Since 2019 we have been developing strands of work which seek to support people with refugee and asylum seeking experience, considering - how can BALTIC be a ‘good Neighbour’ and how can we best support people to feel happy, settled and at home in the North East?
With support from a local network of refugee support organisations and informed by a working group of people with lived experience of forced migration, Neighbourly combines a range of one off events and longer terms projects which aim to deliver welcoming, enjoyable and useful activities; opportunities for friendship and solidarity between people, and practical actions to effect change within and across communities.
Through this work we aim not only to share the resources and facilities available at BALTIC with people seeking sanctuary in the North East, but also connect with groups and individuals in their spaces to explore and support their ideas, needs and concerns. We work with artists and adopt creative processes which bring people together - creating opportunities for people to share skills and interests and explore trans-cultural expressions of eating, making, learning and being together.
In early 2022 we became the first Gallery of Sanctuary in England, awarded by City of Sanctuary UK - a nationally coordinated network of organisations and services, including cities, universities, theatres and libraries that welcome and support refugees and people seeking asylum. City of Sanctuary’s Awards recognise and celebrate organisations that go above and beyond to welcome people seeking sanctuary.
Neighbourly activities include one-off projects, annual events, such as Open Iftar and rolling projects, including International Art Club, ESOL at BALTIC, the How To Archive and more recently Language Café at BALTIC and SkillsMatch, a collaboration with the West End Refugee Service.