This project is about capturing our and other people's journeys and experiences as Polish migrants living in the Black Country in the form of a creative book. We want to share with you our stories of struggle, adaptation, and yearnings for home, as we navigated new lives in our surrogate country. Over the last 13 years of our existence as a Polish Supplementary School, we have collected countless amazing stories and photos of the community attending our school. We want to collate these fragments of memory and experience in the form of an exhibition available to the broader public. More importantly, we want to leave a legacy for future generations so they can continue to contribute in spreading positive messages about migration. We were only 7 when our mums took us to a Polish School as they wanted us to never forget who we are, where we came from and teach us about what really matters in life. This sense of duty and serving our community has become engraved in our hearts and minds.
What we'll deliver:
Why it's a great idea:
Creation of this book will provide great opportunities for our current and former students to get together to talk about their memories of the School, what it meant to them and how it shaped their choices in terms of further education, career and more generally- their sense of identity as migrants. It will bring people together, it will give them reasons to talk to one another, increase their sense of belonging and unity. It will help people in building their confidence and a sense of self-worth. For us as authors: gaining an invaluable experience in archival understanding of the recent Polish migrant experience whilst researching heritage, editing a book and learning about other people's perspectives. For organisation: publishing its first ever book with stories and photographs capturing 10 years of history of the school and the people who stood behind it. For wider community: sharing our stories will help in creating natural bridges, mutual understanding, and respect.
Steps to get it done:
In our view, this project has a potential of instigating far reaching changes in people's perceptions around migrant communities. We want to provide a platform for young people to voice their opinions, share their reflections and offer solutions on how to build a more cohesive, just, and harmonious society. We would like to address issues around social injustice and exclusion. We feel that this project could be a start of a series of future debates and exhibitions, whereby we would invite other communities to share their stories and encourage people to become actively involved in shaping local policies and strategies, so the sense of ownership and mutual responsibility becomes a natural thing for them. We know that our community is lacking social mobility, remains very isolated and being labelled as WHITE OTHER hard to reach, does not help itself in being fully recognised and appreciated. With this project we can highlight some important messages that deserve to be voiced.
About the space
Walsall Borough and beyond