Voices of the City, a weekly drop-in ‘creative expression’ cafe, starts again this week giving York’s growing immigrant community a welcoming space to come together and share stories with one another and other York residents.
The free writing sessions are run by YUMI, York’s friendly intercultural network. They encourage people to explore telling stories of their own experiences and traditions - both in writing and verbally - to eventually be collated into a book sharing advice and stories of the participants coming to York.
The book will become a resource for York residents of all ethnicities - from those born and bred here to those fresh to the city - providing a way for them to feel connected to their new home, embrace the diversity of the city and to build an understanding about York life from an ‘outsider’s’ perspective.
YUMI’s vision for the project is to combat the negative impact of isolation and loneliness. Sara Mair of Yumi explained:
“We hope that by creating a safe space to share and create art - written, oral or visual - people will make lasting connections with others. In turn, these connections will bring a confidence that spreads throughout newcomer communities, beyond just the participants themselves, and helps others to feel able participate more easily in the city and their new surroundings.”
Voices of the City provides a welcoming place for people to gather together and establish a cross-cultural sense of community for those who might otherwise feel isolated. It also brings confidence for them to interact in a new English-dominated society, as they can share their culture safely through story telling with like minded people.
Piloted in Spring last year, those who previously attended the Voices sessions gained a lot from the experience.
“Going to a Voices workshop I really gained confidence in speaking and writing English,” one participant stated.
“The one-on-one support was invaluable and I found spending time with other people from different cultural backgrounds helped me feel less alone and I felt less like the only ‘newcomer’ in the city.”
The next Voices of the City sessions run throughout February at the Sky Lounge upstairs at City Screen on Coney Street. Timings are balanced between mornings and evenings to give as many people as possible the opportunity to come.
There is space for many more people to join them. YUMI welcomes everyone.
Please drop in and share your stories at the following times:
Friday 8th Feb 10.30-12pm
Tuesday 12th Feb 6-7.30pm
Friday 21st Feb 10.30-12pm
For further information contact Sara Mair: Sara@yumiyork.org or call 07944 911093 or just pop along to a session.