Over 2023’s February half term, CAN Young Artists, together with four workshop artist facilitators and CAN’s Creative Producer Michelle Udogu were part of a new creative programme – Without Borders – over four afternoons.
The project was hosted by The Manchester College in its new performing arts studio on its campus in the Green Quarter.
Eighteen young people and five Manchester College students from Greater Manchester participated in the project.
Young people came from refugee and asylum seeker backgrounds and the city’s host communities. Young people have roots in countries including Sudan, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Egypt, Pakistan, Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan, Syria, Hong Kong, and the UK.
The group used art forms including samba drumming, percussion, dance and movement, drama, physical theatre, and photography to explore the themes of happiness and freedom in a supportive environment.
CAN Young Artists worked with Jade Williams, a dance and movement artist; Emma Marsh, music and percussion artist; Valeriia Lukianets, drama and physical theatre artist; and photographer, Shirlaine Forrest.
The project used individual and group responses about freedom and happiness to devise, a piece of work in a short window of time, which was shared in the college’s 70-seater studio with an invited audience of family and friends. The sharing was stage managed by Stacey Potter.
“I really enjoyed the music and the song we made for our own freedom.”
The sharing included a song chant.
“I feel free
behind a drum
dancing on stage
in my bedroom
on my bed
when I sing
when I play football
on the moors
when I mould clay
when I read books
when I sleep”
We were delighted with the feedback from the group.
“Coming together and creating what was an amazing opportunity and such a fun day.”
Manchester College student
“Me being a transgender woman, I need more confidence to grow and socialise with other people of my age, learning new things. These things I found in this amazing project. Thank you.”
Photograph: Shirlaine Forrest.