With the collaboration of the Welsh Refugee Council, social documentary photographer Nigel Pugh formulated ‘Creating Sanctuary’. It enabled six volunteers from across Wales to share their story and experience of working with refugees in Wales. The resulting body of work includes the presentation of photographic portraits and quotes extracted from the volunteers' text contributions in response to a set of questions. Typically, the questions posed were; what was it that brought them to assisting refugees, what reward do they get from volunteering, what has been their struggles, what would you say to your wider community to encourage others to be welcoming, or to work with refugees, what does volunteering bring to community? The exhibition coincided with volunteer week and refugee week.
‘Creating Sanctuary’ looked to identify fundamental human commonalities based on the loose theme of home, work and community, what they mean to us and bring to our lives. Beneath that lay the common thread of purpose, security, family, friends, creativity, camaraderie, healing, sharing loss and grief. In an 'ideal' society the ability to access these components is essential when required. The project aimed to illustrate and share those core human requirements, that are being created by those who have volunteered in Wales to assist refugees. Refugees whoever they are, regardless of where they are from, have had those basic human requirements wholly or partly removed. ‘Creating Sanctuary’ also sought to propagate the aspiration that Wales becomes the first ‘Nation of Sanctuary’.
Jane - Wrexham, NE Wales - 'United to assist Refugees UK'
Catrin - Barry & Cardiff, South Wales - 'The Birth Partner Project'
Ceri - Newport, SE Wales - 'The Sanctuary Project Bethel Community Church'
Fred - St Dogmaels, West Wales - 'Hiraeth Hope'
Alan - South West Wales - 'Swansea City Of Sanctuary'
Sean - Mid Wales - 'Hay, Brecon & Talgarth Sanctuary for Refugees'