The story so far

I PACKED THIS MYSELF is a project working with migrant workers and local communities in Cornwall, which started in 2006. The aim: to break down prejudice and increase understanding



Tuesday, 2 February 2021

"We're never doing an anti-immigrant story again"

 Very good to hear about a total change of direction at the Daily Express BBC Radio 4 - The Media Show, "We're never doing an anti-immigrant story again"


In the programme: "Daily Express editor Gary Jones is Labour-voting, backed Remain, and wants his paper to reflect multicultural Britain. He tells Amol Rajan how he effected a complete change of direction at the tabloid, once known for its dodgy weather forecasts and anti-immigrant stance."

When we started work on migration-related issues in 2006, the Daily Express was one of the tabloid newspapers fuelling anti-immigration feeling with a stream of stories and incendiary headlines.

Hats off, Gary Jones.

Friday, 22 January 2021

An interesting read ...

A big thank you to Keno Toriello, who sent me a link to this article in the Guardian: This is what it's like to be an intensive care unit nurse right now.

It's by 'Anonymous' - and a good read. Especially when you get to the powerful and moving final paragraph that rounds it off:

"I’m an EU migrant, like a vast number of people working in intensive care. Many of us were working on New Year’s Eve when the law changed, and we went from being residents of this country to being guests with settled status. When all this is over, I hope there is an acknowledgement that we didn’t leave this country; we didn’t leave our posts, even when it felt like Britain abandoned us. The Brexit vote was about taking back control of our borders, but it turns out they were worried about the wrong kind of foreign invader – it was the virus that was the problem. I hope people will remember that when it came to it, it was those people who chose to make this country home who kept the lights on."

Surgical theatres and recovery departments being into intensive care wards for Covid patients. What would the NHS do without nurses like the author?

Keno Toriello, originally from Chile, is working with us on I PACKED THIS MYSELF, our work to break down prejudice against people from overseas living in Cornwall and often playing a vital role in the local economy.

Wednesday, 2 December 2020

I PACKED THIS MYSELF WORKSHOPS

 

 We're continuing our workshops on the workers from overseas who play a vital role in the Cornish economy. The aim is to highlight the role that they play and the issues they might face when making the huge life decision to leave home and create a life elsewhere.

Most recently we Zoomed in to Mousehole Primary School where children afterwards created wonderful suitcases illustrating important journeys they have made in life.

Tess drew a picture of her much-loved horse (she told us on Zoom that if she had to leave home she'd take her horse with her). And also recalled a journey she made at the age of three when she went to visit her grandmother in Norwich. Her grandmother often comes down to Cornwall but this was the only time she has ever visited her grandmother's house.  She doesn't even really remember this trip. But the idea of it is important to her.

Flora remembered a 'research' trip. Her favourite animals are wolves and on a holiday to France her family visited a wolf park - where they also saw vultures. This was a voyage of discovery for Flora.

We've also recently delivered a workshop to more than 20 curates training to be vicars in the Diocese of Truro.  Our Romanian volunteers Dragos and Mirabela joined the workshop and talked about their lives.

This was a large audience and there were some interesting reactions...

Good ideas to emerge: the idea of putting up notices in church porches to welcome workers from overseas. We can help by providing templates for that: anyone interested should email info@bridging-arts.com.

At the same time, the curates also had another important thought: it would be important to combine this invitation and poster with some 'in-house' training so that congregations offered a real and heartfelt welcome.

We all agreed: the prejudice and difficulties that workers from overseas can face is not unique to Cornwall: far from it. It happens all over the country - and the world.

The workshop also threw a spotlight on the fact that Dragos and Mirabela's journey was life changing. They not only changed countries, they changed jobs and were faced with the immediate challenge of integrating into an environment that was inevitably alien, initially.

This is very different from the journey of a professional from one country to another who would find a lifestyle very similar to their home country. This is a journey of discovery into the unknown, and it's not always easy.

Thursday, 1 October 2020

Social justice work in Diocese of Truro

 Good to see I PACKED THIS MYSELF featuring in the Diocese of Truro's Social Responsibility briefing this month. Thank you to Andrew Yates, vicar of Paul Church, for helping to make this happen.  Click here to read.

Friday, 14 August 2020

Our new migration map

 Searching the world for work .... Our new map for schools, community groups and churches is ready to go.  The very first place that it's on display is at St Mary's Church, Penzance. This church already had a map there encouraging visitors to mark their countries of origin with a pin.

Our new map takes things a step further. Each continent presents the story of a Cornishman who left home and travelled there in the hope of finding work.

Why? To show that we are all on the move and have been throughout history.  Migration is not a recent phenomenon.

This is part of our project I PACKED THIS MYSELF with Cornwall Council and the Diocese of Truro. It's aimed at increasing understanding of people from overseas who play a vital role in the Cornish economy.

Here Keno Toriello, the Chilean-born administrator at St Mary's, helps to put up the map there. Keno has been working with us on the project for the past 12 months.

Thursday, 30 July 2020

The world in textiles

Loved this map of the world!
Created by fiber artist Vanessa Barragão (previously) in celebration of a partnership between London’s Heathrow Airport and Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew.
Barragão was commissioned to create a massive botanical tapestry.
Using a range of techniques including latch hooking, felt needling, carving, crochet, she created this map of the world.
Our project on migration, I PACKED THIS MYSELF, encourages people to map their own journeys. Here children at St John's Catholic Primary School, Camborne, plot their journeys in cardboard cut-out suitcases.