ECHOES OF THE DANCING SKY, a programme of workshops with Kestle Barton 2019
Amidst a wave of increasing national separation around issues on migration and land use, this project explored how under the surface the desire to connect is greater than the desire of separation.
Echoes of the dancing sky brought together Syrian families who have recently moved to Cornwall with other locals of the Lizard Peninsula working to explore the potential of craft and dance to weave cross-cultural connections. The process takes inspiration from the idea that ‘refuge’ is something we seek in each other and in the land, and that we are all to some extent longing for / or seeking this refuge. In this re-definition of the potential of a ‘collective refuge’, we explored ideas of ‘crafting the unknown’ using this phrase as a way to describe what it is to "hold" and craft space between people.
Local residents were invited to a series of workshops on 'migration' and refuge, in which we explored the archetypal experience of our own shared migratory roots. Participants were then invited to become part of a sacred ‘holding’ as a way of welcoming the Syrian families as gift bearers of new types of knowledge. The project was hosted on the grounds at Kestle Barton using a series of objects and collectively made artefacts..
Echoes of the dancing sky developed from an earlier project Chant of the Whaleswan
A reflection from participant:
“I would like to take a moment to express how grateful I am to have spent time with you on this year’s project at Kestle Barton— to have witnessed the power of carving out and creating a fertile space for the most honest and rich sharing to take place through story in all its varying expressions and manifestations has been an experience that will forever be etched into the walls of my heart. Stepping off the bus and into your loving arms and the equally warm embrace of the luxuriant green sanctuary that is Kestle Barton, I sensed a collective exhale from the families. Reaching out across the boundaries and norms that often keep us neatly ordered into ‘them’ and ‘us’, your project held space for the most genuine and beautiful connections to take root and blossom in an organic way through movement and play and painting and the preparation and sharing of food. As the hours passed (far too fast) and many stories were shared and tears were shed and the sound of laughter and music and play was carried across fields with the afternoon breeze I realised that people who had started the day as strangers had become a community— a rich and vibrant tapestry of humanity. The space you hold through your project is a gift, it so healing and life affirming. We need community, now more than ever, and perhaps we need it most when we have experienced harm and have been displaced from all that is familiar. Thank you for creating sanctuary... for the families…. and for all of us.”
- Project translator and Refugee families community worker