A Newcastle College student is running an art workshop at BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art during Refugee Week (20-26 June 2022). 

Abdelalim Deng, originally from Sudan and now studying an English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) qualification at Newcastle College, went on a tour of BALTIC with fellow ESOL students earlier this year. Whilst there, he also took part in a clay workshop with local artist Sophie Lisa Beresford, who was so impressed with his work that she invited him to run his own workshop teaching other people how to make delicate clay symbols.

Sophie said: When I saw Abdel’s Bull I was wowed! It was so elegant & stylish that I wanted to share his work with as many people as I could. I have learned how to make the Bull from Abdel and now we can work together to teach all the people who come to our workshop how to make it too!”

Newcastle College ESOL tutor Ruth Ashford commented: “We take a lot of our ESOL students over to the gallery to have a tour and take part in a workshop, but this is the first time one of the students has been asked to run their own class! It’s a wonderful opportunity for Abdelalim, I’m really proud of him. I saw the piece he produced, and it was beautiful.”

BALTIC’s Communities Producer Annie Bedford, added: “We've been inviting ESOL students in for tours for the last two to three years as part of our Neighbourly programme, which seeks to support refugees and people seeking asylum. We find it can be nice for the students to do something practical and use their hands, not only to aid talking between people, but also as a therapeutic activity and an opportunity for them to express and share their creativity. We also use the visits to highlight the fact that BALTIC has a free cafe with unlimited cups of tea/coffee/juice and snacks, free Wi-Fi, computer access, free photocopier, children's activities, volunteering opportunities and workshops and events.”

Abdelalim’s workshop will form part of a programme of activities for Refugee Week 2022. It will be held in the BALTIC Front Room Community Space on Saturday 25 June at 2pm as a drop-in activity that anyone can attend for free, there’s no need to book. More information can be found here: https://baltic.art/whats-on/baltic-events/refugee-week-2022