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Mapping our Cultures: Celebrating Harmony Day

Harmony Day is always a big deal at MTC Liverpool. This year, our Skills for Education & Employment students took part in a massive community initiative that required them to think of home and get creative.

Mapping Liverpool, Mapping Home is an interactive artwork celebrating Liverpool’s community and cultural diversity. The concept was developed by Liverpool City Library in collaboration with Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre (CPAC), Hume Housing and MTC.

Liverpool

When our SEE students were first invited by Liverpool City Council to contribute to the artwork, there was a hugely positive response. “We chose students to participate based on either their artistic talents or because they’re passionate about their culture, love the idea of the project and want to contribute,” explains Adisa Semic, Senior Trainer in the SEE program. “In class we spoke a lot about the project, and there were discussions about the meaning of Harmony Day.”

Liverpool
SEE students ready to jump on the bus to the Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre.

Over the past month, 120 of our SEE students travelled to CPAC to take part in a 2-hour art workshop, where they drew, painted and wrote about their memories of home on a vast representation of the world map.

Miriama Tamata is a Community Development Worker at Liverpool City Council who helped instruct the students before they got down to the business of being creative. “Choose any object or place that reminds you of home. Draw, paint, write in your own language. Choose any space, make it big, bold, beautiful,” she said.

Liverpool

Participants were asked to choose any place on the map to decorate for a special reason. “The world is a big place full of many different people and cultures but those people can be anywhere in the world with their own ideas of home,” Miriama explains. “Liverpool is so hugely diverse, with new families moving in all the time. Home can mean many different things at the same time – you can make a new home in a new place but keep your past ideas of home sacred.”

MTC SEE staff joined their students in working on the project, and created some colourful representations of the Philippines, Chile, Angola, Jordan, Iraq and Serbia.

Rasha is one of our SEE students who contributed to the project. She’s been studying English at MTC for around 6 months, and is originally from Qadisiyah, Iraq. “I’m excited to be here, I feel happy, and I can’t wait to see what we will draw and paint,” she said. “When I was a child I used to like art and drawing so this reminds me of being a little girl.

“I’m going to draw the palm trees from my home and the flag. When I think of home I remember wide lands full of date trees. There are a lot of students in my class who have the same memories. We often talk about our experiences.”

Liverpool
Rasha (left) with her SEE Trainer Tahani.

“The students appreciate that we focus on their cultures and where they come from. We’re interested in who they are and understanding of their backgrounds – this helps create a welcoming space for them to learn,” says Adisa.

Mapping Liverpool, Mapping Home will be on exhibition at Liverpool City Library from 1–21 March so that additional community members have the chance to contribute. The final artwork will be unveiled on Harmony Day, 21 March 2019 at Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre – with students and teachers from MTC Liverpool there to celebrate!

Liverpool

Skills for Education and Employment

Skills for Education and Employment (SEE) is a government-funded program that helps job seekers improve their English language, computer and job searching skills. Eligible students receive up to 650 hours of classes for free, and may enrol at any time of the year.

To apply for SEE or find out more, phone MTC Australia on 1300 232 663.