Friday 14 January 2022

A Factory Suitcase


Very good to see 'A Factory Suitcase' by the artist Ross Tibbles once more on display. It's now at Parc Eglos School in Helston, Cornwall (left). Ross created this suitcase more than ten years ago when he was a 3D design student at University College, Falmouth.  It's been on display several times over the years as we've continued work on migration and related issues.

It has an intriguing message.  Ross was inspired to create it after he worked in a cheesecake factory in Devon one summer. Most of his fellow workers spoke little English and he suddenly realised how it felt not to be able to communicate through language.  He felt extremely isolated. The suitcase on display at Penair School, Truro

“Workers from overseas often find themselves all alone, far away from family and friends whom they have left behind to try and earn more money than they could do at home," he said at the time. “Often, they speak little English and cannot understand what is being said to them - or make themselves understood."

Ross is now a self-employed graphic designer working across a mix of media and specialising in marketing, advertising, stationery and websites. He also does publication design and helped to start up The Moorlander, a newspaper reporting on Dartmoor and surrounding areas.  His portfolio site is

Our work on migration is aimed at breaking down prejudice and increasing understanding of the role played by workers from overseas in the Cornish economy. It's called I PACKED THIS MYSELF and is funded by Cornwall Council via Inclusion Cornwall.

Thursday 13 January 2022

A pop up exhibition in Helston

 At Parc Eglos Primary School, Helston, for the fourth day running this week - only in the afternoon this time, to set up a pop-up exhibition in the school hall. It's amazing what you can do using old cardboard suitcases as plinths, easels as signs for signage and brightly coloured fabric to draw the whole display together.

This display will be at the school for the next few weeks. On Friday 4 February there'll be an Open Day for parents. 

And on Thursday 27 January, well before that, we'll be there to film a dance created by students about the experience of migration - in particular leaving home and loved ones behind. They were rehearsing today as we set up and even at this early stage I had to wipe a tear from my eye!

This is part of our project I PACKED THIS MYSELF, drawing attention to the vital role played by workers from overseas in the local economy and attempting to break down prejudice against them.

This work is funded by Cornwall Council via Inclusion Cornwall. We've been delighted to work at Parc Eglos this week - Mirabela Robatzchi has brilliantly helped to deliver language workshops and assemblies.

Wednesday 12 January 2022

Three days at Parc Eglos and making progress in Romanian

 At Parc Eglos Primary School, Helston, Cornwall, again today (12/1/22) for the third day running to talk to students about migration and teach a few phrases of Romanian. The idea? So that they could welcome any new students without English to their school. It might have seemed a bit ambitious to teach Romanian in 20 minutes but it worked!
Particularly today with the older children in Years 5 and 6.

Not only did we manage to master simple phrases like 'Hello', Goodbye' and 'How are you?'. We moved on to 'Thank you' (a long word in Romanian), 'Please' and - very impressively - 'How are you feeling?' 

The boy in Year 6 who suggested this really put himself in the shoes of a newcomer to the school without any English. Very impressive.

We had some good feedback, too,  from the lovely dance teacher who visits the school every week. She also - independently - runs ballet classes in Helston and on Monday evening (after our first visit to the school) some of her young students greeted her with a little bit of Romanian - 'Hello!' 

What a good start.

Tuesday 11 January 2022

More conversation in Romanian and thoughts about packing


A second day of workshops at Parc Eglos Primary School in Helston, west Cornwall. Yesterday we worked with the early years.

This morning (11 January 2022) we worked with Year 4 students, first an assembly with the full cohort of 120 then two separate classrooms where we learned a bit of Romanian with the help of Mirabela Robatzchi from Bucharest. Mirabela and her family are now making a life for themselves in Helston but when they arrived their young son only spoke two words of English ('red' and 'cat').

Before we practised conversations in Romanian - a few simple phrases to break the ice - students asked lots of questions. How was it for Mirabela's son, aged only seven when he arrived?  Was he sad to leave Romania? Did he make friends quickly?  

Mirabela said the teachers at his school drew pictures to help him communicate - if he had a headache - or felt ill.  He did feel scared - and isolated. Language helps such a lot. 

Students also wondered what Mirabela's son might have brought with him to remind him of home. Several answers: his favourite toys. A collection of stones (a bit heavy, but precious to him!).  

They thought about what they might take with them if they had to make a long journey to build a new life - and what they might have to leave behind. Difficult choices involved, of course, particularly if pets were involved...

Tomorrow: Years 5 and 6.

This is all part of work to increase understanding and to break down prejudice against the thousands of workers from overseas who play such a vital role in the local economy. It's funded by Cornwall Council via Inclusion Cornwall and is called I PACKED THIS MYSELF.


Monday 10 January 2022

On The Move - migration assembly and workshops in Helston

Mirabela in the classroom
Mirabela in the classroom
It was great to be at Parc Eglos School in Helston today for workshops with Years 2 and 3. We ran an assembly about migration and journeys - Mirabela Robatzchi, originally from Romania, helped me brilliantly as ever. We then went into classrooms to do the apparently impossible i.e. teach a few phrases of Romanian in 20 minutes.
Could it be done? Yes, it could!

Mirabela's son had started school in Cornwall at the age of 7 without any English. The only two words he knew were 'red' and 'cat'. How it would have helped if his new schoolfriends knew just a word or two of Romanian, Mirabela said.

So we started with a few simple words: Hello, how are you? Ok! Yes. No. Thank you. Goodbye....

And it worked! We were so impressed by the students, their questions and interest - and, most importantly, the way they understood how important it was to try and communicate. 

This was part of our work to break down prejudice against people from overseas who play such a vital role in the local economy. It's funded by Cornwall Council via Inclusion Cornwall.


Setting up in the school hall beforehand

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