Learning / Projects / Intercultural Dialogues

Intercultural Dialogues

The Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts has been continuing to work on its 'Intercultural Dialogues' project.

Intercultural Dialogues is an on-going project working with refugees and asylum seekers and objects and artworks from the Sainsbury Centre collection. Art and objects are chosen as a starting point to promote discussion and conversation around the themes of life and culture.

The aim is to create a space for discussion and creativity which fosters understanding and encourages exploration of changing identities. 'These conversations are helping me to understand that everyone has his own tradition and what I thought it was embarrassing before, I now consider it in a new way' –participant.

Participants on the programme have worked with the artists Ian Brownlie, Sarah Florence and Isabella Martin. The group have explored objects from the collection and developed vocabulary and language in response, and developed skills in printmaking, music, painting, sculpture and drawing. Recent themes explored through the Sainsbury Centre collections and special exhibitions have included feeling and emotion, health and sickness, food, decoration and ornament, and personal collections. The group have worked most regularly with the Robert and Lisa Sainsbury Collection in the space of the Living Area, but also responded to Francis Bacon and the Masters, and Magnificent Obsessions: The Artist as Collector.

Combining language activities and conversation with practical art making sessions, the group is continuing to explore ways to describe objects, artworks and emotions both in the gallery and while in the studio, working together on dialogue and different art projects.

Hala Gabra is Project Coordinator for Intercultural Dialogues.

Voluntary English teachers also work with the group, helping people who struggle with English language, while MA Museology and Development Studies students also contribute.

Refugee Week 2015

Refugee Week is a UK-wide programme of arts, cultural and educational events and activities that celebrates the contribution of refugees to the UK and promotes better understanding of why people seek sanctuary.

For this year's Refugee Week, ‘Different Pasts, Shared Futures’, we presented an array of work from the group alongside City Reach at the Forum to show the work with language and art produced by people in the sessions.

Refugee Week 2014

Last year's Refugee Week was all about young people and their experiences of coming to this country. That's why The Sainsbury centre worked in partnership with Cinema City to show the film 'Leave to Remain'. Based on the real stories of teenagers coming to the UK to seek asylum, the film was directed by BAFTA award winner Bruce Goodison.

'A Celebration of Friendship' was a public art and music event held at Norwich Millennium Library. We had Sefo Kanuteh playing the kora (a West African harp) and artist, Ian Brownlie, helping people to make collaged multimedia postcards.

The Sainsbury Centre also ran a set of three extra workshops for refugees and asylum seekers based on the current 'Moore in Focus' exhibition.

The projects have been funded by the EU as part of TAP (Time and Place) funded as part of Interreg IV (A) cross-channel initiative, designed to stimulate cross-border co-operation and explore shared culture and heritage.


The Sainsbury Centre have been creating links and partnerships with organisations such as Norwich Mind, Platforma, City Reach, Norwich International Youth Project and Interface Learning to better engage with the refugee and asylum seeker community.