Wherever you receive much love, is your home
Looking through my Near Belonging notes earlier I was struck by a line I’d forgotten I’d noted down, the Tibetan saying attributed to the Dalai Lama above.
At the time I made that note I didn’t know who would be taking part in Near Belonging. I had ideas and hopes, of course, but the main reason I devise projects to work with people is so I can learn from, and be surprised by, others’ involvement. Making an artwork together involves risk and trust and those are precious elements in any relationship.
When the Tibetan phrase caught my eye, I was thinking about how participants might share their lived experiences of belonging. I hadn’t contemplated that the project itself could create a loving place, a ‘home’ in and of itself. So, I was struck when one of the participants said recently:
We are a very small group… it’s like some kind of belonging. We’ve got an identity together.
Near Belonging has evolved unusually, in that the activity has happened simultaneously in three groups (for practical and privacy reasons). At Warwickshire County Record Office four participants meet regularly (from around the Warwick and Stratford areas). We’re joined remotely by Beverley, who supports four young care leavers to take part (based in Nuneaton). In addition, I’ve been running workshops with four participants at the Community Hub based at Rugby Methodist Church. They bring with them diverse experiences of belonging and are originally from Syria, Algeria, Turkey and Brazil.
The test screening for the draft edit of the Near Belonging film will be hosted by the Ruby Community Hub and will be the first time the groups have fully united. It’s a brave way to meet; seeing each other’s portraits and hearing experiences of belonging, while I gather live reaction and feedback to inform my editing. But it’s these shared moments of being outside our comfort zones that make the project special. I’ve been humbled by everyone’s openness throughout so I trust completely that all will receive each other’s parts in the film really well. It’s a risk, but I feel sure more love, and more sense of belonging, will be created.
Public workshop coming soon!
You can join a free public Near Belonging practical talk on 16th July 2022 at Warwickshire County Record Office, Book your place via Eventbrite.