Thursday, 1 December 2011

PCT Multi-Cultural Health & Wellbeing Banners

Having been working in partnership with Liverpool Primary Care Trust  Community Development Workers Team for a few years now, one of our recent collaborative projects has been to create a series of community language based visually inspiring banners to encourage minority communities in Liverpool to explore the 5 Ways to Wellbeing; Take notice, Give, Connect, Be Active and Learn.
 We are finally in the last stage now of waiting for the printing of the banners and their showcasing at the celebration event on 18th December at Toxteth Library.
 We will also be launching a report about our learnings and findings so far from our partnership working and specifically on the great project ‘Lifelines’ that has been developing over the past 18months- a men’s mental health and arts project for people from the minority communities in Liverpool which has informed and runs alongside the ‘stART up’ Project.

The Great Art Project- Garston

We are pleased to share that we have been commissioned by Grassendale Detached Youth Service- Merseyside Youth Association and Friends of Garston Park to work with local residents and several other artists to creatively transform Garston Park, specifically the boarding and vicinity around the football cages.

This is our first partnership with these groups and we are really looking forward to delivering on this, in particular our remit of working around digital arts and empowering the local community to be engaged in and deliver the project with us.
The project will be starting January and we will keep you updated…

Platforma Festival

We have been fortunate to receive support for travel and festival entrance costs from the first national Refugee Arts Festival in the UK. Platforma, for 4 SOLA Artists in Exile to join in the festival this year at the beginning of December,

This is a great opportunity and several SOLA memebers will be actively involved in presenting and working at festival through sharing their creative talents and abilities.

Sounds Of The Streets

 SOLA are collaborating with The Rotunda to deliver a project bringing together young migrants and young people from the south and east of Liverpool, together with other young people from the north end of the city, through sound/audio art, dance and drama.
 We are really happy to be strengthening our partnership work with the Rotunda and bringing new opportunities for these young people. In addition for the project, SOLA for the first time will be collaborating with Kensington Community Radio (KVFM) and Ainfield Breck Community Centre (ABCC) to strengthening our relationship with Merseyside Youth Association to involve young people form their Funds, Young and Involved group for this project.
 SOLA will be delivering audio/sound art workshops and working with KVFM to enable the young people to produce a series of pieces which they will offer to other young people from the Rotunda and ABCC to work with in order to create both dance and drama pieces.

Volunteers & Support

New Volunteer-
Welcome to Emily, a Fine Art student, who is helping us out with general project delivery and who will be working with SOLA participants as part of her 3rd Year art piece. We look forward to this experience and thank Emily for her support in our work.

Thanks to all-
SOLA is predominantly run by volunteers from the refugee and wider communities. As a small community arts charity, who does LOADS of projects every year often on small one-off grant funding or no funding at all, we rely on volunteering and both materials and financial donations.

So, we would like to say a BIG HUMUNGOUS THANKS! To all our volunteers.

Also a big THANKS to Rennies Arts and Crafts in Liverpool for their continued support in materials donations and everyone else who has been able to support us over the years.

Film Making With the Positive Progress Group At MYA

Over the past few years, SOLA and Merseyside Youth Association have worked together in various ways for the benefit of young people across the region.
More recently, we have bee able to strengthen our collaborative projects and MYA have commissioned SOLA to deliver 2 film projects, one of which has involved working with the Positive Progress group and the Mary Seacole House partnership for this.
 We delivered several film, camera work, audio recording and interview skills workshops, using Mac Computers, iPhones and professional video camera. Some fo the participants share some skills already that they are able to update, whilst others where new to this area of creativity and film-making. As a result, the young adults documented the Positive Progress Celebration Conference in mid November, and we are able link and share with other young people from Merseyside Youth Association’s Fund, Young and Involved group. It was great to link with the FYI group as SOLA have worked with them on various past projects, including documenting a conference a year or so ago. So, it was brilliant that both sets of young people could come together to exchange skills and support each other.
 It was a long day, so we are so grateful and proud of all the participants in their efforts and ability to concentrate for the whole event.
Some great interviews were done and we were able to showcase at the conference, a short film highlighting the learning and experiences in the workshops and another showing some of the interviews on the conference day.

A compilation video is currently being produced, bringing the experiences and documentation together, watch this space.
Thanks again to MYA and Mary Seacole House for bringing us on board, the experience has been fantastic and we have really enjoyed making friendships and working with the young people.

Black History Month Arts Workshops

SOLA was once again invited to return the Merseyside Youth Association’s Black History Month Treasure Hunt around the city centre during October this year. This year we were based in Liverpool World Museum and it was a brilliant experience.

We ran workshops based on this year’s theme of ‘Black Music’, where the young people took part in a sound based game to match a range of audio recordings from world musical instruments, with their pictures, such as saz (from Kurdistan), djembe from West Africa(drum), yirediki (dijeridoo) from Australia, shekere from Jamaica and West Africa (percussion), violin from Kurdistan, oud from North Africa, drums from Algeria, as well as others such as guitar.
In addition, participants completed a visual puzzle about these instruments and finally painted one of them, large scale, to take back to their group.
 Facilitator, Tanor Diop a professional djembe artist, also did some djembe drumming with the young people, which went down a treat.
 SOLA facilitators then joined all participants and partners for food at the end of the workshops to celebrate and taste food from around the world.
 The feedback has been fantastic and we look forward to the opportunity of working on the event next year.

4WORD Magazine

We are well on our way now with contributions coming in from around Liverpool and afar. Check out the web blog for a better view of how things are developing our newer site- still work to do there as we move from tumblr to wordpress but nearly there, so bear with us on this.

We are always looking for contributions of writings, visual art, animation, film, all sorts really so long as it is creative. Also, we have free space in the magazine for adverts from ethical business/projects and community groups about what you are up to.

Over the past few weeks our core group has been working really hard to get the magazine online in time for our launch in the celebration event 18th December.
 The group have been working as a cooperative, supported by SOLA. Lots of new skills are being developed by the week, including storytelling and journalism, music making, web blogging, Mac computer use, internet researching, IT literacy in general, marketing, project strategy and creative programmes development, governance, social networking, fundraising, language development and we have been using a range of programmes to increase skill levels including-, Photoshop, Final Cut Pro, Garageband, Sound Studio Pro, etc.


stART up Project Women's Group

Magazine development-

The women have really moved on now, having produced numerous articles about a range of topics from recipes to childcare and culture, asylum issues to Female Genital Mutilation. A range of visual narratives and artwork have also been compiled and we are looking forward to publishing these in the 4WORD online and printed magazine shortly.

A range of other skills have also been developed such as language, marketing and promotion and project development. The women have really been enjoying the experience.

Women's singing group-

Well it's definately coming together now and more and more women are getting involved. The group will be performing in the 18th December event and celebrating the richness of cultures and unity that they bring. A group that started with 3 hesitant, but really with interested women, has grown in numbers to a full choir style set-up. Well done Andrew who has been organising the group as a volunteer, and to Olinga and Emily for their support as volunteers too.

Of course a big thanks to Jan and Siobhan in the Women's Group for helping us make it happen.

ESOL & cookery classes-

Through the support of SOLA staff and fantastic volunteers, we have been delivering informal ESOL class being such an integral part of bringing people from different cultures together, this element of the stART up Project has gone down a treat with the group.
On some days we have had as many as 35 women involved!

One of the various outcomes of this delivery is an opportunity for 3 sets of women to run cookery demonstrations at the stART up multi-cultural celebration event on 18th December at Toxteth Library. There will be a range of food presented and tasting including such as Iranian food. Yummmm!
For this, we are delivering several training sessions in presentation skills and health & safety for the women presenting and really look forward to the event, when we will be able with you to taste the dishes and learn how to cook the recipes.

stART up Music Group

Fun has been had over the last few weeks exploring different music styles from around the world.
We have been using the djembe, saz, oud, violin, bambu/yerridiki (otherwise known as dijeridoo), our voices, wheelchair and many precussion instruments to create some really interesting sounds. To date 5 pieces are being worked on for showcase at our celebration event on 18th December at Toxteth Library. Everyone is welcome (arts workshops 12-4pm and performances  are 6-8pm).

A big thanks goes to Karen for facilitating the group, and Joe, Ciaran and Andrew for being there as volunteers to help out. Could go one thanking everyone on the group but that will have to wait until the event!

Monday, 28 November 2011

stART up

Here is our recent flyer for the upcoming event on the 18th of December.
We have made some interesting developments with the work being produced for our 4word Magazine that will be launched as part of this event so hopefully you can all come along and be part of the celebration and activities!

Thursday, 27 October 2011


Most recently in the past few weeks within the stART up project we have developed 4word which  you can read online at
And coming soon in December also is a printed version.

On December the 18th we will have a big event in Toxteth Library, Windsor Street, Liverpool 8.  There will be performances of published work including poetry, dancing and music.

At the moment every one in the group is hard working on more articles, more music and more to present to you.
Members have been developing more skills in IT, Photoshop, Garageband, web-blogging , textiles and visual arts.

We are looking for contributions and offering ethical groups an opportunity to advertise for free. If you are interested contact us at .


The 'stART up' music group at SOLA ARTS, with the combination of all genders, yesterday met at Toxteth Library to put different sounds together. The aim of the project is to produce a multi-ethnic and cultural music for a big event on December 18th at the library, on Windsor Street, Toxteth, Liverpool 8

The group, under the directive of SOLA is bringing the spirit of togetherness between the refugee and the local communities.
Therefore people from different backgrounds are included in this project, where the idea is to put different sounds together to produce a positive outcome.
Yesterday the group was divided in two mini groups to create their own pieces with the aim of combining the two talents together.

This week ten music group members worked very hard. The group meets every Thursday at the Toxteth Library to develop performances for the event in December.

The idea is not to train the group what to play, but to come up with their own creation of sound by playing different kinds of instruments from different countries and different cultures.

Thursday, 15 September 2011

stArt up project "4WORD"

Since our first meeting in July we did a lot of work on this project. Our group created a name for the project. It's called "4WORD".
We are working on a magazine at the moment which will contain poetry, articles about social issues pieces of artwork.
And also we developed a website where we are uploading our work we have done, so you can follow our progress.

Watch this space: http;//

We will have an up coming event,so watch this space!

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

‘stARTup ‘ project Monday 23th of August (Women’s group)

This Monday we taught the women how to use Apple Mac computers to write their articles and they started to write on their own. Others wrote their recipes down and started to work on the illustrations. Also some women started to design their african style clothes they want to make and begun doing some fine art.
And thanks to the Foodcycle project we had a very nice meal together and berry crumble. Yummm!
Looking forward to the next session!

Friday, 19 August 2011

Women's Group "stArt up" project at 15th of August

The women's group met again last Monday to continue on with their work for their magazine. They carried on writing their articles and recipes, painted pictures and of course had a nice time together.

But we still need donations for the jewellery making women and also for these who want to make clothes. So if you have any beads,fabric especially african style fabric or anything else, you want to donate just contact us!
Thank you very much!

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Cairns Street Market on the 6th of August

On the 6th of August we participated again at Cairns Street Market. It was a nice sunny day. We had a good time at the market.

A lot of children came to our face painting which you can see here. Also some people played live music with drumming and singing.

The next market will be at the 3rd of September. So we hope to see you there!


Friday, 22 July 2011

‘Amnes-tea in the Park’ ; Amnesty’s 50th Birthday (16th July) in Sefton Park

Last Saturday we celebrated the 50th Birthday of Amnesty International in Sefton Park.
 From 12pm to 8pm there was a diverse programme. A lot of different musicians performed at the stage as well as poets and speakers who talked about the Arab Spring and especially about the current situation in Algeria. They also had an film tent, food, and refreshments.
There were many things to do for children like face painting and button making.
SOLA ARTS supported Amnesty International with our own tent where we painted big hands with Arabic henna design and the children also made their own hands out of paper and coffee sticks.
Although it rained pretty much all of the day, we had a great time and a lot of children showed up.
At the end of this event, all people came together in front of the stage with their big and small hands where photographs were taken as a sign for humanity and human rights!

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

‘stART up’ Women’s Group Monday at the 11th July

This Monday we progressed well with the 3rd ‘stARTup’ session for the women’s group. The women started to create photographic work towards their articles, and develop IT, digital arts and Apple Mac skills. Other women continued writing their articles and planning.
This time there were 36 and nine children..

SOLA ARTS supports Amnesty International celebrating their 50th Birthday, this Saturday the 16th July in Sefton Park

This Saturday, Amnesty International, one of the biggest human rights organizations in the world will celebrate its 50th Birthday in Sefton Park from 12pm – 8pm. There will be a fun filled day with audiences, speakers, poetry, music, food, massages, bouncy castle, and kids crafts. 
The focus will be on the Arab Spring Uprising and North Africa. Amnesty will bring all sorts of different musicians and presenters talking about persecution.
SOLA ARTS is working in partnership with Amnesty to support this significant event offering films form our Artists in Exile Group, and poetry & story telling from Pa Madou Bojang who will also hold an audience about persecution of Gambian journalists. As well as music from Anwar originally form Somalia, who will play the Oud.
We also will hold workshops for children to paint a large scale set hands using big Arabic design incorporating the Amnesty logo and small hands to take home.
So bring your children and join us. It will be an amazing and interesting day!
The gathering will be in Sefton Parc close to Boating Lake near to the Palm House but if you don’t know how to get there, follow this link:

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Cairns Street Market on the 2nd of July

Last weekend we participated again on the Cairns Street Market of Granby Street. This time we did a lot face painting because there were more children this time. The mug decoration also went well.

The weather was great and we had a very nice time together as you can see at the pictures.
The market is every first Saturday in the month in Cairns Street in Toxteth.

So, hope to see you there next time!

New youth programme Sounds of the Street starting in August 2011.

In August we will start a new youth programme, bringing young people from the north end of the city (Everton and Anfield) together with young refugees based in the south end.

The young people will explore and exchange experiences they have had on the streets of Liverpool and the sounds around them, but also including those from their home countries.
The program is divided into three stages.

In the first stage they will get to know each other as well as exchange their ideas and develop skills with audio and digital art.  The creative and experiential outcomes of this stage will be presented on the 21st September 2011.

Stage two will be the planning and writing of a theatre piece, which will lead into stage three being the rehearsal and performance of the piece at a recognised theatre establishment in Liverpool (venue to be confirmed).

The Programme is open to people from 11-19 years old. If you would like to participate in this project, contact us!       

Men’s Group : ‘stARTup’ Project first meeting this Friday 8th July.

This Friday we will start the men’s group for the ‘stARTup’.
This project is for men from the BRM and refugee and asylum seeking communities in particular those who are suffering from or susceptible to mental ill-health.

This is an 11 week programme, where participants will be supported to develop creative skills including weblog set-up, graphics, digital art, journalism, desktop publishing, creative business setup and essential IT skills.

The results will be an online magazine and a printed version exploring issues important to participants and showcasing creative work that they have made.
The first meeting will be this Friday afternoon (8th July 2011) from 2.30 pm onwards in SOLA ARTS offices in Toxteth Town Hall. On Friday we will be creating a meeting timetable, so watch this space.

If you would like to participate in this project, contact us!      

‘stARTup ‘ project Monday 4th of July (Women’s group)

This week we started to develop ideas, began to think about the resources needed, and started to plan the articles necessary for our new newspaper project. There were 35 women and 8 children, 4 volunteers involved and we all had a great time!

There have been some great ideas for the magazine articles including hair braiding, how to make jewellery, fashion, wedding traditions, henna, sewing techniques, women asylum seekers and the issues they face, motherhood, healthy eating and recipes, etc, etc, However, to carry out the project in the way that the women would like, we need your support for donations of different coloured fabrics (especially African fabrics) as well as sewing machine cotton threads, hair extensions for braiding and for the jewellery making we need beads in different sizes.

NOTE: It’s important for us to get donations for this project otherwise we won’t be able to carry it out in the way we have planned. So ,please , if you can, donate something!

Aintree Hospital Diversity Festival from the 16 to 21 of May 2011.

This year we invited to participate in Aintree Hospital Diversity Festival, a week long festival from the 16th to the 21th of May.

On the Thursday, we held a mug decorating and myth busting workshop about refugee and asylum seeker issues in the UK.
Also on this day, Anwar a musician from Somalia played the Oud (an instrument similar to the guitar) for a small performance and to create a lovely mellow atmosphere.

On Friday, Alex a puppet theatre worker, Suren from Sri Lanka, Ngawang from Tibet and other volunteers performed a puppet theatre about the story from Tibet.  

Again there were several music performances by Anwar and by Farshad (from Iran who played Kurdish music on the violin), as well as a poetry and storytelling performance by Pa Modou Bojang- supported by Olinga from Germany and Adele from Liverpool. 

It was a great afternoon and we were joined by some other great performers form Liverpool to entertain hospital staff, patients and visitors. 

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

‘Outrospective ‘ digital arts Project from February to April 2011 with The Haven Project

From February to April this year, we held workshops with The Haven Project part of Alder Hey Hospital NHS Trust, where we had digital media and photograph workshops with parents from St Silas C of E School in Toxteth and New Park Primary School in Tuebrook, Liverpool.
In this project thirteen parents, two SOLA ARTS facilitators, one facilitator from Haven Project and two facilitators from the Liverpool PCT Community Development Workers Team were involved.
Participants were supported to explore their environment and develop new photography and digital media skills by developing an artistic view on their everyday life.  Another task was to write texts to describe their own photographs.
The result of this work has been a text based photographic book, which was presented at the end of the project within a celebration held on the 21st and 22nd of June. Well done everyone!

Thursday, 30 June 2011

5. Granby Street Market on Saturday, 2 of July

We participate again at the 5th Granby Street Market this weekend. We will do face painting and mug painting and there will be stuff to sell as well.
It will be from 10 - 4 at Granby Street.
So come along and we have a nice day together !

Here is a map were it will be : Granby Street

Monday, 27 June 2011

Womans Group Meeting today

Today we held the first meeting for the 'stART up' project supporting creative industries skills for refugees, asylum seekers and other memebers of the minority communities. Funded by Community Foundation for Merseyside.
We worked with women from Student Action for Refugees Women's Group. Lots of women were there and as well as having a nice time together we started a new project. We will be making a magazine in printed as well an online magazine!
The womans came up with very interesting ideas today of what they want to put in the it, such as fashion, cultural sharing, social issues, migration, personal stories, etc.
So we look forward to what evolves!

The men's 'stART up' programme will be starting soon, so watch this space...

Monday, 6 June 2011

Granby Community Street Market

We participated again at the Community Street Market near Granby Road.
It was much fun again! This time we did candle decorating and mug painting.

 Every first Saturday in the month we will be there from 10-2.

So visit our table next time! We will be there again.

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Youth Visit and Workshop in the Playhouse Theatre with "The Everyman"

                                                                                     In May 2011 we organized a playhouse theatre visit
and did workshops there with 'The Everyman'.
This was part of their "ENDZ" a touring play.                                                                              

On the 24th and the 31th May there was a visit in the playhouse theatre with a guided tour and drama based workshop.


Indian Dance, Music and Storytelling- a workshop by Chaturangan

On the 31th  May we had a nice dance, storytelling and music happening in the Quaker community resource centre in the town centre!
Bishaka, an Indian lady who runs Chaturangan led the group and presented Indian dance.
We invited many people from different countries and cultural backgrounds and all of them showed their different music and dance styles.
So we danced, shared stories form our cultures and made music, and had a lovely Sri Lankan lunch together.
We learned a lot from each other and enjoyed really making music together with all the different sounds and instruments.

Cairns Street Market

We had a great time with our stall at the street market on the 11th April! We had a nice table stall out on the street and many people came to for face painting for themselves or friends.

We did face painting and hand-made German style candles. It was a lot of fun for everybody, as you can see

We will be doing this event again at June the 4th from 10 - 2  !
This time you are invited to do mug decorating, face painting and there will be a table sale of textiles,
key rings, decorated candles, etc.
So come along and have a nice creative time with us!

Here is the link where you can find us on Saturday:

Granby 3 Street Market

Check it out and hope we'll see you at the market!