By Sukh Ojla
Workshop 2: Held at The Woodville on Thursday, 15th October 2015
We had nine participants for this workshop, including two women in their 20’s and a male participant. The majority of attendees were in the 40s and early 50s, including the two women from the previous workshop. Because of the larger group Abdul and I went back to the original planned workshop structure. We started off with a name game in order to ease into ip the workshop. Most people knew each other or at least of each other as it’s a fairly small community.
In order to get the discussion going Abdul and I presented the group with some statements and asked them to move to opposite sides of the room depending on whether they agreed or disagreed with them. We used a mix of light hearted statements and some more controversial ones i.e “Interracial marriages are more likely to end in divorce.” This exercise led to a lot of lively discussion between the group. It was very useful that the group was made up of outspoken and confident people who were not afraid to voicing their opinions. Again, we heard a lot of conservative views but what was interesting was the number of women who spoke of unhappy marriages, alcoholism within the Indian community and the difference between how men and women are treated within the home. These were recurring themes along with the recent election of the President of local Gurdwara (Sikh temple).
We ended the session with two questions:
“If there is a story to be told about Gravesend what would it be?”
“Which story wouldn’t you like told about Gravesend?”
The participants unanimously agreed that the success of this close knit community should be shown. They all felt proud of the achievements of the first Indian people to come to Gravesend from India. They were all adamant that they didn’t want the negative aspects of Gravesend shown.
Towards the end of the session one of the participants felt that she wanted to speak about some of the subjects that came up in depth, such as mental health issues within the community and I have arranged to meet with her next week.