What came out of making welcome banners?

Welcome banner in the making. (c) Jan Nimmo

Iranian visual artist Paria Goodarzi has spent April making welcome banners with children from Glasgow for this year’s Refugee Week Scotland

Blog by Paria Moazemi Goodarzi

I am pleased that I am a part of Refugee Week Scotland this year, which will be my second year working for the festival. This year I am involved in the Welcome Banner workshops and competition for primary schools, working with school children to make banners expressing welcome to refugees to Scotland.

We have been running these workshops with primary 6 and 7 pupils in the Glasgow area, teaching them the techniques and beginning the process of making big welcome banners with them. Following the introduction workshops, the classes were to continue their work and finish up their banners in time for Refugee Week Scotland 2014.

Flags from all over the world are to be found in the welcome banners. (c) Jan NimmoAt the beginning of the workshops I was worried that maybe I couldn’t make a connection with the children because I am not a native English speaker myself, but they have been so friendly, and we have had such a nice time together.

It has been a great opportunity for me to teach them how they can make collages about and for people who come from different cultures, religions and physical appearances. It has also given me the chance to work in a different environment with a wide raWelcome banner in the making. (c) Jan Nimmonge of children.

I have had fun and enjoyed to work with them, and it has been really great to see that the children already have positive views about asylum seekers and refugees, and seeing how they support the students who have just started learning the English language. 

But for me the most important part of the project has been to work with and learn from Jan Nimmo, the artist who has facilitated the workshops.

I would like to thank her and Suzi Simpson, who gave me this great time and opportunity to engage with people in my society.

Saying 'welcome to Scotland' of course includes thistles. (c) Jan NimmoAnd I am looking very much forward to see finished banners, when they are revealed during Refugee Week Scotland at Glasgow Film Theatre on Wednesday 18 June at 10.15am preceding a FREE screening of E.T. for the primary schools. At this event the participating classes will be awarded certificates and prizes and the winning banner will be announced.


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