To mark World Refugee Day and celebrate Refugee Week in the UK, Good Chance and The World From My Window embarked on a global collaboration to create a collective poem of voices from lockdown from 28 countries: from Mexico to New Zealand via Sudan and Iran.
Good Chance works with artists from around the world, bringing communities together to tell bigger stories of hope and humanity. We built our first ‘Theatre of Hope’, a geodesic Dome, in the Calais refugee camp the Jungle in 2015, and since then have built our Domes all over the world – London and Paris, New York and San Fransico. Our multi-award winning, five-star play The Jungle has been seen by over 130,000 people. And we collaborate with artists from refugee and asylum-seeking backgrounds through our Ensemble programme to co-create art and share new voices with the world. This project united our artists globally and reached out through TWFMW’s audiences to tell new stories of solidarity and connection.
The World From My Window is a global collaboration that took shape in just 7 days at the start of lockdown. It is a platform for people to share their thoughts, feelings and reflections on lockdown. At a time when the world can feel increasingly polarised and disconnected, they’re using stories and the power of words to connect across some of these differences and similarities, locally and globally. TWFMW wants to amplify as many voices as possible and create an inclusive global community. The Window Words project was a cornerstone in achieving this aim.
Inua Ellams is an internationally touring poet, playwright, performer, graphic artist & designer. He is the author of the hit Fuel & National Theatre production Barber Shop Chronicles and An Evening With An Immigrant, and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. Inua ran the Window Words workshop at the start of Refugee Week and curated the global collective poem to mark World Refugee Day.
How did the collaboration come about?
This was the speediest, most exhilarating collaboration either Good Chance or The World From My Window has ever done. Over the course of two weeks, before Refugee Week in June 2020, we sparked the idea, planned the project and created our global collective poem. We developed an online workshop for 50 people from 17 different countries to kick off Refugee Week, led by Inua Ellams and Diyo Mulopo Bopengo, crowd-sourced stories of lockdown throughout the week, showcased new voices on Instagram Live and Inua curated and recorded the poem of over 50 voices from around the world.
What were the most important factors that contributed to the success of this project?
Response to COVID-19
The ‘big’ idea
Combination of skill sets
Combination of participants
Delivery of project
Good Chance received emergency funding from Arts Council England to continue its work during lockdown, and when we conceived of this project with The World From My Window we reallocated a small amount of that funding to make this collaboration possible. It was mostly reliant on the goodwill of many people to make it happen!
Will the project continue beyond COVID-19 lockdown?
Good Chance and The World From My Window are excited about the dynamism and energy that our collaboration achieved. Our aims were to unite people with the shared experience of lockdown across the globe, and to showcase the voices of people with lived experience of being refugees and asylum seekers. Through the extensive network of The World From My Window, we reached audiences who otherwise may have known nothing about Refugee Week, and we are committed to continuing our strong relationship and maximising the potential for future collaboration.