As a school we have worked closely with the Centre for Migration Policy Research in Swansea University developing a close partnership with them. The University in collaboration with and Swansea Museum’s ‘One Swansea’ exhibition held a number of community events which our pupils attended. Pupils came together with other schools across Swansea to understand the themes of migration, immigration and welcome. They explored the experiences and emotions that migrants may face as they arrived in a new place.
The links between the SAMMIS (Social Support and Migration in Scotland) project and between St. Joseph’s Lead Creative Schools project ‘Journey’ has made the extension of our work more contemporary. The pupils through both projects have explored the concepts of what it’s like growing up in a new place/country, to question what community is and the support and opposition to settlement and in particular in our project how faith can play its part in helping communities and individuals settle.
In our school our children come from a wide range of different ethical and cultural backgrounds. Pupils enjoyed the workshops and it was interesting to see and work with other children that come from schools that are very different to ours. Pupils talked about how they felt when they have moved house/school/countries and what it felt like to settle in that new place. They shared their ideas on how they welcome people, and how do we help people settle into our communities? They also discussed what it feels like to be different and how and why we should accept difference and diversity.
They took part in activities which enabled us to explore themes of trust and belonging, and look at how we engage and work with individuals and with larger groups new to our country and communities. Back in school we have worked on what it is to be unique/different and why this is important to our school and wider communities. In their work pupils have thought about how they can overcome these challenges and how we can help to build stronger communities.
Watch a video of our engagement in this project below:
Read the press release about our partnership with the University on the SSAMIS project by clicking Here
The PACONDAA project brings together bioscientists and social researchers with the aim to reduce poverty by preventing diseases affecting vital aquaculture (fish and plants that are grown for food), in three countries India, Bangladesh and the UK.
Over the last year the school has been developing close links with the University. On Wednesday, 12 July 2018, pupils of St. Joseph’s visited Taliesin, Swansea University Campus, in an event on co-designing sustainable futures. They took part in workshops to produce art work in response to the Bangladeshi artwork and paintings produced as part of this project.
The event was opened by Pro-Vice Chancellor Professor Martin Stringer and was aimed at not only improving pupils’ knowledge about poverty but also making links between the UK and Bangladesh to share educational resources and improve social wellbeing.
The University’s Dr. Tanjil Sowgat and Dr Sergei Shubin spent the past two years encouraging communities in India and Bangladesh that they themselves are able to influence the future of where they live.
Children in Bangladesh taking part in a story-making workshop.
In Bangladesh the pair worked with villagers, local government officials, schools and artists to organise various events including training sessions for farmers, workshops with children, cultural collaborations, exhibitions and a festival. Using a combination of art, storytelling and practical activities, the academics provided hard-to-reach groups with a voice for the first time.
Dr Sowgat said: “We invited the pupils to work with a local artist to produce a response to Bangladeshi art and draw postcards of life in Swansea”.
The pupils have also been involved in the production of a storybook featuring Bangladeshi children’s stories of poverty and teaching and learning materials to accompany the book.
One Bangladeshi farmer said PACONDAA’s intervention had given a sense of purpose to people who often feel overlooked by anti-poverty programmes. She said: ‘‘Your presence and your engagement with us made us feel very happy. I am pleased that you are listening to us and trying to make our voices heard to the outside world.”
Dr Shubin added: “We have been delighted these events have given us the chance to reach diverse audiences and showcase the works of young people and Bangladeshi artists internationally.”
PACONDAA is a consortium of nine research institutes and universities working to reduce poverty by controlling two microorganisms which cause disease in Asian aquaculture.