Dr Anna Ball, with the PAMOJA Women Together Group at Nottingham Refugee Forum.
‘And Still I Rise’ is an interdisciplinary outreach project that explores the benefit of creative activity, discussion and self-representation with the PAMOJA Women Together Group at the Nottingham Refugee Forum: a group of around 30 women and their children from a range of asylum-seeking and refugee backgrounds. The project is led by Dr Anna Ball, Senior Lecturer in English and Co-Director of the Postcolonial Studies Centre, and is run in collaboration with Nottingham Contemporary, who have hosted the group through their Education and Outreach programme. Over the course of seven weeks (May-June 2018) and working with a team of volunteer translators, as well as NTU student photographer and filmmaker Rasha Kotaiche, and performance coach Iryna Muha, the group are exploring their responses to the inspirational work of African American poet Maya Angelou, in order to generate their own ideas about and representations of women’s resilience, strength and value. The group has developed skills in poetic analysis, creative writing, photography, performance, filmmaking and art, through which the group members have been able to explore varied platforms for self-representation, and to articulate the value of creative expression as a mode of agency and solidarity. The project will culminate in a multi-disciplinary exhibition of photography and poetry at Nottingham Central Library and a two-day pop-up exhibition at Nottingham Contemporary, during Refugee Week in June 2018. It is hoped that the written work generated by the project might be developed into a poetry anthology published by Palewell Press.