Glasgow groups shares stories of migration and integration

Story in a poem post-it

Community worker Pinar Aksu from Migrant Voice talks about their recent project ‘Story in a Poem’ which brought together migrants and non-migrants in Glasgow to use creative tools to tell their stories and experiences of migration.

 Our 'Story in a Poem' project started in May. Working with Maryhill Integration Network, we brought together people from different backgrounds to learn creative tools to tell their stories and experiences of migration, community and integration. 

The group, consisting of people from Pakistan, Eritrea, Syria and Scotland, met every couple of weeks to take part in a series of ten creative workshops focussing on different themes. Here they learned storytelling, creative writing, public speaking and other creative ways to tell their stories.

Creative workshop facilitator Sarah Stewart joined us for our first two sessions to get participants thinking about what makes a home and what community means.

Scottish writer Denise Mina then delivered a creative writing workshop focussing on movement and migration at which people spoke about their journeys to the UK and the dangers they faced.

Tawona from Seeds of Thoughts poetry and arts group used music and storytelling methods to explore the theme of diversity, while Marzanna Antoniak encouraged the group to share their personal experiences of living in Glasgow. It was interesting to hear that many of them love the rain!

Participants captured their experiences and thoughts by writing poems and then learned how to present them in public from scriptwriter and spoken word artist Cat Hepburn. Finally, with the help of video director and editor Vilte Vaitkute and photographer Karen Gordon we produced podcasts and a final film as a way to document the project.

We can learn a lot by listening to people’s different experiences of migration and the hopes they carry with them. And we’re looking forward to sharing the group’s poems and other work after Migrant Voice’s conference on 21 January at Glasgow Caledonian University.

In the meantime, here is a preview of two poems created by one of our participants:

Here to There

You face torture in your country,

you never know if you are going to survive or die.

Smugglers treat you like animals,

like objects.

He beats us like them.

You know his problem,

He doesn't have money,

that's why he's like this.

A lot of friends die in the journey.

If you don't feel hope,

they kill themselves.

They make you live with 40 people,

for a month.

But you don't know this,

The worse comes.

When you arrive in Italy,

you see the days

and reborn.


Our planet should be one country,

without borders.

Full of peace and love.

I give it a thought,

we should be one.

Regardless of our colours and borders,

we should share the resource

of this beautiful planet without hatred.

I am stuck,

I hope once all humans unite and sing love

and harmony as one beautiful creature. 

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