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Traces: Stories of Migration. Exploring the impact of a participatory art project on the identity, sense of belonging and self-development of first and second-generation migrants

Orta, Lucy and Fulton, Natasha (2024) Traces: Stories of Migration. Exploring the impact of a participatory art project on the identity, sense of belonging and self-development of first and second-generation migrants. Other. University of the Arts London. (Unpublished)

Type of Research: Report
Creators: Orta, Lucy and Fulton, Natasha

While the primary aim of participatory art is not explicitly therapeutic, studies have revealed that participants derived indirect benefits from these artistic events and groups, as evidenced in both community and research contexts (Tsekleves et al. 2018). Thus, participatory art, without the need for trained therapists, emerges as a potentially more accessible tool for enhancing the mental health of individuals who have experienced migration. Accordingly, this research delves into the impact of participatory art on the well-being and self-concept of first and second-generation migrants. The study is situated within the framework of Traces: Stories of Migration, a socially engaged practice research project conducted in three phases; community engagement, responsive portraits, and the exhibition of the resulting artefacts. It was led by artist and researcher Lucy Orta in partnership with University of the Arts London’s Portal Centre for Social Impact and Centre for Sustainable Fashion; and funded by Arts Council England, The Portal Trust, and Foundation for Future London.

Conducted in three community centres in the boroughs of Newham and Tower Hamlets in east London, the engagement phase of the project aimed to bring together the memories and experiences of first- and second-generation migrants through the creative medium of textiles and the making of artefacts termed the Story Cloth. The primary goal was to investigate how cloth and stitch could creatively express and celebrate the diverse cultural and social experiences of migrant communities. The project proposed oral and visual mapping, text-based storytelling and textile-based practice in group settings with trained facilitators as its main methods, where participants shared personal narratives and textile knowledge, ultimately creating unique Story Cloths that figuratively or conceptually depicted familial or personal migration experiences. Rooted in the multicultural history of east London, especially the East End Rag Trade, the project sought to provide a positive space for individuals to engage in a meaningful art activity, connect with their communities, and express thoughts and emotions associated with positive places. The present research specifically seeks to explore how Traces: Stories of Migration influenced the well-being and identity of the first- and second-generation migrants who took part by delving into an exemplary social engaged and participatory art project grounded in psychological literature, this exploratory study contributes to understanding how the participatory art methods employed by Orta can positively impact the well-being of migrant communities without necessarily addressing difficult or traumatic memories.

Official Website: https://www.sustainable-fashion.com/traces-stories-of-migration
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Keywords/subjects not otherwise listed: Participatory art, migration
Publisher/Broadcaster/Company: University of the Arts London
Your affiliations with UAL: Colleges > London College of Fashion
Research Centres/Networks > Centre for Sustainable Fashion
Research Projects > Lucy Orta
Date: April 2024
Funders: Arts Council England, Portal Trust, Foundation for Future London
Date Deposited: 29 May 2024 09:03
Last Modified: 08 Jul 2024 15:55
Item ID: 21823
URI: https://ualresearchonline.arts.ac.uk/id/eprint/21823

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