The Hive JQ

The Hive is a community hub for Birmingham in an historic building, with an award-winning organic café and bakery, craft workshops, exhibitions and event spaces.

Silvia worked with a group of 50 refugees and asylum seekers to create a series of fused glass panels inspired by participants’ memories of their homelands. The aim was to give each person the opportunity to learn a new skill, create something beautiful that has strong personal meaning, work creatively together and make new friends in a positive, inclusive environment. It also made a strong statement about the home they have lost and provided a safe space to discuss their feelings and memories.

Silvia Levenson has extensive experience of working with groups of vulnerable people, such as mothers in Argentina who children disappeared and victims of domestic violence. Silvia herself had to go into hiding for three years as a result of the military gaining power in her native Argentina. “I come from a country where a lot of people were killed during the dictatorship including some of my friends, so I consider myself a bit of a survivor. I mean, in the end, all of us are surviving something.”

Silvia writes: 

"Memories of Home originates from the perception of a world in movement. It is a choral project, with many voices, many languages and many colours in different inflections. These pieces have been created by migrants and refugees, by citizens who have had to cross deserts, oceans and frontiers to reach the UK, leaving war, famine and persecution behind them. We asked them to use glass to tell us about the colours and memories of their country.

After the initial surprise, they accepted the challenge and a few minutes later, everyone was at work on their projects. It was amazing to see their dedication and the concentration they devoted to understanding and using glass, definitely not an easy material to decipher.

Memories of Home tells us of emotions and experiences. The participants in the workshop created flags, houses, crowns, animals, landscapes, flowers and hearts, they wrote words and in doing so managed to communicate their feelings. When we move, we take our memories and our knowledge with us, but also a desire to understand the world and begin a new life."

The workshops were documented by a professional photographer from Milan, Italy; Marco del Comune. The photos will feature as part of the exhibition.

Open 10am - 5pm 23 - 26 August

Silvia will join the festival by webcam at 12 noon on Sunday 25 August to discuss the exhibition. 

We are very grateful for the generous sponsorship and support of Bullseye Glass, KilnCare and the National Heritage Lottery Fund