Shereen Perera in a twirling skirt performing at the Manchester Day Parade, 2011

"CAN gave me a fantastic hands on approach to refugee arts. I was able to attend performances, witness exchanges and gain a real insight into the vibrant and exceptionally talented refugee and diverse communities in Greater Manchester."

Volunteer case studies – Shereen Perera

I started volunteering with CAN when I was an undergraduate at the University of Manchester studying Drama with English [BA]. My dissertation was entitled Theatre as a Tool for Community Cohesion Between Refugees & Asylum Seekers and Their Host Communities. I used the 2010 Exodus Onstage Refugee Theatre season as a case study and volunteering with CAN gave me a fantastic hands on approach to refugee arts.

I was able to attend performances, witness exchanges and gain a real insight into the vibrant and exceptionally talented refugee and diverse communities in Greater Manchester – I would not have been able to gain such a great insight by just reading textbooks!

After finishing my research I continued to volunteer with CAN as they are an exceptionally welcoming organization that really encourages you to gain as much experience as you want within community arts. I’ve done a large range of volunteering with CAN from making blindfolds to advocating the Exodus programme to dancing in a giant spinner skirt in Manchester Day Parade!

In the future I hope to go into community arts and arts management and I know that my volunteering with CAN has given me invaluable experience and put me in good stead! CAN’s aim to bring people together from diverse communities makes them a gemstone in Manchester’s cultural scene.

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