This video gives a unique insight into life in the UK through the eyes of 22 Bhutanese refugees who now live in Greater Manchester. Last month, these men and women took part in PhotoVoice – a innovative art and photography event linked to the “In Translation” exhibition at the Manchester Art Gallery.
Refugee Action has been working with resettled Bhutanese refugees in the North West since 2010. Many of those resettled to the region have lived in refugee camps in Nepal for most of their lives, unable to progress in their education or careers. A Refugee Action photography project invited the community to take pictures of things that kept them healthy and well during the upheaval of starting a new life in the UK. The images, collected over six months, emphasised the importance of community, family, access to employment training, online social networks, learning English and education. The collected photos were then displayed at PhotoVoice, accompanied by audio interviews with community members about why these things are so important to them.
The PhotoVoice event included presentations from the Bhutanese community and from other participants in “In Translation”, such as migrant and refugee women from the Wai Yin Chinese Women’s Society, Europia Manchester and the Cumbria Multicultural Women’s Network. Participants enjoyed an interactive tour of the gallery and took part in creative workshops about their shared experiences of moving to the UK. There was a strong theme in the discussions around the importance of communities supporting each other, and the groups enjoyed meeting new people, swapping contact details and taking photos of their new friends. It was a fantastic day – thank you to the Manchester Art Gallery for facilitating it and to everyone who came along and took part.