Doors Open

Doors Open created a moment-in-time picture of Greater Pollok, Doors Open was a project that took place in The Village Storytelling Centre based in St James’ (Pollok) Parish Church in South West Glasgow. It created a picture of Greater Pollok, at a moment in time, by bringing together younger and older people to share their stories and memories. Students from Rosshall Academy interviewed asylum-seeking adults, and students from St Paul’s High, who were themselves from asylum-seeking families, talked to Glasgow-born adults.

Both sets of interviews invited speculation about what makes good communities, how we might have lost them and how to bring them back. The project evolved to ensure that all residents within Greater Pollok were being heard. The housing of many asylum seekers in Kennishead flats in the area created a need to find tools for integrating communities by promoting understanding and awareness.

The Doors Open project was co-sponsored by The Heritage Lottery Fund, Integration Resources Fund and Glasgow City Council.

The project took place over two years and resulted in the publication of a book. This was distributed to all secondary schools in Glasgow and supported by associated visits from storytellers. Copies of the publication Doors Open can be obtained by contacting The Village or the Open Doors website – also background information, extracts, commentary and links to other organisations.

Doors Open (Edited by Liam Stewart). Interviews and conversations between local people and asylum-seekers living in Greater Pollok, Glasgow, including the trauma of asylum, old communities and new communities, and friendships formed across racial divisions. (£2.50)

Key success factors

The Doors Open Project was timely and worked well because it addressed a real need within specific communities. It got people talking, created introductions and broke down barriers. Project participants enjoyed seeing each other when out and about locally. One older interviewee explained how just recognising a face amongst a pool of young people was a great comfort. As an organisation The Village gained a number of new volunteers, as well as being able to offer some of our valued and regular volunteers new opportunities and experiences.

When the Village received a visit from HMI Inspectorate of Education it was the recipient of some glowing tributes – “The Village Storytelling Centre is a remarkable community-managed project. It has demonstrated significant growth in self-confidence and self-awareness as well as understanding the challenge of racism and sectarianism.”

Other publications you can find under Resources on their website are Buffalo Horns, a collection of traditional stories from the asylum seeking and refugee communities of Greater Pollok, and Village Stories – the creative writing of local people and asylum seekers.