Firing the Heart: Tales of Exile and Sanctuary


Bringing together storytellers, refugees, and members from the Oxfordshire community, Fusion Arts hosted Firing the Heart, a vibrant series of masterclasses and community workshops led by storytellers Gauri Raje and Sef Townsend.


This series explored the art of storytelling and what stories mean today, using traditional storytelling modes from cultures around the world to share stories and explore issues around migration, family, community, culture, love, and loss.


Firing the Heart took place in Autumn 2014 at the Fusion Arts studios in East Oxford. The workshops concluded the ‘Inside Out/Outside In’ project, which was funded by The Tolkien Trust, Lankelly Chase, and supported by Oxford City Council.


Exploring themes of exile and sanctuary, take a look at what the sessions involved:



Masterclass 1 Exile Saturday 11th October 2014 10.30am – 4.30pm £20
What is Exile? What is it like to be a refugee? To be forced from your home? Arriving in a strange land and starting again from scratch? Walk in their shoes.
An experiential workshop day in which we look into the whole phenomenon of asylum and the journey of exile. Using materials developed by the UN Refugee Agency, this day will put us into the shoes of a refugee on his or her journey to sanctuary.


Sunday Story Sessions Sundays 19th October – 23rd November 2014 2.30pm – 5pm £15 series of 6 sessions
All welcome / children should be accompanied by an adult. Exploring working with multi cultural migrant groups, these practical and hands-on sessions with stories at the heart take place at Fusion Arts, and run alongside sessions held at Campsfield House IRC.


Masterclass 2 Sanctuary Saturday 29th November 2014 10.30am – 4.30pm £20
Sanctuary – what does it mean? What is involved in the transition from an unsafe space and how do we arrive at a sense of safety? Re-experience and work through ‘story’ as a gateway to one’s own personal journey. Explore what is the place of visual art and craft work in story-telling, particularly with refugees and marginalised communities.