6 Questions for Refugee Women Connect’s Digital Content and Artistic Co-Ordinator

What does the role of Digital Content and Artistic Co-Ordinator involve?

My role is incredibly varied! My job consists of creating social media content, assisting with fundraising campaigns and co-ordinating and facilitating any art sessions or partnerships that we are working on but can also include general admin tasks. I maintain our social networks these include, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Youtube, Linkedin and we have a Tik Tok account!

Can you tell us about the art sessions that Refugee Women Connect runs?

We started running art sessions as part of Mental and Wellbeing programme and led an art and crafts group at our ‘Wellbeing Wednesday’ group. We then started a smaller group which focused on finding creative ways to improve mental health, in particular looking to improve self esteem. When lockdown began we moved online, in February we were able to restart face to face art sessions. We ran a 12 week programme at Granby Winter Gardens and hosted an exhibition called 'Empowering Women With Art' with the work the women created. We had an incredible response to the work that was displayed.

We're currently running an 'Art for wellbeing' programme holding sessions within our Mental Health Group and our weekly drop-in.


How did you adapt your services to cope with lockdown?

At the beginning of lockdown I struggled to adapt, I’m very practical person and I love getting all the messy arts and crafts materials out, we had to be even more creative in thinking of ways to run art activities online. We began with a Whatsapp group and had regular photo prompts, we’d encourage women to send in photos they'd taken on their daily walk or images they'd found online. We also ran zoom drawings sessions, as a group we would look at inspiration from Pinterest and draw our own pictures whilst online together. We ensured women were able to access the session by providing credit for data and sent out art materials.

To celebrate Refugee Week last year we used several of the drawings from the sessions and turned them into prints which can be bought on our website Shop | Refugee Women Connect

Last summer as restriction began to ease, we had several Art in the Park sessions around the city.


In your experience how have the art sessions helped the women you work with?

When language is a barrier, art creates an opportunity to express yourself without using words. We welcome women to join us whether this is the first time they’ve picked up a pencil since they were a child or they are skilled artists and have studied art in their home countries. We create a safe space where women can enjoy learning new skills, be creative and are able to socialise and spend time together. We want to encourage the women to be proud of their art, we may all have different skills and abilities, but we are all able to create something in that session. The women we work with come from all different backgrounds and many have qualifications and are skilled in different areas. We’ve had artists, architects, engineers, seamstresses and jewellery makers all join sessions.

Many women who’ve attended have shared how the sessions have given them an opportunity to relax and served as a distraction from things they have got going on in their lives.

We want to help women to use art as a coping strategy and a tool for when they are feeling overwhelmed and stressed.

Can you tell us one of the highlights of your job?

One of the highlights of my job is seeing the difference that having a creative outlet can have in the women’s lives. Many women have shared how the time they spend drawing/painting/doing arts and crafts allows them to switch off, it’s a distraction from stress in their life and gives them a moment to relax. Throughout lockdown we ran Zoom drawing sessions, we also had a Whatsapp where we’d share drawings from that week, and it was lovely to see the women encouraging and complimenting each other and really developing their confidence as artists. I love it when women tell me they’ve put their artwork on the wall in their homes because they are proud of what they’ve created!


What’s next?

We’re looking how we can develop our art programme.

Our first solo exhibition Empowering Women with Art was a huge success, and we’d love to do more exhibitions, collaborating with different organisations, in different venues. We’d also love to develop the skills of the women involved.

It’s still early days but we are really excited about the possibilities! Liverpool has an incredible art scene and there are so many great opportunities.


If you would like to get in contact with Bex regarding art opportunities, art supplies, you are part of a creative community or just want to connect send her an email at [email protected]