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.

Friday, 11 November 2022

Another Arabic language - and culture - workshop in Falmouth

  Back at Falmouth Primary School today for a further assembly and classroom workshops in Arabic with the wonderful Rawda Alater, who arrived in Truro from Lebanon and Syria about six years ago.

There are several native Arabic speakers at the school and they helped today.  Here is a Syrian student in Year 6 having a conversation with a classmate - a few easy phrases that the native English speaker learned in minutes. 

We had our Arabic language postcards to hand out - and we realised that some children had been practising overnight with siblings we had worked with yesterday.  

It was wonderful to see the children's enthusiasm - and eagerness to learn.

Thursday, 10 November 2022

Learning about Syria - and Arabic - in Falmouth


A valuable morning at Falmouth Primary School in west Cornwall this morning with the wonderful Rawda Alater, who spoke about her life in Syria and her subsequent experience in the UK. She answered children's questions - and even taught a bit of Arabic.

In at least two classes there were Arabic speakers. In one, a child from Saudi Arabia spoke no English at all and was delighted to be able to chat with Rawda. As the rest of us listened, we realised what it must feel like to be 'the one' who doesn't understand. It's a strange and disconcerting experience - and one that non-English speaking children must come up against when they first arrive here.

Rawda spoke about the difference between schools in this country and in Syria. In Syria, children don't have hot dinners at school. The opposite - they take a packed lunch of flat bread and maybe cheese. Houses don't have curtains and carpets. It's hot. Life is different.

Rawda explained how she felt when she arrived as a refugee in Truro from Lebanon, where she'd been living for five years since she left the war in Syria in 2010.

She was afraid to open the door, she said, because she didn't understand a word of English.

Together this morning we learned how to say hello, how are you! And with the help of Arabic speaking pupils, wrote a few words in Arabic on the flip chart.

Thursday, 3 November 2022

Family researchers uncover long-lost history


Nearly 106 years after her death,  a photo has been discovered of Maybelle Stoneman - one of the two young women who were killed in a factory in the National Explosives Factory, Hayle, on 20 December 1916.

The factory at the time was producing munitions for the Front and was one of the largest in the country – part of a huge war effort to manufacture much-needed ordnance. Click here to read the accident which killed four people - May Stoneman, Cissie Rogers, George Perry and James Cock.

Ray Rogers, the great nephew of Cissie Rogers and Kay Gibbons, the niece of May Stoneman, have been researching this story since we started to uncover local stories during the centenary of the end of World War One. Our website Heart of Conflict gathers together these stories.

Kay’s maiden name was Stoneman and her father was May’s younger brother, Henry James Stoneman, who emigrated to New Zealand in the 1930’s.

It is thanks to both Ray and Kay, who have formed networks with other cousins and descendants, that this photo has been uncovered.  Local communities can now learn more about this story - and see a picture of the young woman who died, something that we never imagined that we would be able to do when we started to research the story and found their grave in Phillack.  Very many thanks to Ray and to Kay, and to other descendants who have worked so hard on this.


Thursday, 20 October 2022

Teaching Romanian in Camborne

Great to be back at St John's Catholic Primary School in Camborne, west Cornwall, to teach a few phrases of Romanian - so that children could welcome any newcomers to the school who spoke no English.

Mirabela from Bucharest, who has been working with us since before the pandemic, led the assembly. And she had two willing young helpers who had arrived at the school from Romania just a couple of years earlier, themselves without any English....

We left language postcards at the school so that children could take them home to practise the phrases that they had learned.

Sunday, 2 October 2022

Saturday, 27 August 2022

A photography workshop for overseas nurses in Truro


A damp but exciting afternoon in Truro, west Cornwall, on Wednesday 24 August. Overseas nurses from the Royal Cornwall Hospital met up with Penzance-based photographer Mike Newman for a photography workshop with a difference. The nurses - here to provide an essential boost to hospital staff - had a unique and much-needed chance to meet and interact with local people - and learn some new skills at the same time.
After a few top tips from Mike and a cream tea at the Hall for Cornwall, Michael Apas, Chloe Mickelson and Ace Gonzales– all from the Philippines – ventured out despite the rain into the market to meet traders, chat and take photographs of them and their stalls.

“It’s a nice link up with nursing,” said Michael afterwards. “Nursing is not just a science, there’s art in it as well. And the same with photography - there's science alongside the art.

‘’This is something that I also learned when I was doing Interpretive Phenomenological research back home: It is that a picture could resound meaningful messages that is hard to explain. Often, we have plethora of experiences in line with our work and some of those experiences needed not to be explained but to be felt.’’

‘’This Photography session is a good avenue wherein we could enhance our ways of translating interactions to a deeper and meaningful level. Isn’t it amazing that we are all complete strangers coming from a different background and perspective, but we are unified with art? It only goes to show the power of photography and how it becomes a unifying force that could bridge the gap, and breaks the barriers of culture, language, and ethnicity.’’

Workshop leader Mike Newman agreed and was highly impressed by the results.
“I wanted you to meet people you might not normally meet,” he said to the nurses afterwards. "But also, for them to meet people they would not normally meet and chat to – you!”
There will be more photography workshops this autumn and photographs taken will be displayed in an exhibition. The workshops are part of our I Packed This Myself project - breaking down barriers and increasing  understanding of the vital role played by people born overseas in the Cornish economy – and in particular in the health service.

Support Us

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