Without Borders: World of Music workshops for CAN Young Artists in summer 2023

Through a new partnership with Band On The Wall, we created a World Without Borders

We worked with 23 young people aged 13 – 18 from across Manchester who have roots in Iran, Eritrea, Turkey, Syria, Sudan, Ukraine. Kuwait and the UK during the summer school holidays.

The project was a space where CAN Young Artists could experiment with music, drama, and visual arts in the World Of Music learning suite at Band On The Wall, one of the UK’s best-loved music venues.

The group enjoyed samba drumming, playing instruments, including piano and guitar,  MCing, singing solo and collectively, photography and drama. Some young people had been part of CAN’s young people’s projects before, whilst others were taking part in a CAN project for the very first time. Participating in a creative project was a new experience for some of the group.

“I got to be creative and play the instrument with everyone.”


“I played instruments that I never played before.”


“I liked playing music and games, and I liked being creative with music.”


The project was produced by Michelle Udogu, CAN’s Creative Producer, who recruited and managed four young emerging workshop artists from Manchester, some of whom had lived experience of forced migration.

The new emerging workshop artists were Emma Marsh, who led Samba drumming and percussion; Val Lukianets, who led the young people’s work in drama and supported group cohesion, Meduulla, who led the MCing and lyric writing workshops; and Jade Williams, who helped the curation of visual art and stage-managed the final sharing.  Not forgetting Shirlaine Forrest, who led photography for the project and with whom CAN has a long-standing relationship as she photographs our events.

The project culminated with a sharing on the stage at Band On The Wall’s Café bar, which brought friends and family together.  The sharing got a very warm reception.

The workshops and the final sharing built young people’s confidence, and it was a time for people to come together and celebrate their creativity. 14 Young people showcased their work in a historic music venue, and it was another opportunity to develop performance and musicality in a creative space in the city.

“I played a song that I never played in front of anyone.”


“I haven’t played the piano for one year, and you gave me the opportunity to play with Nazar. “


“It was an amazing group of young people and artists who supported the group. The group played multi-instrumentation, devised, and created meaningful pieces reflective of their communities, cultures and skills. It was a pleasure to see them shine throughout the week.”

Michelle Udogu, CAN Creative Producer

“Keep going with this work step by step.”


The photographic backdrop to the live stage performance was created through the visual art pieces the group developed during the project. The group curated media images, which reflected their positive feelings about home and homelands, people, the senses of sound and smell, and the natural environment.

We were delighted to work in partnership with Band On The Wall

“It’s very inviting. I love the variety of music and hearing everyone’s talent.”

Alice, Project Manager at Band On The Wall 

Photography by Shirlaine Forrest







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