Leave this site

Survivors’ Knitwork

Inspired by the writings of Nina Burrowes, and the illustrations in her book ‘The Courage to Be Me’ came an exciting project: Survivors’ Knitwork.

The project aimed to bring together survivors of sexual violence, their supporters and the wider community to create a beautiful, communal scarf. As well as highlighting that survivors can be both hidden and comforted the project was also a physical embodiment of the power of sharing, connecting and acting together.

Groups around the country hosted knitting events throughout 2015, culminating in an art installation in January 2016. People got involved either by coming along to one of the events or by sending in a ribbon, a message or other materials to their local host organisation.

Sexual abuse and violence affects all of us and is our shared responsibility.

Emily Skye, Survivor Poet

Survivors’ Network in Brighton held the ‘Casting On’ of the project on Wednesday December 3rd between 11am and 2pm at their drop-in in Central Brighton. Anyone, whatever their knitting ability, was welcome to come along and take part. We provided some knitting needles and wool, but welcomed donations or loans of more needles of any size, and purple wool.

Fabia Bates, Director of Survivors’ Network described the value of the project: ‘For many survivors the idea of being put in a situation where they have to talk can be enormously pressurised. The opportunity to come together in a supportive atmosphere, doing something practical and creative, can be a crucial first step in their healing journey’

Emily Skye, Survivor Poet (author of Ours, 2014) said: ‘Sexual abuse and violence affects all of us and is our shared responsibility. We close off to knowing about abuse and seem to collectively dissociate from our lived social reality. Somehow we are frozen alongside one another in silence, shame, fear and isolation. Yet there is movement, so much movement towards recovery, protection, acting together to change our ways. Survivor’s Knitwork is an opportunity to celebrate and grow this movement. Physically connecting and warming us all in our shared resourcefulness across the UK’