Expressing the Refugee Experience

For Refugee Week (16 – 20 June) our Widening Participation Officer Sam ran a refugee arts day for three local secondary schools here at Central Library. I spent an enjoyable morning getting covered in acrylic paint, supporting artist Amang Mardokhy’s painting workshop.

Image of Amang Mardokhy teaching an art class

© University of Manchester

Painting by Amang Mardokhy

© Amang Mardokhy

Amang is Kurdish, from Northern Iraq. He came to the UK in the early 2000s, fleeing Saddam Hussein’s regime. At the start of his workshop he told the students a little about his personal story, including his experience of being an artist under a repressive regime and the difficult decision to take his family, including his five year old son, in search of safety. But he talked more about his artistic motivations, to express the suffering of the Kurdish people and explore global experiences of war and displacement. The students produced postcard-sized paintings reflecting on the contrast between peace and war; safety and danger, beauty and ugliness, plenty and poverty, belonging and loss.

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One for the Crime…

Next in her series of library indepth posts, cataloguer and book reviewer Jo takes a look at our Criminal Justice section.

Analysis of the section title ‘Criminal Justice’ brings me to wonder whether the two concepts (crime and justice) are exact opposites of each other. Are they mutually exclusive? Why not simply ‘Crime and Justice’?

Just as in the well-known phrase, one man’s meat is another man’s poison, so one man’s crime can be another man’s justice, and indeed vice versa. How else could you explain miscarriages of justice, judicial decisions based on prejudiced information or opinion, vigilantism, or the ramifications of political protest, whether violent or non-violent?

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Black ’47, Bob and Me

Image of a pair of glasses on a book

The Roving Reader Files


Get yourself a coffee and sit down. Here’s another intriguing tale behind what looks like an innocent volume parked on the Centre’s shelves…

Image of Black 47 coverHave you seen Black ’47. Britain and the Famine Irish by Frank Neal, with its bleak black and white cover and title printed in green? Haunted by the image of a gaunt famine-starved couple with a baby, it doesn’t look a relaxing read. Published in 1998, it appeared during the 150th anniversary commemorations of one of the most catastrophic transformational experiences ever to scar the collective psyche of any community in the world – the Great Irish Famine of the 1840s.

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