To Walk In Your Shoes (2013)


In 2013 Rachael Munro-Fawcett and Redbobble Arts joined together to form a unique collaboration featuring a documentary photography exhibition and piece of verbatim theatre exploring the topic of what it really means to seek asylum in the UK. With constant negative reports in the media surrounding the topic of immigration, To Walk In Your Shoes focuses on the strength and resilience of the human spirit and challenges the myths and untruths perpetuated by the media.


Funded by Arts Council England

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Imran and her mother 

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Imran and her mother 

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An elderly asylum seeker sits in the corner of a busy room at a charity drop-in centre. There are over 100 asylum seekers gathered at the centre to receive a hot meal and clothing donations. The man holds onto his disposable supermarket bag and rhythmically rubs the wooden beads between his fingers; it’s unclear to me whether this is through agitation or in silent prayer at sitting in a room surrounded by strangers, not yet having found the sanctuary he seeks. 


I see red tulips poking out of the bag pollinating nectar points, and realise that the language of flowers is universal, adorning as they do both the dead and celebrating new starts for the living. I have read that tulips signify perfect love; I pause to imagine what form this love might be taking for him now. The bag also contains a set of papers, possibly his application for asylum. It’s staggering to think that he will be required to condense the enormity of his story so far into a few short paragraphs on an official form and that his tales of hardship and history will play a huge part in determining his right to remain in the UK. I wish for a hopeful outcome, but in my mind’s eye I envisage the ‘DENIED’ stamp hitting his papers. After a lengthy period of being the subject of intense scrutiny and having been given a snapshot into a safer way of life, it may be that, like thousands of others, he will not be granted the chance of becoming a part of this bigger picture. Words by Eden Bates.




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An elderly asylum seeker sits in the corner of a busy room at a charity drop-in centre.

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An elderly asylum seeker sits in the corner of a busy room at a charity drop-in centre.

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