosphere here is very positive, engaged and energetic. It's an impressive school. (I particularly like the way that they have photo albums in reception with pictures of different activities, Royal visits! and school trips.)
Ewa comes with me. She is originally from Gdansk, her father a Solidarity activist.  She has been in this country for four years, first working in a food processing factory in Dundee and then a medical supplies factory near Newquay. She tells the assembly about this work.
Later we sit in at a Citizenship class run by Carmel Henry, the driving force behind Penair's involvement with the project. Ewa is fascinated to learn that Cornwall has a long history of migration - that Cornish miners left the county to find work overseas. She says she'd like to go back to school.
Interesting to hear this - it's surprising. This is a major part of Cornish history and culture that Ewa didn't know about - and she's been here for four years.
Another indication, perhaps, of the way two communities - migrant worker and local communities - live side by side but don't necessarily interact socially and culturally.