Emma Daker: Story Meadow: Tales of Migration to Birmingham

GMT 16:00 Wednesday ,18 December 2013

 Migrant Voice - Emma Daker: Story Meadow: Tales of Migration to Birmingham

Emma Daker

“As an immigrant to Birmingham myself, I thoroughly enjoyed seeing how much the city appreciates the different backgrounds and cultures we come from.” During the last week of November visitors to the new Library of Birmingham shared 1258 stories and drawings of migration to the UK’s second city. Birmingham craft organisation Craftspace, along with lead-artist Jivan Astfalck, Shelanu: Women’s Craft Collective and MA students from the School of Jewellery invited library visitors to contribute to an artwork which celebrated the contribution of migration to Birmingham. Part of the library’s Discovery Season, the project evolved over a week into a visual metaphor encompassing diverse experiences and positive stories of migration. Visitors to the library were invited to take a moment of reflection in the busy environment to write down, in their first language if possible, their experience of coming to, or being in Birmingham. Any Brummies taking part were asked their opinion on the contribution migration makes to the city; “Incredibly moving project – I never thought that telling my own undramatic story of moving to Birmingham could mean so much to me. It made me realise why this is my home.” MA students and Shelanu members then helped everyone to make the paper into origami flowers which became part of the ‘Story Meadow’ within the Discovery Pavilion. The stories were shared as they were written, on Flickr and Twitter, building a following for the installation as it grew. This use of social networking contributed to raising awareness of the positive contribution by migrants to the city. As the week went on the Discovery Space became home to a meadow of hundreds of stories which reflect the diversity of the city. The sharing of such personal stories and experiences was incredibly moving. Over 40 languages were recorded in the making of Story Meadow.  The installation at the end of the week was both poignant and inspiring as each flower represented someone’s story and as a whole the constructive impact migration makes. “Very interesting idea and I think this will highlight the positive contribution migration has made to Birmingham and the UK as a whole.” When the residency finished, all the flowers were carefully moved from the installation to the library shelves. Craftspace is currently working with the Library of Birmingham to organise an event in January to share the stories further. There will be an open invitation to come and hear some of the stories before taking away a flower. Anyone who comes will be asked, in exchange for a flower to let us know where the flower goes. This will ensure the migration stories spread throughout the city and possibly further afield, with their final destinations shared online.   Links: Craftspace: www.craftspace.co.uk Jivan Astfalck: http://bcu.academia.edu/jivanastfalck School of Jewellery: www.schoolofjewellery.co.uk/ MA Course: www.bcu.ac.uk/biad/jewellery/courses/jewellery-silversmithing-and-related-products-ma Shelanu: www.shelanucollective.co.uk Library of Birmingham: www.libraryofbirmingham.com/ Discovery Season: www.capsule.org.uk/project/library-of-birmingham-opening-season/ Flickr: www.flickr.com/photos/craftspace/sets/72157637375580656/ Craftspace Twitter: #storymeadow https://twitter.com/search?q=%23storymeadow&src=typd


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