In January 2014, visually impaired service users from Sight Concern Bedfordshire and detainees from Yarl's Wood IRC worked alongside professional musicians Shammi Pithia and Michael Goodey to create, exchange and record music and lyrics. Sharing their thoughts and experiences during this creative collaboration enabled participants from different backgrounds to learn about and empathise with one another, recognising common feelings and aspirations.
Common themes expressed were isolation, loneliness and hope. Through the creative process these themes were explored and shared. Working in parallel during the project helped reduce the isolation of both groups, creating new connections and raising their collective voices. Both groups valued being able to share their feelings and placed great importance on friendship and its power to give hope and life.
"In seeking to break down isolation, this project brought together two groups of people and explored their feelings through music. Our group contained people isolated by sight loss that is nearly always completely devastating with far reaching consequences extending into almost every aspect of life. The words written by our group speak for themselves, expressing with an honesty born of shared experiences how each member of the group copes with their day-to-day life. What you'll hear is what they feel. Not a sad song but a song of hope."
Nick Gibson, Sight Concern Bedfordshire.
Bedford MID aims to improve the wellbeing of immigration detainees at Yarl's Wood IRC and create lasting connections between detainees and local community members, reducing isolation amongst marginalised people in Bedford, raising awareness of the plight of immigration detainees, and contributing to community cohesion. Based at Bedford Creative Arts, Bedford MID is a partnership between the national charity Music In Detention and local voluntary, community and arts organisations in Bedford.
The Asian Music Circuit is the leading promoter of Asian music in the UK. It has established a reputation for producing innovative tours, concerts and educational projects of the highest standard.
This project was delivered by the Asian Music Circuit and facilitated by Shammia Pathia and Michael Goodey on behalf of Bedford Music In Detention.