On Friday 15 March we held a celebration to mark two years of our participatory arts sessions for refugees and people seeking asylum. 

Artwork created by participants was on display at the Old Bus Depot and we heard talks from Theo Stickley, Ismail Khokon and Adam Baker. The celebration was a culmination of joy and pride as guests weaved through the art group's creations of the last 6 months. Some of the artworks included charcoal portraiture, acrylic paintings about 'home' on canvas and an abundance of photography in all forms; still life, portraiture, documentary, environmental. Our performance workshops were nodded to, with a poetry corner as well as an incredibly humorous acting performance from two participants, script written by Laurence James-Davis.

We had the pleasure of tasting the delicious food from Sam from Dosa Love. She dished up a Persian feast for all to enjoy. After eating, the dancing ensued. Participants shared their traditional dance moves and the group moved through Iran to Turkey and then to the classic song, the Macarena.

We became like family in this class

After the event, a participant told us, "I am very lucky to be a part of such a beautiful organisation.  First of all, I would like to thank my teacher İsmail, Jasmine and you Refugee Roots members who supported me and us in every way. We met you here while we were trying to survive and hold on to life by establishing new orders. We are very lucky to have a devoted and friendly teacher like İsmail. We became like family in this class. I went away for a month on New Year's Eve. When I returned from vacation and entered the classroom and saw my friends and teacher, I cannot tell you the excitement and joy I felt. Thank you all very much. I'm glad to have you. I'm glad I met you."

In the two years that the programme has been running 242 people have taken part in the sessions, which have included drawing, painting, photography, filmography, poetry, drama, screenwriting, clay, and a variety of other creative activities.

Later this year we hope to be launching a new programme of arts sessions, in collaboration with organisations around Nottingham.