Artist Marina Velez has been working with residents of HMP Peterborough and the community of Ravensthorpe and Westwood in creating a new piece of work Conversational Placemats. The project consisted of four workshops held in the newly opened WestRaven Big Local Community Café.

Within these workshops participants were encouraged to come together, join in conversation and come up with words that would be designed onto placemats. These placemats were then used in a celebratory-shared meal to spark discussions between dinners.

“Doing the project Conversational Placemats in Peterborough was a fantastic experience. The first workshops with the inmates of HMP exceeded my expectations. I was met with intelligent, inquisitive and brave women who spoke their mind and were not afraid to explore difficult topics but equally unafraid of having fun in the process. I was very moved by the intensity and depth of the conversations that happened during the workshops and I would like to express my gratitude to the participants. 

The third and fourth workshops with the people at WestRaven Community Cafe were a celebration of what can be achieved if we work collaboratively and support one another. The people of WestRaven showed unity, warmth, friendship and the power of uniting under a common goal.”

The works shown in this exhibition are a selection of placemats produced by participants and a short film produced by Marina about her experience.