Havens in a heartless world: establishing safe places and spaces for intergenerational discussion amongst Bristol’s Somalis about identity, culture and family conflict.
How can intergenerational dialogue within the Bristol Somali population be facilitated in order to address outstanding issues of mental well-being?
It is well established that many members of Bristol’s Somali population are subject to a combination of stresses which make their lives particularly difficult. Communication between children, parents and grandparents about difficult emotional issues attending their adjustment to life in Britain is often constrained and sometimes non-existent. Unresolved, conflicts around individual identity, peer group pressure, gender roles and religious and cultural traditions can undermine family relationships and people’s mental well-being. As one Somali parent recently opined, worries about children succumbing to gang culture and drug use can lead to parents sending children to madrassas after school, leaving no time for parents and children to get to know one another.
What did the project involve?
The project explored how intergenerational dialogue within the Bristol Somali population can be facilitated in order to address outstanding issues of mental well-being. This project experimented with new modes of promoting discussions within families by building on strong Somali traditions of storytelling and to combining these with the critical insights gleaned from sociological and historical research and therapeutic practice. Organised by Madge Dresser, a series of workshops, performance, and a radio programme formed one strand of the locally oriented programme around telling untold stories which was planned as part of the Journey to Justice initiative in Bristol in October 2017.
Who are the team and what do they bring?
- Madge Dresser (Journey to Justice / University of West England) has extensive experience as a social and oral historian and led an HLF funded project on the history of ethnic minorities in Bristol as well as organising two conferences on Somalis in Britain in 2010. Her research strengths are the History of Atlantic Slavery, History of ethnic minorities in Britain, slavery and memory, gender history and public history.
What were the results?
All the sessions formed one strand of the locally oriented programme around telling untold stories was part of the Journey to Justice initiative in Bristol in October 2017. The development of this project into the wider Journey to Justice initiative can be read about on the site Journey to Justice Phase 2.