Case Studies

Asian Women’s Textile Group

  • Artform(s):
    Embroidery-based activities
  • Commissioner(s):
    Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery
  • Funder(s):
    Birmingham City Council
  • Venue(s):
    Various community venues, hospital wards and museums in Birmingham
  • Duration:
    Ongoing
  • Health Need(s):
    Positive mental health in relation to isolation and loneliness
Summary:
The Asian Women’s Textile Group provides therapeutic arts and craft sessions for South East Asian women aged 18-64.

Project Information

The Asian Women’s Textile Group provides therapeutic arts and craft sessions for South East Asian women aged 18-64. Hosted by Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery, it now hosts seven clubs (five which are weekly) in community venues, hospital wards and museums, and engages women in a range of embroidery-based activities.

This unique arts and health service is one of the only providers of mental health services for this section of the community, and people can self referred or be referred by health professionals. People who identified at being at risk of experiencing mental health issues can also be referred. A specialist artist leads the sessions but they also incorporate peer education sessions where they share embroidery and textiles skills.

The informal sessions are designed on the feedback, which emerges from consultation with the women. They decide upon the projects they want to do during the sessions and a wide range of work has been produced including silk painting, embroidery, knitting and crochet. Sometimes the sessions are accompanied by other therapeutic services such as aromatherapy or adult education sessions. The work is exhibited at public exhibitions in the city including Artsfest and Arts all Over the Place. They also have stalls at community events, and recently they have launched a social enterprise company and launched an independent peer support led group for women over 65.

The two-hour sessions are facilitated in a way, which nurtures a support network amongst the group of women. There are very few outlets where the women can receive positive support and the sessions also provide a forum where the women can discuss other health issues such as diet, mental health and challenging stigmas associated with mental health. Most importantly, the sessions offer a chance for the women to stop living in isolation and reduce feelings of loneliness.

BMAG colleague: "it's a great & positive way to get the ladies involved in something with a creative outcome."

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