Monday 14 & Tuesday 15 March 2022
Online on Zoom

£15 single day for independent artists/residents of Royal Borough of Greenwich
£28 both days for independent artists/residents of Royal Borough of Greenwich
£25 single day for individuals from organisations
£45 both days for individuals from organisations

All prices include an Eventbrite booking fee

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033 0500 2020

Embrace –
Professional Development Training

Join Protein for two days of interactive online training focusing on engaging and working creatively with asylum seekers, refugees, migrants and displaced communities.

Develop your understanding and skills in delivering and supporting artistic and performance led projects and learn about your role and responsibilities from speakers across the cultural sector. Embrace, Protein’s ongoing professional development programme, includes practical and reflective work and allows space for sharing and discourse around working in or practising dance today.

Guest speakers include Counterpoints Arts’ Emily Churchill Zaraa, independent artist Aida Silvestri, Phosphoros Theatre’s Kate Duffy-Syedi and Syed Haleem Najibi, Legal Case Worker Maya Thomas-Davis and Protein’s Artistic Director Luca Silvestrini.


Monday 14 March

Please note all times are UK time (GMT)

9.30am – 9.45am: Log-in and welcome
9.45am – 10.00am: Morning stretch with Protein
10.00am – 11.00am: What is a refugee? Understand the legal definitions, processes and systems of people seeking sanctuary in the U.K. with Legal Case Worker, Maya Thomas-Davis.
11.00am – 11.15am: Break
11.15am – 12.15pm: How do you give voice to the voiceless? Aida Silvestri’s work explores new and unique approaches to documentary photography to raise awareness, give voice to the voiceless and to promote acceptance within communities.
12.15pm – 12.30pm: Break
12:30pm – 1.30pm: What to consider when working with refugees? Emily Churchill Zaraa from Counterpoint Arts shares useful tips and advice.
1.30pm – 2.00pm: Reflection and End

Tuesday 15 March

9.30am – 9.45am: Log-in and welcome
9.45am – 10.00am: Morning stretch with Protein
10.00am – 11.00am: Sharing and shaping stories. Protein’s Artistic Director Luca Silvestrini talks about the company’s work around migration, from Border Tales to There and Here, a performance led project with refugees and asylum seekers.
11.00am – 11.15am: Break
11.15am – 12.15pm: How does co-creation work? Kate Duffy-Syedi and Syed Haleem Najibi from refugee theatre company Phosphoros Theatre are interested in creating brave and caring work with people who have been displaced. In this session, they will share reflections, strategies and advice around co-creation and inclusive arts work with refugee participants. They will consider ethical, practical and methodological questions and provide opportunity for asking questions.
12.15pm – 1.00pm: Reflection, Evaluation and Close

Guest Speakers



Maya Thomas-Davis is a legal case worker for United Voices of the World, a grassroots trade union for low paid, migrant and precarious workers. Prior to this role, Maya lived and worked in Greece as advocacy officer for Legal Centre Lesvos, a non-profit organisation providing free and legal information to migrants who arrived in Lesvos by sea. Maya has articles published in Al Jazeera, The Independent, The Guardian and Open Democracy. She was born and raised in Greenwich and is still resident in the borough.

Aida Silvestri is an interdisciplinary artist and educator of Eritrean descent. She creates mixed media artworks that challenge the status quo of stigma, prejudice and social injustice concerning race, class, identity and health, often combining text, image and experimental techniques to manipulate the photographic surface. Using innovative modes of mixed media portraiture, Silvestri’s celebrated projects Even This Will Pass (2013 – 2014) and Unsterile Clinic (2015) respectively address people trafficking by highlighting the dangerous journeys undertaken by economic and political refugees and advocate for survivors of gender-based violence by drawing attention to the widespread practice of female genital mutilation. Both projects were part of solo exhibitions in London, respectively at Roman Road Gallery and Autograph. She has exhibited in local and international group shows and her works are held in the collections of the Sainte-Clotilde; Musée National d’Histoire-aux-Poissons, Arendt & Medernach, Museum of Fine Art, Houston (USA), Los Angeles Country Museum (USA) and Autograph, London (UK) and private collations.

Emily Churchill Zaraa is Refugee Week UK Coordinator at Counterpoints Arts. She has a background in media, music and community work and previously coordinated My Journey, a multimedia storytelling project at Migrants Resource Centre. She is a singer and songwriter, previously with Arabic fusion band Raast. Emily has a BA in Arabic and Development Studies and an NCTJ qualification in print journalism.

Luca Silvestrini is founder and Artistic Director of award-winning Protein. He is known for his unique style combining choreography, text, humour and social commentary to present the everyday in revealing and subversive ways, on- and off-stage. Through Protein’s Real Life Real Dance programme, Luca has created ground-breaking participatory performance opportunities for disadvantaged and disengaged people in alternative provision schools, care homes, hospitals and refugee centres. He has won a Jerwood Choreography Award, a Bonnie Bird New Choreography Award, The Place Prize Audience Award and received a Rayne Fellowship in 2020. He has recently been awarded the prestigious Premio della Critica by the Italian Associazione Nazionale Critici di Teatro for his work in dance. Luca is an Affiliate Artist at The Place.

Kate Duffy-Syedi studied at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama in Drama, Applied Theatre and Education and subsequently gained experience working with marginalised youth and young adults in arts, criminal justice, housing and education settings. After first becoming engaged in refugee activist work in 2009, since 2012 Kate has worked with the North West London refugee community in various project management positions including mentoring, youth work, housing and advocacy (predominantly with unaccompanied minors). She is also part of the founding team of Springboard Youth Academy, a trauma-informed education Charity for refugee youth in London. Kate has an MA in Migration and Diaspora Studies from SOAS and is currently a LAHP (AHRC) funded PhD candidate at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, where she also lectures in Applied Theatre. Kate frequently collaborates with Phosphoros Theatre Company as part of her PhD practice research, including with the audio-narrative project Stories for Sleeping. Kate oversees Phosphoros’ participation work, including Phosphoros Young Company and Phosphoros Sisters.

Syed Haleem Najibi is a performer, youth worker and activist focussed on creative work with refugee and asylum-seeking young people. He has worked with ‘Theatre of Sanctuary’ Phosphoros Theatre as an actor since 2015 and now also works across their Community Engagement projects and sits on their board of trustees. Originally from Afghanistan, much of Syed’s work reflects on his background of being an unaccompanied child refugee, and he regularly speaks at events and in the media about his lived experience. Alongside his work in the arts, Syed is completing an MEng in Sustainable Energy Engineering at Queen Mary University of London.

Accessibility and Using Zoom

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