Make Your Own English
Albert Potrony, 2019

Exploring language with young adults with experience of forced migration and of being unaccompanied asylum seekers, alongside artist Albert Potrony.

Copyright, 2019, Albert Potrony, LBBD and Jimmy Lee

After conversations with staff in the Leaving Care Team, it was agreed that a project was needed to support unaccompanied young people seeking asylum to be stimulated and build confidence. Many of these young people are vulnerable, have frequently experience trauma and are often keen to move forward with their lives. Most of them tend to speak English as an additional language and have very limited English.

Artist Albert Potrony created a five day-long project exploring language and ways to create communication props and strategies using making, performing, public interventions, photography and film.

The work took place in a council social care space which all the young people had previous experience of visiting. Together the group worked outside in the locality filming, performing, and experimenting with communication devices. They travelled into central London to visit Tate Modern where they saw work by the artist Franz West. The project ended in the Town Hall Council Chamber where the group performed and shared their work together.

"These sessions are a social space in which you can see this person in a slightly different light. A space where another type of relationship can come up – still a professional relationship – [but] where different things can be learned." (Albert Potrony)
"When I came to the group, I saw different children. A more natural environment. They weren’t sitting in an office, trying to explain why they are here. I do think it humanises children." (Social worker)
Albert Potrony

Albert Potrony is an artist with a participatory practice examining ideas of identity, community and language. Albert is interested in generating social spaces through his projects, and participation from diverse groups and individuals is a key element of his work. His most recent exhibition is Equal Play, BALTIC, 2021. Albert has worked on participatory projects for galleries and museums including Tate, Serpentine Galleries, Whitechapel Gallery, South London Gallery, Gasworks, Camden Arts Centre, V&A’s Museum of Childhood and The Foundling Museum, Louisiana Museum, Serralves Foundation and Fundacion PROA.