Building bridges: Immigration detainees in Dover and adults from the Walmer Centre in Deal
In February 2010 Music In Detention ran a music project between detainees from Dover Immigration Removal Centre and Walmer Centre adult Learning Disability group in Deal. The project was facilitated by Tea Hodzic and H Patten from Music for Change.
Tea and H started the project at the Walmer Centre by teaching Romani tunes from the Balkans and Caribbean music. The participants enjoyed the music and joined in with singing, clapping, playing percussion and dance. They also talked to the adults at the Walmer Centre about their experiences and feelings.
They discussed their place in the community, in society, and in what ways they often felt restricted. The artists then brought the Romani songs and Caribbean music to Dover IRC for the detainees to learn. The artists also shared ideas and experiences from the Walmer Centre with the detainees and found that although these groups of people appeared to be very different, they both had experiences of being restricted, either physically or emotionally.
They found that as the detainees were locked up behind walls, it was often hard to express how they really felt to the outside world buut when comparing their experiences to those in the Walmer Centre, they realised that even if you are free from captivity, it does not mean you are not restricted in other ways. Later in the project, there were also discussions at the Walmer Centre about what it feels like to be different and how the reactions of other people have an impact. These discussions formed the basis for the lyrics that feature on the CD.
Using music, Tea and H were able to provide a platform for both groups to express themselves and write original lyrics which created a beautiful and unique project as both groups were free to share personal experiences and stories. This triggered a great response from all participants and created some unique compositions and songs.
Music In Detention works through music to give voice to immigration detainees and create channels of communication between them, immigration detention staff, local communities and the wider public.
Music for Change is a leading educational arts organisation, committed to promoting awareness, understanding and respect for cultural diversity. Working with skilled artists from around the world, the charity encourages people to celebrate cultural diversity whilst challenging preconceptions and prejudice.