No Place Like Home exhibition explores ‘What does home mean in 2022?'

Monday 30 May 2022

Image shows( left to right) artist, Victoria Fifield from the ‘No Place Like Home’ exhibition for The Open Road, Dr Lucia Ruggerone from The School of Applied Social Sciences and Charles Hackett, lecturer from Gray’s School of Art.
Artworks created as part of a Robert Gordon University (RGU) research project into the impact of Brexit on EU nationals living in the UK, goes on display at a new exhibition called, ‘No Place Like Home’, at Fittie Community Hall on Sunday 5 June.

 

The team from RGU is working in partnership with arts organisation, Open Road to contribute to their ‘No Place Like Home’ exhibition, which explores migration and diversity across Aberdeen. This exhibition forms part of a larger national initiative called Culture Collective which shines a light on participatory arts projects in Scotland.

The research for the work contributed by RGU, is funded by The British Academy and has been produced by academics from RGU’s School of Applied Social Sciences and Gray’s School of Art who are part of the EU Nationals Research Project, into the emotional well-being of middle-aged European citizens, in the UK since Brexit and Covid-19.

People across the UK have taken part in this innovative study which has taken a creative approach to explore EU national’s emotions about Brexit and the restrictions due to the pandemic. Each of the participants received an art tool kit, with various materials including coloured papers, ribbons and letters to express their feelings since Brexit.  The artwork acted as a conversation starter for an in-depth discussion to explore their emotional wellbeing. 

The study shows that many EU nationals have experienced an identity crisis following Brexit, with many no longer feeling part of the UK or their original country. Others say they’ve felt trapped since lockdown, with restrictions making it harder to travel whilst others described  an acute yearning and nostalgia to be back ‘home’ in Europe.

RGU Sociologist, Lucia Ruggerone, explains more: “Through art, you can express your emotional side, perhaps more than through traditional methods. That’s why we teamed up with Gray’s School of Art to gather this inciteful research which we’re looking forward to presenting at the ‘No Place Like Home’ exhibition.

“We’ve found that for most European citizens, the impact of Brexit and Covid-19 has been a ‘double whammy’. Many describe Brexit as a ‘slap in the face’ and express feelings of rejection. Others talk about their identity crisis, with many saying they don’t belong here or in their native EU country.

“We’re looking forward to sharing this research of national interest and to supporting the ‘No Place Like Home’ exhibition that explores migration in Aberdeen and the surrounding region .”

The ‘No Place Like Home’ exhibition has been created and curated by artist, Victoria Fifield, originally from Glen Tanar in Aberdeenshire. Victoria is part of a team of four Creative Practitioners contracted by  Open Road to deliver their Culture Collective project which is called Safe Harbour: Open Sea and funded by Creative Scotland. Part of Victoria’s role within this project is to produce work linked with Aberdeen’s history as a port city. An emerging question of her work and this exhibition has been, ‘What does home mean in 2022?’

Victoria Fifield says: “I hope people learn more about the experiences of others who have moved to Aberdeen from elsewhere and that this will create greater empathy and understanding of the difficulties people face as well as celebrating the good things about the city through the eyes of others. I also hope visitors will have chance to reflect on the concept of 'home' in their own lives.

“The research from RGU and Gray's has added an extra dimension to the exhibition by contributing artworks by participants in their ongoing study of EU nationals living in the UK. With a much more in-depth and longer-term study, their project delves deeper into the exhibition's themes. The participants' artworks will be illuminated by quotes and reflections about their experiences and feelings, adding greater poignancy to the work on display.

“It has been great to work collaboratively on the project. We have had some very interesting discussions on the themes and our different creative approaches to research. By combining some of both projects' outcomes we can present a wider range of approaches and artworks that all complement each other really well.”

The Open Road exhibition, which will include creative activities in art and origami, is free to attend and opens to the public on 5 June, from midday – 5pm, at the Fittie Community Hall on New Pier Road in Fittie.  

The findings from RGU’s research into the impact of Brexit on EU nationals will be formally presented at a webinar event on 13 June that will include academics from the University of Glasgow and University in Wroclaw in Poland. Register your place at the webinar:

Image shows( left to right) artist & curator, Victoria Fifield from the ‘No Place Like Home’ exhibition for The Open Road, Dr Lucia Ruggerone from The School of Applied Social Sciences and Charles Hackett, lecturer from Gray’s School of Art.

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