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The Angel FreeHouse and Microbrewery, August 2017

 Hollie McNish during a live collective performance of her You Tube hit  Mathematics  alongside City Librarian and DJ Lil' Rach, Founder of  Acoustickle  music collective Parisa East and Co-Founder of The Welcome Tent Emma Barrett Palmer.  

Hollie McNish during a live collective performance of her You Tube hit Mathematics alongside City Librarian and DJ Lil' Rach, Founder of Acoustickle music collective Parisa East and Co-Founder of The Welcome Tent Emma Barrett Palmer.  

Hope of arriving in my home

We were hugely proud to launch The Welcome Tent tour in Nottingham in August 2017, our adopted home for many years. Poet Mohammad AKA The Dream read again the poem he had first shared with us two years earlier in Calais, his words "hope of arriving in my home, where my tears are my own" articulating the dream of so many. 

Our experiences in Calais and the people we met there had a profound affect on us, and now here we are, having quit our jobs and our lives in the UK, living and working from our van to head on the journey of a lifetime with The Welcome Tent. Behind the scenes in Nottingham, a volunteer crew of people from all over the world, many displaced through conflict, side-by-side with UK residents seeking peace and justice for all. 

One of the best fundraiser gigs I can remember. Sudanese refugee poet M.O. AKA The Dream, I was indeed stunned by the powerful grace and eloquence of his verse, and this is by any standards of World poetry. Massive Love, Respect & Solidarity
— Geoff, Nottingham
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The Legend lives on

The Angel Microbrewery, a beautiful and historic building which has recently undergone its own transformation, was the perfect setting for The Welcome Tent UK which was opened by Robin Hood with support from Nottingham Refugee Welcome Group. Sudanese Chai tea and doughnuts were served on arrival followed by a taster plate ‘Bazinjan’ fried aubergine with peanuts, ‘Foul Madamas’ broad beans with cheese, 'Adas' egg and coriander and spiced lentils. Abdulaziz joined us from his adopted home in Newcastle to prepare the food, shopping locally in the international food shops in Forest Fields. 

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Later in the afternoon was a delicious Persian dish, prepared by Nahid, mum of Parisa, performer and founder of Nottingham-based Acoustickle music collective. Nahid came to Britain as a student in the late 1970s and political problems meant she was unable to return to Iran. She stayed in the UK but would have loved to have returned to her homeland. She prepared ‘Ghormeh Sabzi’, the Iranian National Dish which normally would have lamb or chicken but for us the flavours worked just as well without meat. The ingredients for this stew were kidney beans, fried fresh herbs, dried mint and dried limes and it was accompanied with Saffron rice and Salted yoghurt with rose petal and raisin and cucumber. All of these dishes will be shared in our forthcoming 'recipes of HOPE' book.

But what started with a community who loves food also became a space to celebrate our shared humanity through the other universal languages of  art, poetry, music, dance. The incredible lineup of international artists who performed at The Welcome Tent really speaks for itself. 

With accompaniment from Feras Shoufan, Hamsa Mounif a lead singer with Damon Albarn's Orchestra of Syrian Musicians, opened the day with her first public performance in English and ended with a beautiful medley 'gift' for the Syrian people. Gulwali Passarlay shared his incredible story of travelling to the UK as a child refugee and the huge challenges he faced along the way: this story is captured in his best-selling book The Lightless Sky.  Gulwali continues to inspire us all as he now heads to Coventry University to study a Masters in Public Administration and as recent Co-Founder of My Bright Kite, providing projects and support for young refugees in the UK with a 'Lessons of HOPE' toolkit.  A collective performance of Mathematics, Hollie McNish's poem with over two million hits on YouTube exploring immigration, complimented readings from her recent publications Nobody Told Me and Plum. Parisa East, daughter of Nahid, social activist and Founder of Acoustickle, created musical magic alongside Nottingham based Chai Larden, singer, songwriter, poet and performer. Laura Khoury, age just 17 and recently arrived to Nottingham from the Middle East, performed on the guitar drawing from her own personal experiences of arriving in the UK. 

Equally inspirational were the exhibitions and live art from Laxmi Hussain who exhibited pieces from her incredible 'Blue' Exhibition, from which she will be donating sales proceeds to The Welcome Tent, while creating hand-cut The Welcome Tent prints. A collection of beautiful and timeless Palestinian artisan goods were on sale from Souk. Gladys 'Chav' Harvey's humanitarian art project Paper People were created to the incredible tunes of electronic music producer and DJ Kat Richmond playing global beats from people escaping conflict worldwide. 

These magical moments of spontaneous collaboration were documented through live pen and ink drawing by French artist and UX designer Myriam Weisenfeld which are now on sale as a limited edition set of illustrated postcard art. Contact us for details. 

It was so lovely to meet you, as well as the others. Thank you very much for such wonderful opportunity to be part of such wonderful event
— Salaheddin Abu Ein
 Thanks a lot for everything. It was our pleasure to be with The Welcome Tent -  Hamsa Mounif  with accompaniment by Feras Shouofan. Photo by Duncan Brown. 

Thanks a lot for everything. It was our pleasure to be with The Welcome Tent - Hamsa Mounif with accompaniment by Feras Shouofan. Photo by Duncan Brown. 

 A brilliant, informative and insightful event. We were all inspired by your efforts and dedication. Certainly let’s stay connected and continue your good work -  Gulwali Passarlay . Photo by Duncan Brown.

A brilliant, informative and insightful event. We were all inspired by your efforts and dedication. Certainly let’s stay connected and continue your good work - Gulwali Passarlay. Photo by Duncan Brown.

 Thankyou and so lovely to meet so many of you -  Hollie McNish

Thankyou and so lovely to meet so many of you - Hollie McNish

Mathematics

He says
”those god damn pakistanis and their goddamn corner shops
Built a shop on every corner took our British workers jobs
He says those godamn Chinese and their goddamn china shops
I tell him theyre from Vietnam but he doesn’t give a toss
I ask him what was there before that damn Japan mans shop
He stares at me and dreams a scene of British workers jobs
Of full time full employment before the godamn boats all came
Where everybody went to work full time every day
A British Business stood their first he claims before the Irish came
Now British people lost their jobs and bloody turkish are there to blame
I ask him how he knows that fact he says because it’s true
I ask him how he knows the fact he says he read it in the news
Everytime a Somalian comes here they take a job from us
The mathematics one for one, from us to them it just adds up
He bites his cake and sips is brew and says again he knows the spot
The godamn Carribeans came and now good folk here don’t have jobs
I ask him what was there before the goddamn Persian curtain shop
I show him architectures plans of empty godamn plots of land
I show him the historic maps
A bit of sand, a barren land
There was no goddamn shop before those pakistanis came and planned
Man
I’m sick of crappy mathematics
Cos I love a bit of sums
I spent three years into economics
And I geek out over calculus
And when I meet these paper claims
That one of every new that came
Takes away ones daily wage
I desperately want to scream
”Your maths is stuck in primary”
Cos one who comes here also spends
And one who comes here also lends
And some who comes here also tend
To set up work which employs them
And all your balance sheets and trends
Work with numbers not with men
And all your goddamn heated talk
Ignores the trade the Polish brought
Ignores the men they gave work to
Not plumbing jobs but further too
Ignores the ones they buy stock from
Accountants, builders, on and on
And I know it’s nice to have someone
To blame our lack of jobs upon
But immigrations not as plain
Despite the sums inside your brain
As one for one, as him or you
As if he goes, they’ll employ you
Cos sometimes one that comes makes two
And sometimes one can add three more
And sometimes two times two is much much more
Than four
And most times immigrants bring more
Than minuses.
— Mathematics, Hollie McNish, https://youtu.be/bJX5XHnONTI
 Laura Khoury
 It was so lovely to meet you all, hope we cross paths again -  Laxmi Hussain , artist and creator of The Welcome Tent and humanKINDER logo designs

It was so lovely to meet you all, hope we cross paths again - Laxmi Hussain, artist and creator of The Welcome Tent and humanKINDER logo designs

 Thankyou all very much would love to see you again - Chai Larden and Parisa East, Acoustickle

Thankyou all very much would love to see you again - Chai Larden and Parisa East, Acoustickle

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 Thankyou so much for the invitation to play. I really enjoyed the whole day -  Kat Richmond

Thankyou so much for the invitation to play. I really enjoyed the whole day - Kat Richmond

 Thanks so much everyone. It was a great laugh. I had a great time collecting bodies -  Gladys Chav Harvey, Paper People  and Bagzada King Barber

Thanks so much everyone. It was a great laugh. I had a great time collecting bodies - Gladys Chav Harvey, Paper People and Bagzada King Barber

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Thankyou to the Nottingham based projects who came along to the event. Caroline from Bras Not Bombs is on the look out for a volunteer team and good quality brassieres and knickers for refugees all over the world; Francis is on the look out for guitars for restoration and lessons with refugee communities. Also attending was the Young People’s Project which is part of the Nottingham and Nottinghamshire Refugee Forum and Bill and volunteers from the Nottingham Welcome Group and the Red Cross.

Thankyou to everyone who made this event happen: Ben, Steve and the team at The Angel Microbrewery; Robin Hood for a legendary welcome to Nottingham; Parisa and Geoff for spreading the word; the incredible performers, artists and musicians who gave up their precious Sunday afternoons in between busy summer Festival circuits; David Keys for the amazing piano music in the street outside; Nahid, Abdulaziz and Mohammad who prepared such delicious food; support from the Persian Supermarket in Radford Road and international volunteers who shared the food around. Thankyou to great friends behind the scenes - Duncan for the brilliant photography, Charley, Gib, Rob, Hannah, Sarah, Little Rach, Joshi, Nick 'Beardo' and the techno whatsapp crew. Also thankyou for the inspiration from people who could not be there with us - you were definitely with us in spirit.

 

 
 
 The Welcome Tent - where people arrive as strangers and leave as friends ✌🏽❤️✊🏽

The Welcome Tent - where people arrive as strangers and leave as friends ✌🏽❤️✊🏽