Bishop Street Methodist Church

Art at the Chapel Explorations into Art and Spirituality

Poetry Workshop

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Journey’s … in Translation

We were very happy to welcome Ambrose Musiyiwa who led a fascinating and thought provoking poetry translation workshop at Bishop Street last week. Engaging with the poems from ‘Over land, over sea’ in this particular and unique way led to very interesting discoveries and insights. It also allowed us to connect to the poems and the subjects they covered such as, journeys, belonging, feeling or not feeling welcome and the concept of home. The workshop went perfectly with our current exhibition No Crib for a Bed which also seeks to challenge us to imagine what we ourselves would feel like if we were forced to flee our homes and travel to an unknown country in order to try and keep ourselves and families safe.

 – Please scroll down to see photos taken by Ambrose Musiyiwa

and read his press release about this event –



Journeys in Translation held its first poetry translation workshop at 

Bishop Street Methodist Church on 1 December.

The workshop looked at “Over Land, Over Sea: Poems for those seeking refuge” (Five Leaves Publications, 2015 and the 13 poems from the anthology that the project is encouraging people to translate into other languages.

Workshop facilitator, Ambrose Musiyiwa says: “Journeys in Translation creates space for conversations between languages and cultures on the themes of home and how we receive those fleeing conflict and persecution.  

“The workshop is the first in a series we are looking to facilitate with groups and communities that have people in them who are bilingual or multilingual or who are learning another language.

“At the workshop that was held at the Bishop Street Methodist Church, there was a very interesting discussion about why the people who took part in the exercise chose to work on the poems they did; the languages they chose to translate the poems into; what they thought about the poems; and how aspects in some of the poems translated or did not translate directly into Spanish, German, Italian, French and Chinese.”

The workshop also coincided with the opening of “No Crib for a Bed”, an exhibition of images and reflections by Lizzie Hartley. The exhibition reflects on the the ‘last bit of the Christmas story’ when Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus had to flee to Egypt, becoming refugees themselves. The images bring the story to life in a contemporary way. They also link Jesus’ and his parents’ experiences of being refugees with the present day experiences of asylum seekers and refugees in Leicester.

Journeys in Translation will culminate in an event that will be held in Leicester on International Translation Day, 30 September 2017, as part of Everybody’s Reading. During the event the original poems and translations will be read and displayed.

Ambrose Musiyiwa, says: “We encourage those would like to take part to translate, in whole or in part, as many of the 13 poems as they would like to and blog or share their translations and reflections on translating on social media.

“If translators are not able to get to Leicester for the Journeys in Translation event, they can organise a similar event in their locality and let us know how the event goes.

“We are open to working with people everywhere. Currently we have people who are working on the translations in England, Sweden and Zimbabwe. We have had offers to translate poems into Arabic, French, Greek, Hungarian, Italian, Polish, Shona, Spanish, Welsh and Yoruba.”

Journeys in Translation co-organiser, Emma Lee says: “Journeys in Translation builds on the success of the Journeys Pop-up Poem Library which saw poets give out postcards featuring poems from Over Land, Over Sea at Leicester Railway Station during Everybody’s Reading 2016.

“In total 800 postcards were given out to encourage commuters to read, reflect and talk about current and historical journeys taken by people seeking refuge.

“We are now looking at translating the poems to give them as wide an audience as possible and to encourage reflection, across cultures, on the themes the poems explore.

“Anyone interested can join the Journeys in Translation Facebook group or contact one of the organisers.”

“Over Land, Over Sea: Poems for those seeking refuge” was edited by Kathleen Bell, Emma Lee and Siobhan Logan. The anthology is being sold to raise funds for Doctors Without Borders/ Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), Leicester City of Sanctuary and the Nottingham and Nottinghamshire Refugee Forum.

Copies of the anthology are available from De Montfort University Bookshop (Leicester) and Five Leaves Bookshop (Nottingham).


[1] “Over Land, Over Sea: Poems for people seeking refuge” features 101 poems that respond to current and previous refugee crises. The anthology reaches out to people seeking refuge and is being sold to raise funds for Doctors Without Borders/ Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), the Nottingham & Nottinghamshire Refugee Forum and Leicester City of Sanctuary.

[2] Copies of the anthology are available from Dmubookshop Leicester and Five Leaves Bookshop (Nottingham).

[3] More information on “Journeys in Translation” is available at

[4] “No Crib for A Bed”, Lizzie Hartley’s exhibition runs from the 1st of December 2016 through to the 3rd of January 2017. More information on the exhibition is available from the Bishop Street Methodist Church’s Art at the Chapel:

Author: artatthechapel

Art at the Chapel is full of information on upcoming Art Exhibitions and Events at Bishop Street Methodist Church, Leicester. Art at the Chapel is for anyone interested in explorations into Art and Spirituality

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