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Material Stories

Material Stories of Migration is a collaborative arts project based in Sheffield in which migrants work creatively with local artists and researchers. We use a flexible ‘artslab’ format to spark explorations of the lived experiences of migrants from a wide range of backgrounds, opening up conversations and sharing stories of home, family, journeying and arrival.

 We begin with broad themes, for example ‘map’, ‘journey’, ‘home’, ‘story’ and ‘memory’, and responses to these emerge collaboratively, often unexpected ways.Our aim is to combine the varied skills and enthusiasms of participants with the expertise. 

A series of multimedia workshops that used poetry, painting, music and film to explore journeys to Sheffield and the relationships that asylum seekers and refugees have woven with the city. Participants and undergraduate students worked collaboratively with artists from Arts on the Run, a network that promotes cultural diversity in the arts. The workshops developed creative approaches to displacement and cultural difference as participants created pieces inspired by objects (real or imagined) that had resonance for them, either as reminders of home or markers of their arrival in and familiarity with Sheffield.