Belonging to Us: Nurturing women through making

Belonging to Us: Nurturing women through making


Posted 2023-03-19 by dpmfollow

Mon 03 Apr 2023 - Fri 28 Apr 2023

A free exhibition showcasing jewellery made by refugee and migrant women is to be staged at the School of Jewellery at Birmingham City University.

Belonging to Us: Nurturing women through making, between 3-28 April, celebrates 10 years of Shelanu, a craft collective that supports refugee and migrant women to make and sell contemporary jewellery.

The exhibition, supported and curated by Birmingham-based charity Craftspace, tells the story of Shelanu which means ‘belonging to us’. As well as learning making expertise and creating a high-quality craft, the women are supported to improve their English, learn business skills and run workshops for the community. Current members come from a range of countries including Pakistan, Venezuela, Hong Kong, Israel, India and Kurdistan.

As part of the Belonging to Us exhibition, Shelanu is launching Nurture, a new range of jewellery made more sustainably and produced with guidance from internationally renowned jeweller Rachael Colley. This will be displayed alongside the collective’s previous collections and examples of their community work.

Included in the exhibition are precious jewellery, textiles and home products by Birmingham-based CIC MasterPeace Academy, Edinburgh CIC Flourish Jewellery Project and London-based social enterprise Love Welcomes. Plus five other international enterprises will be represented digitally: Monkeybiz from South Africa; Australian Design Centre - Indigenous Jewellery Project; Hadithi Crafts from South East Kenya; Bosna Quilt Wekstatt from Germany and Bosnia, and Editions in Craft with Siyazama Project from Sweden and South Africa.

Deirdre Figueiredo, director of Craftspace, said: “Shelanu Craft Collective is a great asset to the city ensuring that the jewellery-making tradition in Birmingham is culturally progressive, artistically excellent and contributes to community cohesion. Featuring nine projects together brings attention to the quietly radical ways that women are effecting change in their communities and enabling makers across nations to thrive and prosper.

Previous Shelanu participant and maker, Kinneret said: “Everyone at Shelanu is from different countries and different cultures but we all sit around one table and try to develop and create something new together. It’s really an amazing process and helped me to feel more at home.

Over the last 10 years, meeting one day a week, Shelanu members have developed four collections, sold 600 pieces and shown their work in 21 exhibitions. They have shared their skills with 1,317 women by delivering 336 hours of specialist workshops with 15 community partners. They have been featured in two books and a variety of reports and publications. In 2013 Craftspace was shortlisted for the Engaging New and Diverse Audiences in Craft Skills Award for its work with Shelanu.

Belonging to Us: Nurturing women through making is at the Vittoria Street Gallery, School of Jewellery 3-28 April between 8am-7pm, Monday to Friday. Some featured within the exhibition will be for sale on individually featured organisations’ websites, with all profits going back into the individual social enterprises to support future making and workshops. For more information see



!date 3/4/2023 -- 28/4/2023
76046 - 2023-03-18 20:13:35


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