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Collaboration sees Cambridge Regional College students gain Arts Award

Cambridge Regional College collaborates with Kettle’s Yard on a project funded by Cambridge City Council and supported by Cambridgeshire County Council, North Cambridge Community Partnership and Arts Council England.

A group of unaccompanied asylum-seeking young people, under the care of the Looked After Children (LAC) team at Cambridge Regional College, have spent the last 6 months working on the project called Here/Now. The project, commissioned by Kettle’s Yard was delivered with the expertise of Cambridge based artist, Anna Brownsted with support from CRC Tutor, Annie Bacon and aimed to provide an opportunity for the young people to get to know Cambridge better through exploring the city and developing a greater connection through creativity. 

Working with Anna, the young people thought about things they value being here and now in Cambridge today through participation in a range of activities including playing games, capturing photographs, creating drawings, and sharing their thoughts about their experiences. In addition, the group visited the Kettle’s Yard House and the current exhibition, The Liberty of Doubt, by artist and activist Ai Weiwei.

These experiences inspired a series of new artworks created in collaboration with Anna Brownsted that celebrate the shared feelings of support, welcome, connection and camaraderie with the local community since their arrival in Cambridge. Inspired by a universal ‘language’ of hands and gesture, they shared their feelings in the images using layered and repeated hands to reflect the landscapes of their countries of origin and their individual journeys to the UK.

Jeni Prettyman, ESOL Course Leader said, “This project has been a wonderful opportunity for our LAC learners in the ESOL/International department.  These young, unaccompanied asylum seekers were empowered to tell their personal stories through art, and to share these ideas with the local community. They developed their speaking, communication, and collaboration skills, and they were able to develop their IT skills through use of photography and related software. 

The learners were so engaged in, and motivated by, the project. It was wonderful to see their efforts so publicly rewarded.”

The artwork can be seen displayed on the exterior of Nuns Way Pavilion in Kings Hedges, just 5 minutes from the Cambridge Regional College Campus. In addition to the artwork, the collaboration saw the production of a short film called Sunshine England which was screened at Kettle’s Yard in the Clore Learning Studio in April.

All participants received Arts Award Discover certificates for their work, a nationally recognised qualification.

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