Bringing people their own music, particularly in exile or displacement situations can help them feel met, understood, welcomed and more at home. Many people feel isolated and lost, having left left their home communities, migrated, fled their war-torn homelands and often their families, made incredible journeys to places of relative safety or simply new beginnings. It is difficult to rationalise why music can have such a powerful, positive effect on people, without going into the psychology behind 'critical period' music and our emotional attachment to it, but it really is extraordinary how people respond. It brings joy to lives full of sorrow, struggle and suffering, and to members of the local community who witness that, enabling people to recognise their common humanity and their similarities, rather than perceived or presumed differences and unite people from diverse backgrounds in mutual appreciate, admiration and acceptance, toward greater co-operation, integration and community cohesion. We have toured diverse communities in the UK, refugee camps in Greece, Palestine and Lebanon, singing well known and much loved Arabic songs accompanied by oud, violin, viola, cello, flute, nai, santur and percussion and communities in Germany, where we offered mixed programs of Arabic and German artsong. We would like to give more regular concerts in the UK, Europe and the Middle East and North Africa, giving formal and informal, inclusive concerts, combining songs from Arabic, European, Kurdish and Persian traditions, working with local and international musicians to try to offer something for everyone and give opportunities to displaced and migrant musicians. We have managed to acquire instruments for several young musicians from Syria who have had to leave theirs behind and did not have the means to find news ones, in order for them to get back into performing and to continue this much needed work within their host communities.
“The challenge to humanity is to adopt new ways of thinking, new ways of acting, new ways of organizing society, in short new ways of living” – UNESCO document, Our Creative Diversity
“To be able to look at something and imagine how to do it differently is the gift that frees the soul” – Joan Chittister
A stable global future depends on a fairer, safer world where all people and the earth itself can flourish. This depends on creating a global culture where people can work together across the issues and thresholds which can divide – racial, ethnic, cultural, national.
Throughout the world people are facing discrimination, exclusion, hatred and violence as a result of these differences.We work to overcome the barriers and differences which create disharmony, enabling people and groups to work creatively with difference to promote the “common good”. We work towards a world where all can flourish and this depends on the ability to respect our shared humanity, our differences and the earth – our shared home.
We believe it is imperative to develop a more compassionate and fairer world where all people can have the conditions to flourish – safety, education, adequate and fair access to physical (food and shelter), spiritual and natural resources.
Our actions are rooted in faith be it in human nature, religious tradition or the future as well spiritual principals which recognise and value the underlying connections between all people and the earth. We recognise that the consciousness and actions of one affects the whole, often in unseen ways. Therefore, in all we do we aim (to the best of our ability!) to align ourselves with the greater good of the whole.
The biggest obstacle to this is fear and to promote a world of flourishing for all we need to overcome fear, starting with ourselves so that we can work from a place of inner harmony.
To achieve our work we believe it is necessary to integrate heart, mind and hands and join with others, recognising and respecting our common humanity, the longing for peace, security and flourishing and our planet. We have a particular focus on working creatively with both our strengths and weaknesses, integrating them creatively into working for our aims.
“Art transcends language and culture, and can be a powerful tool for health, wellbeing and personal growth. It has been used as a non-verbal method of communication for thousands of years. The Creative Arts are becoming more widely recognised as an effective way to improve and maintain mental health and wellbeing, build resilience, ease the discomfort of medical conditions and as a gentle method of dealing with personal trauma, among others. We have been working with art as a tool for health since 2010, using creativity to resolve issues, change perspectives, and support goal-setting and personal growth. Group sessions are bespoke and take the form of experiential workshops, offering a gently supported experience of using art, for self-development or in a lightly therapeutic context, often working with specific themes and issues (e.g integrating community groups, social skills, anxiety reduction, addictions, working through trauma, sharing memories, enhance confidence and self-esteem, positive growth, developing goals, enhancing creativity). Groups have included marginalised groups (the homeless, abused and trafficked women, refugees), key support workers and team development.
We aim to work with our partners, using art in conjunction with music to support healing and create positive, creative experiences which nourish and enhance wellbeing, while supporting and enabling creative growth within communities. “
Catriona Alderton *Transpersonal Art Counsellor, Havening Techniques Practitioner, Emmett Technique Practitioner*Artist *MBACP (British Association of Counsellors and Psychotherapists) Member no: 654377