Making the Room Sing
A commission by Amanda Camenisch and Therese Westin in partnership with Asian Women's Resource Centre
Metroland Cultures presents Making The Room Sing, a commission by artists Amanda Camenisch and Therese Westin developed in collaboration with a group of women from the Asian Women’s Resource Centre (AWRC) based in Harlesden, Brent.
Working with sound, textiles, sculpture and poetry as art-making and healing practices, Camenisch and Westin develop collaborative projects that centre the experiences of its participants through a trauma-informed approach. Focusing on facilitating holistic spaces and experiences that become conduits for artistic expression, the artists tend to both individual and collective needs in the process of developing projects and creating artworks with various private and public outcomes.
AWRC is a grassroots “led by and for” charity specialising in delivering services for black and minority ethnic women experiencing domestic abuse. Established in 1980 in Brent, they offer culturally sensitive practical and emotional support in 24 languages, including information on housing, legal advice, access to counselling and advocacy.
Since late 2021, AWRC has been working closely with Metroland Cultures on one of four community-led commissions as part of the Brent Biennial 2022, titled In the House of My Love. Responding to a brief that was collaboratively written as a response to the desires of staff members and service users with support of artist and facilitator A’lshah Waheed, Camenisch and Westin were selected by the AWRC to develop and deliver a series of workshops for the production of a collective artwork to be installed permanently at their safe house.
The selected project, titled Making The Room Sing, seeks to honour the safe space that AWRC has created over their forty year history by providing support, safety and hospitality for women in Brent and beyond. Bringing together textiles, sculpture, instruments and sound produced collaboratively with a group of women over six months, the exhibition at Metroland Cultures is an opportunity to showcase the culmination of this co-creative practice and to highlight the need for empowerment and healing for women experiencing the hostility of domestic and gender-based violence.
Accompanying the exhibition, audiences are invited to participate in two public workshops. Please scroll below for further details.
Asian Women Resource Centre was established over 40 years ago and is a pioneer of services for BME women experiencing domestic abuse. During this time, they have provided life-saving support to women and children who have been affected by domestic abuse, forced marriages, honour based and faith-based abuse. They have evolved over this period, but their core values remain the same. Their strapline conveys what they are doing, day in, day out: changing women's lives. The women they serve inspire them to continue thir work for the next 40 years, leaving a legacy for the local community and beyond.
Amanda Camenisch is an artist and energy healer. Her practice includes photography, film, sculpture and performance. In what she calls “participatory rituals”, she aims to create spaces that allow for active imagination and play to take place. Amanda has often worked with vulnerable groups. She has facilitated instrument building workshops from recycled materials together with refugees and Greek musicians in Athens and has worked on collaborative image making practices together with sex workers. In 2019 she started the project THE SPIRAL, open circles for ventures into hidden landscapes, in which she facilitates open circles, meditation groups, workshops and retreats.
Therese Westin is an artist working with performance, movement and writing. She is also a yoga teacher, facilitating workshops, group classes and individual yoga therapy sessions. Therese spent two years teaching for Ourmala, UK charity offering yoga to refugees and asylum seekers in conjunction with the British Red Cross and Support a Survivor of Torture. Therese has also facilitated workshops in her role as an artist; conducting a weeklong workshop in Athens inviting members of the public to create flags whilst engaging in conversations surrounding nation states, borders and migration. The workshop culminated in a procession of the flags through the streets of Athens.