Collaborating with the Welsh Refugee Council - Cardiff-based Social Documentary photographer Nigel Pugh formulated his ‘Creating Sanctuary’ project to enable six volunteers from across Wales to share their story and experience of working with refugees in Wales.

Image © Nigel Pugh
Image © Nigel Pugh
Creating Sanctuary looked to identify fundamental human commonalities based around the loose theme of home, work and community, what they mean to us and bring to our lives. Beneath that lay the common thread of purpose, security, family, friends, creativity, camaraderie, healing, sharing loss and grief. In an ‘ideal’ society the ability to access these components is essential when required. The project aimed to illustrate and share those core human requirements, that are being created by those who have volunteered in Wales to assist refugees. Refugees whoever they are, regardless of where they are from, have had those basic human requirements wholly or partly removed. ‘Creating Sanctuary’ also sought to propagate the aspiration that Wales becomes the first ‘Nation of Sanctuary’.
— Nigel Pugh

The resulting exhibition opened in the Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff Bay on Wednesday 31 May 2017 and included the presentation of photographic portraits and quotes extracted from the volunteers text contributions in response to a set of questions. The exhibition coincided with 2017's volunteer week and refugee week.

Having contacted Ffoton early on to let us know the project had been awarded Arts Council of Wales funding, we asked Nigel if he'd be agreeable to recording his thoughts and approach prior to starting photography and again on completion of the work. The audio clips below offer some insight to his enthusiasm, thoughts and intended approach before commencing the work; followed by his reflection on the final process and results.

View more of Nigel's work on his website
Follow him on Twitter @nspugh

Gallery images © Nigel Pugh. Used with permission of the photographer. Podcast images © Brian Carroll

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