Last week as part of the Brighton Festival a group of 12 EAL (English as an additional language) learners from Valley campus went to an artists’ studio in Kemptown to take part in a creative workshop exploring the subjects of diversity and refugees entitled ‘Your Diversity Flag’.
The Artist, Gil Maulem-Doran (himself of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern heritage) first gave a presentation of common traditional textile designs from around the world, many of which our students were able to identify. The participants were then asked to think about friends and family members from various ethnic backgrounds- the pupils had a wide range of heritages including; Polish, Bulgarian, Hungarian, Italy, Egypt, Iran and Brazil- and then pick fabric designs that reflected those places. They then worked to create their own miniature flags from these fabric collections which represent the group.
The workshop provided a great opportunity for discussion, in English, and all were able to contribute and present their flag to the group with explanations of why they identified with their chosen designs. They also discussed what a new flag for new Britain might look like if it reflected all the many cultures embraced in our community.
The workshop was held at SEAS, the Socially Engaged Art Salon, which is part of the Brighton Festival 'Art in Houses' exhibition that is open to the public this month.