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With Communities

Communi-tea Book of notes and ideas(2021)

This notebook was commissioned by Coventry Biennial 2021: HYPER POSSIBLE, in partnership with Coventry Refugee & Migrant Centre and Warwickshire County Council's Syrian Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme.  Shared initially at In The City, Saturday 25 September 2021 as part of Coventry Welcomes.

A projected initiated by Amelia Hawk and Helen Kilby Nelson, this notebook was created by Noura Saleh Al Homsi, Reem Mattar, S, S, Amelia Hawk and Helen Kilby Nelson.  

Design by Gayatri Pasricha

Translated by Rasha Jaber

During the Spring/Summer of 2021 a series of conversations with participants from Coventry Refugee and Migrant Centre and Warwickshire County Council's Syrian Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme, have slowly created this notebook.  Together we have made tea, created maps of our local amenities, talked with a careers advisor, connected our memories of smell and explored our cooking methods and ingredients. We have talked about our families, shared our experiences and helped one another to understand the world around us a little better.


A large part of my practice has included working with various communities within the arts and the wider public. I have never felt entirely comfortable with the label 'socially engaged', and I talk a little more about this in the blog post "Untethered and Open for Business". I prefer to say I work with communities in collaboration to share experiences, knowledge and skills. Yes it is a bit of a mouthful but, more a more accessible use of language I think.

This section is some of the work I have been involved with that doesn't come under the 'educational games' tab.




S-o-A Community Art project summary report, September 2020 to May 2022

Curator Helen Kilby Nelson 

Project Website: S-o-A Community Art Project

The S-o-A Community Art Project launched with a drop-in day on Saturday, 5th September 2020 at the Ken Kennett Centre in Stratford upon Avon. Local residents were invited to come along, be a part of a HUGE camera obscura and share their stories about the area and what creative activities they would like to participate, collaborate, lead on.


The art project focus was to provide a diverse range of creative activities to the local Clopton community, Bishopton Community and wider area, that was accessible to as many people as possible.  All of the activities were available as free events with all materials provided.


The project has engaged with over 500 Warwickshire residents, predominantly from the Stratford on Avon District.  



Drift & Discover - a creative walking activity.

Knitting Narratives - online video tutorials, printed booklet and materials. With support from Lauryn Dunn

Affordable Christmas Gifts - online video tutorials, printed booklet and materials.

Sewing Stories - online video tutorials, printed booklet and materials. Created by Rachel Meddoms.

Activity Pack - a 42 page activity book with a variety of creative activities and materials. With thanks to Amelia Hawk and the artists who agreed to contribute - full list here with activity book download.

Comedy Club - 6 month workshop and online performance leading to a self-sustained comedy group.


Summer Creative Workshops: in person at the Ken Kennett Centre.

With artists, Jo Essen, Rachel Doughty, Melissa Kelskinkilinc, Ursula Westwood, SPARK Youth Music.

Cressheads - for ages 3 to 6 yrs

Leaf printing - for ages 3 to 6 yrs

Flags & identity - for ages 3 to 6 yrs

Rangoli Indian Folk Art - for ages 6 to 10 yrs

Land Art Sculptures - for ages 6 to 10 yrs

Honouring the Natural World - for ages 6 to 10 yrs

Be a Rock Star (3 sessions and a performance) - for ages 8 to 12 yrs

Creative Glass (6 sessions and final legacy artwork) - for ages 11 to 14 yrs

Disobedient Art (1 session) - For all ages 

Fun With Felt - For all ages


Bishopton School Mural - artist, Lynne Gougeon:

2 school assemblies

4.5 days of workshops with all classes

2 days preparations with staff & parent volunteers

9 days mural painting with all classes



Archive of project.

Video tutorials for activities.

Downloadable activity book.

Bio’s of participating artists (not yet completed)

Archive of the mural process (not yet completed)


The summer creative workshops were all led by local professional freelance artists.  This enabled the project to support Warwickshire & West Midlands based freelancers who have been adversely affected by the pandemic, as well as providing quality workshops that would normally be inaccessible to those struggling financially.  In total we were able to commission 6 freelance artists and a community music organisation, Spark.


Bishopton School Mural


The project began in March with a week of workshops preceded by two school assemblies. Every class spent half a day with two artists producing artworks that represented key themes relevant to Stratford upon Avon. During April preparation of the wall space took place with the assistance of parents who were very enthusiastic in getting involved. May saw all children help to paint the final mural over a period of 9 days, with artist Lynne Gougeon going above and beyond with beautiful final touches..


In total over 240 children took part.

S-o-A Tenants' Action Group

In May 2018 Helen Nelson founded a Tenants' Action Group for tenants of Orbit Housing in the South Warwickshire District.  The group continues to support each other through shared experiences and knowledge and press for change under its new name S-o-A District Tenant Group.  Local Councillors and Charities have joined the FB support page to provide additional services and advice.  Orbit Housing have made lots of promises and given lots of PR speak but little has changed.  

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