Each year, the Art Collection’s exhibitions, events and workshops are directly inspired by the research of the University. This year the focus is on refugees and migration, under the umbrella title ‘Experiences of Exile’.
'Unpacked: Home from Home' is a collaboration between the University Art Collection, artist Brigid Collins, women who fled Syria who are now settled in Falkirk and Stirling, and students of the Creative Writing MLitt at Stirling. Designed as a platform for storytelling, the inspiration for the installation piece, in this case, is the hope of unpacking individual stories of refugee experience and doing so in community.
Together, the group created a series of “Postcard Books” contained within one suitcase and which themselves each contain collages and text - pieces of thoughts and memories – which, while fragmentary in nature, proved nonetheless significant for having made one feel lighter by having become expressed. Each of the books holds individual meaning and those displayed here have been developed within a safe space in order to convey a collective story.
The Syrian participants used the opportunities for conversation and the writing aspects of the project to strengthen their English. Writing prompts and multimedia collage made space for creative reflection in community with other women in Scotland on the experience of being uprooted from home, the trauma of cultural and geographical dislocation, and the challenges and rewards of attempting to make a new home, here in the Forth Valley. Many stories of home-leaving and home-making together raise a city on stilts, a witness to both vulnerability and resilience.