Come to your senses: a sense of self

Reposting something I wrote for my personal blog Starakin as Meryna’s essence is touched on when talking about tuning into and developing a stronger sense of self and belonging, particularly in relation to migrant communities in London. The Meryna team, including myself, are all busy doing exciting (and not so exciting) life stuff, somehow related to communities, the arts, therapy and/ or education, and slowly carving out Meryna specific time. I’ve had…

Arab Community Event Flyer - Integration & Social Media

Arab Community Integration Event

I come from no country, from no city, no tribe. I am the son of the road… all tongues and all prayers belong to me. But I belong to none of them.  I suggested the above quote, from Lebanese writer Amin Maalouf, to add to an event I’ll be taking part of next weekend: How Social Media is Changing the Arab Community Integration in London and the UK…

ASEA: Collaboration, Unity, A Space In Between

Week 8: Collaboration, unity, a space in between At the final session in the last week of October, we meet at P21 gallery and work in the space that the exhibition will be held. We are joined by two artists and Tara. During introductions the group are asked to think of an image from nature. They respond with sea, sun, hailstones, wind, tree, mud in the riverbed, an…

ASEA: Art, Love

Weeks 5 & 6: Art, Love In weeks 5 and 6 we engage in guided meditations as a means to flow into creative art work. In week 5, we begin by working in pairs to check-in with our partner what we have been processing and reflect upon over the first half of the project. We return to the group and choose a colour representing ourselves in that moment….

ASEA: Power, Oppression

Week 4: Power and Oppression At the fourth session, the group is now closed to new members and we are able to spend more time playing and moving in warm-ups. We play English, French and Gazan versions of Grandmother’s footsteps. In Gaza we discover that it is named after Handala, the cartoon refugee child who is always turned away from the viewer. The game symbolises elements of the…

ASEA: Journeys and Conflicts

Week 3: Journeys, Conflict In week 3 we cover our journeys from childhood, teenage years, young adulthood and adulthood and the conflicts we faced along the way. The young men and women unite over themes which arise for all of them: God, religion, sexuality, family and peer pressure, bullying, pleasing people, home, identity and making decisions about their future. We discuss the older and younger generations and their…

Arab Spring, English Autumn (ASEA)

September 2014 Week 1-2: Introductions, Definitions How do we make sense of our experience of connection to the Middle East whilst living at a distance from it in the UK? This was the principle question which brought forth the creative-therapeutic project, Arab Spring, English Autumn (ASEA). Tara and I discussed the possibility of a project for young people of Middle Eastern origin, living in the UK. The aim…

Tarek's second visit saw the parents and children take more responsibility over their appearances, and how they might like to be perceived.

Wrapping-up on-the-ground

Officially, fieldwork for IamResilience Lebanon is now over, and I am preparing to head back to the UK in a few days. Creative-therapeutic workshops finished over a week ago, and last week saw four main activities at the camp, which intended to help wrap-up to prepare the community (and the project team) for the project’s end. Wall Mural A collaborative effort between Naked Wagon, LoYAC Lebanon, CCECS and Meryna…

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Support Network

And so I fell off the blogpost wagon, but with one week left of IamResilience Lebanon, I want to share a few words, particularly on the topic of support. Volunteers I gave a short and informal presentation about IamR’s current work to Lebanese youth organisation LoYAC, after a friend, Suad Amin-Jarrar, put me in touch to potentially invite more volunteers to help in the second cycle of works….

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Because you’re worth it!

Well into our second work cycle of IamResilience Lebanon with creative-therapeutic workshops starting again tomorrow, taking onboard participant feedback (children and parents alike) to build on the work we have already began. This last week has been preparatory bit and pieces, from fishing more volunteers out (we’ve two and potentially more coming onboard), finding ways to share this pilot project’s experiences with others (talking presentations, publications and training) as well as meeting…