About Write Here: Sanctuary

During 2016-17 Writing East Midlands worked in partnership with Cities of Sanctuary , Nottingham, Leicester and Derby, to deliver three very successful writing residencies.

Kevin Fegan with participants at Write Here: Sanctuary Derby

Kevin Fegan with participants at Write Here: Sanctuary Derby

Our hope was to contribute to a culture of welcome and inclusion for refugees, asylum seekers and new arrivals by creating safe spaces for creative expression.

Sanctuary offered a safe place for recently arrived groups from Eastern Europe, the Middle East and North Africa to express themselves through writing. They worked with aspiring writers from local communities to share in spoken word, story­ telling and creative writing activities with refugee groups.

Bespoke writer­-led programmes took place across 45 sessions over 10 months in each city.   Participants to drew on their lives, experiences, changing environments and literary cultures to build their confidence in using English.

As part of this inspiring project, we’ve held showcases as part of Literary Festivals in Nottingham, Derby and Leicester, and published two books: Riding on Solomon’s Carpet, an anthology of work from writers across all three cities, and our Toolkit: a practical guide to running creative writing workshops with refugees and asylum seekers.  The Toolkit was written by Rich Goodson and has been developed with writers and participants of the Write Here: Sanctuary project. You can download a copy of the Toolkit <HERE> or if you’d like a booklet version please drop Aimee an email on aimee@writingeastmidlands.co.uk.

Write Here: Sanctuary is an ongoing LitLab project that aims to explore and articulate what difference creative writing can make to the social inclusion of refugees in the UK, particularly with reference to the impact on the health and well being of vulnerable groups.We hope to better understand the best approach to adopt in working with transient groups, with particular reference to the difficulties such groups face in accessing the arts, and in working with people of mixed countries of origin and cultures. Such findings will be collated into a best practice toolkit which will then be used as an advocacy document and disseminated to other organisations interesting in building work in this area.


Write Here: Sanctuary is delivered by Writing East Midlands in partnership with City of Sanctuary and Nottingham Women’s Cultural Exchange. It is funded by Arts Council England, the Paul Hamlyn Foundation and the Rayne Foundation.

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