Last year members of GCIN worked with poet Alexandra Oliver to create a book of poetry exploring how both peace and violence are experienced within the small space of home and everyday life. This was to be a collective process and the resulting book is a beautiful and moving piece of art.
Alexandra wrote last year, "The people I met through GCIN... have showed themselves to be insightful, witty, compassionate illustrators of tableaux portraying not only the treasures (and terrors) of their pasts, but also their fiercely tenacious hopes for a better future. Beginning with something as simple as a template, each of these writers has provided small windows into worlds which it is our privilege, as readers, to look into. Some things are not easy to regard or contemplate. But look and listen we must, for each of these writers has come here - to Scotland and to GCIN and to this book - with a reason. Their words, and indeed their very presence, are of infinite use to us. Poetry is indeed a necessity, as is the opportunity to learn from those who would allow it to spring forth and let its music be heard."
A year on, the group has created another set of poems, this time with another year of learning English, and another year of life in Glasgow to add to their experiences. Today we read some of those poems, sharing them with those who attend our drop-ins and Alexandra's words still ring true. Some things are not easy to hear or see or consider but we have been privileged to be given a window into other people's fears and hopes and we must consider these things, these difficult things and we must challenge them.
A line from one of the poems has been taken and used as the headline for a quilt that the group has also been working on as part of this campaign. I am a mother and I long for peace, it reads. Together with Patricia, the group has created an elaborate, beautiful quilt that we unveiled today, put together from patches made by individuals and reflecting the themes of the 16 days. We hope the quilt will continue to be displayed at one of the local libraries.
Many thanks to Petra and Patricia for their hard work and support and thank you to all of those who participated in this project. Thank you also to Plantation Productions for lending us their PA today.