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A World in a Suitcase: 2017 exhibition

The Lord Mayor of Westminster paid a visit to Westminster Adult Education Service at Lisson Grove this week to launch ‘A World in a Suitcase’ exhibition of work from a project aimed at fostering closer relations and tolerance between communities.

The Lord Mayor, a former student of WAES, praised the students' work at the launch and noted the importance of continuing education in the 'magnificent city' in which we live.

In late 2016 mixed-media Artist Myrna Shoa and writer/tutor Timuchin Dindjer, a former BBC producer, collaborated to create a local project funded by WAES at Church Street Library. Phase one of this project took place with the English Speaking Club made up of diverse nationalities, ages, genders and religions - all ESOL students. The project ran over the course of 10 weeks and they gained many skills and improved their written and spoken English, through storytelling, collage and objects to bring to life their ‘World’.

‘A World In a Suitcase Project’ is one of WAES most successful community cohesion projects to date. Not only is it relevant in this particular climate - where there is much movement globally - but it allows participants to engage openly and share their unique journeys.

One of the participants, Asmaa, shared her ‘World’ from childhood, recalling how when she was just five years old living in Mosul, Iraq, she would run home from school scared at the ‘Voice’ of the bombing. 

“I came to London in 2015. I was studying interior design but I had to leave my studies and my country because of the war. I hope to be able to speak English well and resume my studies here in London. This project really helped me regain my confidence, reignited my passion in education and has put me on the right path for improving my language skills"

The ‘Suitcases’ created by learners are now on show, including Asmaa’s creation with a story about Mosul and her childhood toys, sweets, games and hats she collected during her life journey.

The exhibition includes a slideshow with audio recordings and photographs of the group sessions. Mr Dindjer said: “The learners felt seen and heard and their experiences validated by sharing them with the group. The Mayor giving them certificates was a further validation”.

"These participants were able to create a powerful and transformative project with enormous social and educational impact", Ms Shoa added.


The exhibition will be on show at WAES, Lisson Grove until 24th February 2017 and online at

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