A Manual for Home: A DIY Guide for Survivors of Catastrophe
ICA 2019 

In collaboration with artist and researcher Heiba Lamara, we designed and led zine making workshops for the Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA) and the Islington Centre for Refugees and Migrants in 2019. These workshops aimed to build a community through shared experiences of leaving home. Participants created individual zines, allowing them to work at their own pace and produce multiple works. The zines were risograph printed at Rabbit's Road Press, contributing to a wider program involving other artists.

We encouraged participants to write in their preferred languages to provide them with maximum creative freedom. This approach acknowledged that refugees often have to negotiate a foreign language, such as English. By allowing the use of their native languages, we emphasised the importance of all languages and flipped the script for the audience. When these zines were shared in the "Freedom and Friendship" exhibition, viewers engaged with languages they might not fully understand, such as French, Farsi, or Kurdish, highlighting the accessibility challenges faced by refugees.

Our goal was to support the participants in expressing themselves fully, without the pressure of language barriers, focusing on creativity rather than language education. This approach respected their creative freedom and vision, rather than prescribing what they needed to do. We aimed to give participants agency, which is often diminished for refugees with limited English proficiency.

Additionally, there was an extra element of sensitivity in how we approached this project, as I have a family history and an understanding of what it means to be a refugee. This personal connection informed our respectful and empathetic engagement with the participants.

Elements from the zines were featured in the ICA’s "Freedom and Friendship" exhibition, which explored themes of voice, political expression, and notions of home. This project supported refugees and migrants by facilitating engagement with contemporary arts, helping them develop skills and feel at home in prestigious venues like the ICA.