Open House has been running as part of SPINE festival since 2017. The project is specifically for refugee communities in London libraries, allowing participants to creatively explore language through culture. The groups meet for a series of workshops culminating in a final gathering at which participants exchange recipes & dishes from their home countries.
The most recent Open House took place in the boroughs of Islington and Sutton as part of SPINE Festival 2021. Events ran from 12 Jul – 5 Aug.
Open House is lead by ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) specialist and artist Güneş Güven who has summarised her experiences of these sessions in this blog post.
Growing up between two continents, communication has always been a bridge for Güneş. With a childhood rooted in Turkey, following her parents political asylum she moved to England aged 8, where she had to learn a new language on the school playground. Like many children of migrants, she mastered the art of translating for her parents and in turn, the power of language. What grew from these roots is a passion for empowering people with words, creating safe spaces for sharing and connecting and celebrating migrant narratives. She believes in the value of lived experience and has developed holistic approaches within her practice whilst working closely with marginalised communities in London. She is also a core member of People’s Kitchen, who transform surplus food into healthy community feasts.