In Other Words provides a safe and welcoming space for people, regardless of communication limitations, differences in language or social constraints to explore their own creative power.
We currently meet two afternoons a week for two hours to work on a range of projects. We use a variety of media – paint, clay, mosaic, household materials – to connect and express ourselves through art.
While it began as a project under L’Arche Belfast, In Other Words has since grown to welcome individuals of all different backgrounds from all across the community.
How it began
Makiko, a volunteer from Japan, was asked in her first few months in L’Arche Belfast, “What would you like to do in the community? What are the things that you are passionate about that you would like to integrate into your work in L’Arche?” Makiko has always been passionate about art, and she realised that art was a way she could connect with others in the community.
Initially, the art sessions began with just two people – Makiko and Jillian, a core member in the community. While Makiko struggled initially with the English language, she found a common bond through art with Jillian, who does not communicate with many words.
From this relationship and the bonds created through artwork, an art space was procured to allow more members of the community to meet and participate on a regular basis. Over the past two years, what started as a shared interest between Jillian and Makiko has blossomed into a group of 10 people of differing abilities who meet twice a week to create art. Interest in the group has also grown beyond L’Arche Belfast; the group is composed currently of both people from L’Arche Belfast and individuals from the wider community. The group has also finished a commissioned project for a local business and produced art for several exhibitions in and around Belfast.