Historically, Ipswich has been home to many diverse communities. However, recent conflicts and the global crisis of forced migration have led to refugees from Europe, Africa and the Middle East becoming residents in the town. The effects of displacement and changes in language, culture and environment can be profound, but many embrace their new surroundings and only wish to be accepted for their similarities rather than their differences.
Using the theme of ‘Belonging’, a working group from this community have been creating studio portraits of one another facilitated by Suffolk Refugee Support and photographer and teacher Gillian Allard. As well as creating her own body of work, Gillian has included their imagery in a range of creative approaches that aim to enhance the concept of the project theme and work with what ‘Belonging’ means personally to each participant.
Gillian was born in Ipswich, and in 2017 won the Sky Arts ‘Master of Photography’ competition. This has allowed her to explore new creative avenues and support projects that she really believes in.
Tapestry will be exhibited for PhotoEast 2018 at the soon-to-be-opened Community Cafe on the Ipswich Waterfront. It has been produced in association with Suffolk Refugee Support. This project is supported by the Chivers Trust, the Scarfe Trust and Suffolk County Council.