UCA artists to host sculpture school for Syrian refugees

A group of four UK artists and tutors, led by Philip Evans from UCA, will travel to Beirut to host a series of workshops for Syrian refugees called ‘Art in Beirut’.

The group will undertake a five day residency, running art and sculpture workshops in one of Beirut’s public parks. The group will work with Syrian refugees in the Ras district, offering skills in making and exhibiting sculptural artwork from found materials.

This trip follows an earlier venture in April 2013 when the group organised a self-funded, fact-finding trip to Beirut, Lebanon to work with young people from refugee camps.

Philip Evans, Kent Resource from UCA Canterbury, said: “We hope this trip helps us to grow on our previous successes and further develop ‘Art in Beirut’. We’ve learnt that there is a real appetite for creative and community engagement amongst people in Beirut and we are very proud to offer an outlet for this activity.”

Partners of the project include the American Community School as part of their International Baccalaureate CAS (creativity, action, service) program and The American University Beirut. Students from the partnership organisations will be offered the opportunity to gain valuable experience working with overseas artists and local and refugee children. The approach aims to be collaborative; sharing expertise and facilities to foster cultural integration.

‘Art in Beirut’ aims to:

• Offer skills in making and conceiving artwork

• Create equality, inclusion, integration and opportunities for young people with no prior knowledge of the subject

• Create meaningful dialogues with the participants, their environment, objects within it and the international tutors

• Introduce identified disadvantaged young people with another approach to making and to artists from another culture

• Provide an escape from a daily routine, the socio-political environment and place participants into an environment solely based on creative making.

About the artists:

Phil Evans is a designer and artist working in print media, installation, photography, video and sculpture and is Kent Resource at the University for the Creative Arts (UCA)

Marion Fullerton is practicing artist and mature student entering the final year of a six year part time BA (Hons) Fine Art degree at UCA, Canterbury. She has undertaken voluntary work in primary schools and is trained as learning support assistant working with children aged 4 – 16 years old.

Ben Kidger is a sculptor, tutor and curator. As an artist he has completed several commissions for private and public locations in Canterbury, London and Scotland. He also volunteers for an artists’ group as curator and organiser.

Paula Trower is a visual artist based in North Kent. She has experience in running publically funded regeneration projects, specifically on the Isle of Sheppey, Swale. With a BA (Hons) in Fine Art Paula teaches drawing, painting and sculpture to both groups and individuals, to all age groups and abilities.

Hatem Imam is a visual artist and designer. His work includes print media, installation, photography, video, and painting. He is the creative director of Studio Safar, a board member of the 98weeks research project, the artistic director of Annihaya record label, and a founding member of the art collective AtfalAhdath. In 2007, he co-founded Samandal comics magazine, of which he is co-editor in chief. He is also a part-time lecturer at the department of Architecture and Graphic Design at the American University of Beirut.