Lily and the baby that is the colour of love

Ruth HartleyAfrica, Displacement, Human rights, identity, Migration, Race, Racism, Songs, Storytelling, The Love and Wisdom Crimes, Writing2 Comments

That song about Lily, the pretty migrant from Djibouti Once again on Tuesday evening, the Krama Singers rehearsed the Pierre Perret 1977 protest song about Lily, who came to France in a ship full of immigrants ready to collect garbage in Paris. It’s a song I’ve grown to love as I’ve grown to love France – though I also see […]

Tears, fears, longing, belonging and living.

Ruth HartleyAfrica, apartheid, Art, Colonialism, Creativity, Displacement, Family, Freedom Fighters, Human rights, identity, justice, Migration, Poetry, Politics, Power, Race, Racism, Religion, South Africa, War, Zambia2 Comments

Why I cried about who I might become “Why do you want to become a French citizen?” I was asked this question at the end of a gruelling two hour naturalisation interview. I burst into tears. “It’s such a difficult and important decision,” I replied, sniffling. “I’ve had to leave too many places I thought of as home. I want […]

What is an identity? How do we identify ourselves?

Ruth HartleyCreativity, Family, Human rights, identity, photography2 Comments

How do we identify ourselves? What is identity? What criteria do any of us use to identify ourselves? Is it appearance? Tribe? Work? Status? Religion? Why do we need an identity? What do we use our identity for? To belong somewhere? To exclude another or many others? What identity do we think we have in someone else’s eyes? We are […]

Issam Kourbaj, artist and mentor – “Dark Water, Burning World”

Ruth HartleyArt, Art Process, Burning World, Cambridge, Creativity, Displacement, Family, Human rights, Issam Kourbaj, Kettle's Yard, Migration, WarLeave a Comment

Wonderful good fortune Sometimes you know that you have been really lucky! I was when I met Issam Kourbaj, a Syrian artist in Cambridge. I can’t remember who told me about Issam’s workshops but I went along to one without a clue about what to expect. Possibly I heard about Issam from someone at Cambridge Artworks where I had a […]

Votes for women, the working classes, men, and the dangers of a single story

Ruth HartleyHuman rights, Politics, Race, Slavery, Storytelling, Votes, Women's suffrage2 Comments

Women, the vote, and the stories told about it 100 years later On March 8th I will join friends to celebrate International Women’s Day. It is always fun. Its great to be celebrating a centenary since British women got the vote. The vote was only for women then, who, like me now, had property – but hold on! 100 years […]