“Does it engage? Does it create lasting change?”

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“Does it engage? Does it create lasting change?”

As part of Telling,  we recently met with Douglas and Lorain, both artists working at Biasan – a project which supports refugees, migrants and asylum seekers in Bradford.

We talked about the work that they do, why they do it and what they feel it brings to the people they work with. The work at BIASAN takes place in a small room filled with lots of people on a Thursday afternoon. There’s no formal session plan and attendance varies from week to week. Under these conditions:

You can’t be precious about the work. Sometimes I’ll put something on the table that I’ve been working on for two or three hours, knowing that a five year old may come along and splash paint on it.

Often, Lorain and Douglas are working with people who are experiencing enormous challenges. What, we asked, them, can art do under those circumstances? Douglas reminded us of the potential value of the arts, quoting a 13th century Persian poet:

If you have two loaves of bread, sell one and buy a hyacinth.



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