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Learners from ESOL Café, an organisation providing English language lessons for adults at Chesterton Community College, have created a new animation with artist Lizzy Hobbs.

The participants have been meeting regularly over the winter months to create the new film as part of Open House, Kettle’s Yard’s creative collaboration with our neighbouring communities in North Cambridge.

Inspired by themes from Emma Smith’s 2015 residency, which explored restorative activities, the group shared and represented the breadth of things they do to feel restored and like themselves again.

The sessions were fun, supportive and informal, offering lots of opportunity to practice English skills, learn new vocabulary and be creative. During half term, the participants were joined by their children, who also contributed to the film.

The final animation was screened at a special preview in Chesterton and received rapturous applause and delight from all involved.

Here are just a small selection of feedback from some of the participants.

“Here, I felt like an artist. Simple pictures can touch you. What for me was very important was realising, I realised why it’s so different to live here than Hungary. In Hungary, there are retired people sitting at home and in their garden, their life is quite empty. Others are working hard, and art is missing from their life. I felt art is here [in Cambridge], it makes you more human. I want to take home [to Hungary] this mentality.”

“For me the first session, it was like therapy, we spoke about ourselves and art. I forgot about my language barrier.”

“I was really surprised that I could do something like this, so I would be open to anything. Everything I do is accepted and appreciated. With these people [Kettle’s Yard] I feel like I could do anything!”

“All this is new to me – I didn’t know how to make animation and I think it’s new for the children too. I will go to the Fitzwilliam [Museum] with my husband this evening [for Twilight at the Museums] so he can experience it with us”.

Thanks to Sarah Addams and all the participants and volunteers at ESOL Café who work with Lizzy Hobbs to create this beautiful film.