Open Doors and Hull Afro Caribbean workshops groups © Siddi Majubah

Absolutely Cultured and Artlink Hull collaborate to offer communities creative workshops

Arts organisations Absolutely Cultured and Artlink have joined forces to work with communities and deliver creative workshops in Hull.

Workshops are taking place over ten weeks with four groups, the Hull Afro Caribbean Men’s Group, Open Doors, The Warren Youth Project and Welcome House. Artists are working in residence with established communities and the workshops have been made possible by Esmée Fairbairn Foundation funding.

Artist, ceramicist and photographer Jennifer Holtridge is working with The Warren’s LGBT+ Shout group, which comprises 16-25 year olds, delivering a series of pottery workshops.

At Hull and East Riding asylum seeker and refugee support organisation Welcome House, printer Fraser Briggs is running a series of t-shirt printing workshops alongside volunteer artists Richard Lees, Marie Lofthouse, Jane Stow and Wendy Bennett. Printing equipment provided to participants will remain at Welcome House for future use when the project is complete.

Photographer and artist Glynis Nelson is leading workshops in illustration and photography at the Open Doors Project, which meets weekly at Princes Avenue Methodist Church and supports asylum seekers and refugees in the Hull area.

Participants at the Afro Caribbean Men’s group are working on a performance based around the African spiritual tradition of Mami Wata (Mother Water), a water spirit that must be pleased to ensure safety at sea, which also links to Hull’s maritime history. Co-ordinated by Siddi Majubah, Beats Bus co-founder Dave Okwesia is also providing writing workshops for the production, which incorporates music and drama and will initially be a radio play. These workshops are also benefiting from free rehearsal space provided by Hull Truck.

Artlink’s Director and CEO Philip Stevens said: “These workshops are giving creative opportunities to a great range of people in community settings. I’m constantly amazed to see the power of creativity to give people both pleasure and confidence. We deploy professional artists who don’t just share their skills, but also have the knack of engaging people who may not feel they have much ability and encouraging them to develop in their own way. We’re grateful to Absolutely Cultured for funding these sessions.”

Absolutely Cultured’s Creative Director Marianne Lewsley-Stier said: “We are delighted to be working in partnership with Artlink to provide a series of creative experiences that are relevant and really matter to the people in these four communities.

“In the current climate, inspiring workshops such as these are increasingly important. We are committed to offering meaningful opportunities for learning and reflection by creating space for exciting, high-quality creative experiences to happen, for everyone. We look forward to joining the participants to celebrate the work they are creating.”

So far, all of the workshops are proving very popular with participants. When the workshops conclude the work produced by each group will be celebrated at a series of events to take place in Spring 2024.