Sunday 29 October 2023

Not to be missed - photos of Cornish flower pickers at The Box in Plymouth

The wonderful venue The Box in Plymouth is featuring some of Tom Pilston's photographs of flower pickers in Cornwall - taken as part of our project I PACKED THIS MYSELF, which throws a spotlight on the workers from overseas in Cornwall, who play such a vital role in the local economy.

Click here for more about The Box's Dutch Flowers exhibition -  open Tuesday to Sunday from 10am-5pm and selected bank holidays until 7 January 2024.

The exhibition explores the development of Dutch flower painting from its beginnings in the early 1600s to its blossoming in the late 1700s. The engagement space at the gallery features Tom Pilston's photos, taken as part of our 'I Packed This Myself' project, which explores the experiences of migrant workers making journeys to the UK and the pressures on local communities.

Monday 15 May 2023

Learning about a refugee's life - and Arabic


A morning (15 May 2023) in brilliant sunshine at Madron Primary School in west Cornwall - talking about a refugee's life and learning a few words of Arabic.
A stunning view overlooking Mount's Bay from the playground in this tiny school - scooters lined up here in the bike rack. Rawda Alater spoke about her life in Syria and subsequent experience of the UK in Truro. She arrived about six years ago as a refugee from Syria, and has now gained British citizenship. Children asked about the differences between Syria and Cornwall - in particular, the food the religion and the weather!
Rawda very kindly wrote children's names in Arabic and we learned how to say 'Hello', How are you?' 'Thank you' and 'Goodbye' in her language. To welcome any new students who might arrive from an Arabic-speaking country.

This is part of I PACKED THIS MYSELF, our project funded by Cornwall Council. We are working to break down prejudice and increase understanding of people from different backgrounds - from overseas - who have come to Cornwall to live and work. 

Friday 12 May 2023

A celebration cream tea in Cornwall

 A wonderful afternoon at the Hall for Cornwall to round off this season's THROUGH MY LENS workshops. A splendid cream tea - and a chance to meet the Royal Cornwall Hospital's Communications Team member Adrian Pennington, who is going to make a film about our workshops and the photos taken. Watch this space for more.

In the meantime, we simply enjoyed the time together - and seeing each other again.  A huge thank you to the Hall for Cornwall for arranging such a feast - and also for allowing us to venture into the theatre and have a photograph taken on the stage. It was the first time many - me included - had been backstage. High spirits on a sunny Friday in Truro as we waved 'Hello' to Cornwall (see above).

Very many thank yous to all involved- not least to photography tutor Mike Newman who worked so hard to make this project happen. The Hall for Cornwall for welcoming us in the cafe and theatre. The Royal Cornwall Museum and Penlee House, Penzance, for allowing us to visit and take photographs.

Biggest thanks of all, though, are due to our keen photographers who took time out of demanding and busy schedules at the hospital to join us and learn a little more about Cornwall.

Just a few comments today:

"I learned a lot during this activity, especially the rich history of Cornwall."

"The most exciting part for me was when we went to Penzance. Aside from the photography session, we were able to have a bond over coffee, and a small chit chat outside our workplace made us happy."

"I hope there will be more workshops as these are a breather for us."


Friday 24 March 2023

International nurses photograph Penzance

 Our sixth workshop with international NHS workers at the Royal Cornwall Hospital, Treliske, took us to Penzance. We were unlucky with the weather! But escaped the rain at Penlee House Gallery where we saw familiar paintings. Some depicted scenes we later photographed when the sun (just) started to shine!

Our new project - Through My Lens - throws a spotlight on the people who work so hard for the NHS - and save our lives. Click here to read about our workshop in Falmouth. And here to see how we started off in Truro.  We're planning a short film and exhibition of photographs produced.

A big thank you to Katie Herbert at Penlee House Gallery for welcoming our visit.

Thursday 9 March 2023

Learning about Syrian - and Arabic - in Penznce

 A wonderful day today at St Mary's Primary School, Penzance, with Rawda Alater originally from Syria, who came to the UK as a refugee about six years ago. Rawda told students (of all ages) how it was to experience war, and have to leave your own country. She answered questions - however difficult - about missing her family and life in the UK.

Children learned how to say yes, no, hello and thank you in Arabic - so that if an Arabic speaker came to the school they could at least try and make contact. Rawda explained that this would have made a huge difference to her when she arrived in Truro.

Rawda also wrote children's names in Arabic. This was very popular!

Everyone had language postcards to take home to practise phrases once school had ended....

Mirabela at the Cornwall Equalities and Diversity Network

  So delighted that Mirabela Robatzchi - part of our team since before Covid - was able to attend the most recent meeting of the Cornwall Equalities and Diversity Network.  Mirabela has worked so hard on our project about migration and international workers in Cornwall  - I PACKED THIS MYSELF. So it was absolutely right that she should make the presentation. And it was a good one!

In summary:

I Packed This Myself/Migration - Mirabela

 Presentation of latest update from Bridging Arts as requested in previous meeting.

Mirabela Robatzchi (MR) works on project with Susan (Roberts).

 “I packed this myself” started as a discussion about migration

 More people on the move than ever and more than ever coming to Cornwall. Aim of

project to break down prejudice around those coming to live and work in Cornwall

and increase importance of role played by those born overseas who live and work


 Migrant workers previously came for things such as daffodil picking – now in

hospitality, care workers and range of other areas which need work force in Cornwall

 Suitcases – find out from migrant workers what they would take with them in their

suitcase that shows something about their heritage, choices etc. Slides shown which

revealed what people had packed.

 Art showing range of issues raised was presented. Exhibits have been used in school

and assemblies to discuss with children (y2 – y6). This was to try and explain this to

children who may comprehend better and relay information or findings to their own

families. Secondary schools not as successful.

 Used cards with basic phrases in English and Portuguese, Romanian etc. to aid


 Asked children what they would take if you had to make a long journey, to open the

discussion. Went very well with children interacting fully and designed their own

‘suitcases’ with what they would take. Also, how would it make you feel?

 Watched video on link. The Welcome Song video was taken at summer camp as

diverse group of children in attendance and Susan from Bridging Arts

 Project continues to run. Susan tried secondary schools

but not receptive. Would need to be part of a curriculum session rather than

assembly. Mirabela has a history in conflict resolution in adolescents and it would

assist in avoiding conflicts which arise from racism in Cornwall. This would then

support the fight against bullying in schools and also encourage children to be aware

of others and awareness of a need for equality.

Sunday 5 March 2023

Monday 27 February 2023

Cutting cauliflower in Cornwall


It's the time of year when fields in west Cornwall are filled with workers cutting cauliflowers and picking daffodils... This is hard and back-breaking work - particularly on wet and/or frosty mornings - and is done almost uniquely from workers from overseas. The industry couldn't continue without these international workers.

Friday 24 February 2023

Photography workshop in Truro with international nurses

 A wonderful workshop yesterday in Truro, Cornwall, with international nurses from the Royal Cornwall Hospital, Treliske. Many have not been here for many months, so this was a great introduction to the city - led by our photography tutor Mike Newman.  Thank you Hall for Cornwall for providing such a splendid cream tea (what an introduction to Cornish cuisine!) and allowing us to visit the theatre.

A full report on

Thursday 2 February 2023

Photography workshops with international nurses working in Truro


A cold but inspiring afternoon in Falmouth last week when international nurses from the Royal Cornwall Hospital, Truro, joined us for a photography workshop led by Mike Newman. Stills of the photographers in action by Caleb Giddens.

This is part of our project I PACKED THIS MYSELF, funded by Cornwall Council and aimed at breaking down prejudice and increasing understanding of the people from overseas who play a vital role in the local economy and our lives.
The photography workshops are funded through Magic Little Grant through the partnership between Localgiving and Postcode Society Trust.  Postcode Society Trust is a grant-giving charity funded by players of the People’s Postcode Lottery. Localgiving is the UK’s leading membership and support network for local charities and community groups.

Thursday 12 January 2023

Cristingle messages with a difference

We were delighted to work with Penlee Cluster to develop Cristingle materials with a difference this year. The cut-out birds carrying messages of peace and goodwill in different languages - welcoming people from overseas to Cornwall - were created by children in schools in Penzance, west Cornwall, and surrounding areas this past Christmas (2022).  Click here to read more.

Support Us

Bridging Arts depends on grants and charitable donations. To support us, click here.