ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) is one of the most important resources for newly arrived people.

This workshop, held on 08 October 2021 and one of our regular Refugee Week & Platforma #MonthlyMeets, explored the role the arts can play in ESOL tuition and consider how these approaches might be shared and developed. It was aimed at teachers, arts practitioners, charities running ESOL programmes and anyone else with an interest in this subject.


Groundwork London and visual artist and educator Dima Karout spoke about the ESOL Plus Arts project, developed in partnership with Counterpoints Arts. The project engaged with 70 English learners and 12 volunteers. Participants joined remotely from across London. Throughout the project art was embedded into the English classes and provided participants with the opportunity and time to express themselves differently and improve their vocabulary and english conversation skills.

Compass Collective, a theatre company who have added regular ESOL sessions to their online workshops with young asylum seekers. Compass Collective is a non-profit theatre company working with people seeking sanctuary. They deliver theatre projects, arts-based professional development programmes, and one-off drama workshops.

Domenica Pecoraro presented Peace Together, a project she led with artist Anna Ray based around drawing, stitch and ESOL undertaken with Syrian families in Kent. Participants had the opportunity to make drawings at home and/or stitch the imagery of others. This gave them time to reflect and brought a sense of togetherness, as they contributed to a collective artwork. Domenica is the Kent Refugee Project Officer for the Diocese of Canterbury. Anna Ray is a visual artist known for her innovative work with textiles. This year she was awarded the Brookfield Properties Crafts Council Collection Award 2021.

Featured image: a collection of art pieces created by the participants during the ESOL plus ARTS sessions led by Dima Karout with Groundwork London.


Refugee Week & Platforma Monthly Meets are free, friendly online meet-ups on the first Thursday of every month, for people interested in arts, culture and social change to share learning and expand their networks.

Platforma is a national network that supports and develops arts by, about and with refugees and migrants, and Refugee Week is a festival celebrating the contributions, creativity and resilience of refugees. Platforma and Refugee Week are run/ coordinated by Counterpoints Arts.

Platforma 6 is an arts and refugees festival that takes place every two years in a different part of England. This October it is happening across Yorkshire and online.