The Guelph Wellington Local Immigration Partnership (GWLIP) and Danby Products Limited hosted a vibrant night of theatre and presentations centering around immigration and settlement experiences in Canada on November 25.
From Where House? To Warehouse was the first event of its kind in Guelph, that brought together the MT Space Theatre Company and Artist Hiba Abdallah to light up the Danby warehouse on Whitelaw Road in Guelph. Each component of the event was carefully selected to call attention to different aspects of the immigration and settlement journey in Guelph and Wellington County.
“It’s terrific to see the welcoming that is expanding in Guelph,” says Lloyd Longfield, Member of Parliament for Guelph. “The Local Immigration Partnership brings people together to help more people come into our community, settle, put their roots down, and have a great life here in Canada and in Guelph.”
From Where House? To Warehouse kicked off with MT Space Theatre’s lively and powerful production of “Seasons of Immigration”, dramatizing real-life stories of immigration and settlement told by newcomers to the area, drawing laughter and deep reflection from the audience.
Local artist Hiba Abdallah hosted a presentation that highlighted questions around what it means to be a welcoming community and showed examples of her practice of using public art to expose and connect residents to the Arabic language and culture. Examples of her work included public Arabic lessons taught over video conference by refugees and selling t-shirts with Arabic script that translates to “something written in Arabic” to call attention to public reactions to the Arabic language.
“Within a business it’s actually been shown that diversity increases performance,” says Jim Estill, President and CEO of Danby. “You end up with better ideas [and]…a more robust company and I believe the same thing is true of society. We need multiple cultures, multiple backgrounds. It makes us richer and over time we even forget that we were different cultures and we become one culture.”
The manufacturing sector is the largest employer of immigrants in Guelph and Wellington. Estill has been recognized in the Guelph community for his work to sponsor and support 50 refugee families from Syria. Hosting the event in Estill’s warehouse called attention to the experiences of immigrants and refugees to this area.
A special thanks to all of our volunteers and the Danby staff for making this event such a great success!