Project name: I am some BODY
Participants: This project took place with the service users of Congolese Development Project – diverse communities of Swansea, Carmarthen including African, Arabic and Polish communities of asylum seekers and immigrants, experiencing wellbeing issues during Covid-19 pandemic and before.
Lead artist: Dominika Rau
The aim of the project was to give an opportunity to the service users to take part in a creative process of writing and creating a book “I am some BODY”, but also make friendship with their bodies and learn new skills of creative writing in their native languages, including English, Arabic, French and Polish. This project aimed to support, encourage, teach skills, and discover community talents.
“I am some BODY” was a body awareness and wellbeing writing project that focused on body understanding and appreciation of its functioning and processes occurring during the wellbeing crisis.
When we are facing mental health crisis it feels like the world has stopped. However, our BODY is still on top of its responsibilities, working double to bring back healthy condition or it motivates us to ask for help. Appreciating, accepting, thanking it, and making best friends with it, could be one of the most powerful techniques in the mental health battle for clients on low-income, who cannot afford the access to professional help, often struggling to express their emotions in another language.
During the six online writing workshops for both adults and children, and individual online consultations, Dominika Rau introduced diverse communities to creative writing techniques and qualities within the topic of body and wellbeing, encouraging clients to write both in English and their own languages to express their feelings and search for the qualities in their bodies. Each of the participants had the opportunity to contribute towards a book of the group’s work.
The project was a fantastic success, resulting in a 170-page book launched on 22 February 2022 with contributions in English, Arabic, Polish, Spanish, Dutch, Surinamese, Italian and Latvian.
Dominika Rau is a multi-disciplinary artist based in Wales, originally from Poland. Her practice involves spoken word, playwriting, and storytelling, but also dance, acting, mime and theatrical practices. She is a graduate of Performance Art and Drama & Theatre Studies at Aberystwyth University in 2016.
Dominika Rau is a founder of Body Art Therapies – an original project that uses sports massage therapy, body acceptance and empowerment techniques mixed with various art forms in order to support vulnerable clients, including victims of domestic abuse and human trafficking, asylum seekers and refugees, but also children and young people.
“I am originally from Poland and the topic of immigration and mental health, but also loneliness in the age of pandemic, is to me remarkably close. After a long process of building the trust with community groups I believe we are ready to move the world with emotions that come from their languages and cultures, delivering uplifting and motivating product for all of us to read and learn from. As a writer I feel this project is a great opportunity to also showcase my work to wider audiences for the first time in Wales.”