Coat of Many Words, included a series of workshops, weaving together the personal memories, experiences and stories of members of migrant communities living in Liverpool. The narratives told were then built into a unique historical garment, which went on display at World Museum, and formed the focal point for Coat of Many Words: Migrant Stories, a discussion event where people who have travelled from the Arab World and elsewhere around the globe, now living in Liverpool, shared personal journeys in their own words.

Engaging men, women and young people of Arab origins, the cloak was made up of small cuts of fabric designed with authentic Arab crafts. Written into the fabric were short sentences, the words of audience members and event visitors from diverse ethnicities contributed to the cloaks messages. The final creation is symbolic of Liverpool welcoming migrant communities and celebrating diversity and multiculturalism.

This project explored people from Arab countries’ journeys to the UK focusing on special memories they have of home. Participants were encouraged to bring in a piece of fabric that means something special to them and to sew inspirational words/quotes/stories or images on the fabric to tell their special memories of home. The fabric collected was used to create a collaborative coat that can be seen as something inspirational and positive to the community.

Working with over 120 participants from across Liverpool, workshops were held at Liverpool Arabic Centre, among other places, and encouraged attendees to reflect on their special memories of their homeland and also what makes Liverpool special. Participants were from Syria, Yemen, Libya, Sudan, Iraq, Pakistan, Somalia, Algeria, Morocco, France, Ireland, Bangladesh, India, Brazil and the UK. During Liverpool Arab Arts Festival, workshops were also held at Liverpool Central Library.

Read about the Coat of Many Words in our 2017 festival brochure