Corey and his Great Grandfather

This is my eldest son Corey now, and his great grandfather, John Valentine Britton, over 100 years ago. As a mum it is strange looking at a photo that is over a century old and seeing the face of Corey peer out. Quite uncanny…and fascinating.corey-and-great-grandfather
Corey wrote and played the guitar part on our ‘My Ancestors were?’ project song, the closing track on the Auricula Suite album – My Ancestors were French. You can hear it here…

The Auricula Suite is an album of songs telling a re-imagined story of a historical journey to a new land. Inspired by folk tales of the alpine flower – the Primula auricula – and its 16th century journey to England with the Huguenot refugees, it is a tale of love and loss, persecution and a new beginning.

The Auricula Suite Album is released on the DHM record label on March 6th 2017 and will be available to download on all the usual digital outlets.


Film editing this week

editing mawf
Interview with Richard and Louise

We spent a day last week editing the My Ancestors were French Celebratory Event film at the Lincoln School of Media. Janice had done a great job putting a draft together. There’s just a bit more to do. Quentin is working on the Refugee Week workshop film which is nearly ready too.  Looking forward to seeing the finished films.

Refugee Week Workshop Poems and Illustrations

Adam's Tree
Adam’s Tree

Here are some of the beautiful poems and illustrations created at our My Ancestors were French workshop at Creator College for Refugee Week.

Click on an  image to enlarge and scroll through…

Lilybeth’s Poems

Lily Writing

Goodbye Loved Ones

I’m leaving now
I’m going away
To my lovers
I can’t stay
It’s not you
It’s just me
A new country
That is me
A fresh start
A new life
A different culture
Will shine bright
Goodbye my friends
I’m going now
A new life
I start now


My name is Lily
I’m a flower
With flower power
With my personality
I shine bright
Share my story
It’s my life
In new places
I share life
What I have
Is my personality
I am polite
In new places
What I offer
It’s my name
Lily the flower

Lily's Poem in Colour

By Lilybeth Goodwillie

Free Workshop and Exhibition for Hull Refugee Week

Would you like to come to a FREE workshop and exhibition on Wednesday June 19th 2.30 pm – 4.30 pm at Creator College, 6-8 King Edward St, Hull, HU1 3SS, UK

We use music, poetry, local film and storytelling to look at what it feels like to come to live in a strange land, and how music can bring people of different cultures together, overcoming adversity and creating something good and new.

Run by Mandi and Lou, it will be easygoing and there will be tea and biscuits. All welcome, just come along on the day but note that there are stairs up to the venue.

It’s all part of the Heritage Lottery Funded All Our Stories scheme, in support of BBC2’s ‘The Great British Story – A People’s History

Part of a series of workshops, which will contribute to the archive of stories and work created for the ‘My Ancestors were French’ project.

Dilzar creating a soundtrack for the film

There will also be a free My Ancestors were French gig (The Auricula Suite) at 7.00 pm. All welcome, come and join us!

Please note that there are stairs up to the concert room, and as yet no lift.

My Ancestors were French Workshop
My Ancestors were French Workshop
A Huguenot, and feedback
Workshop Circle

Click here to see the full Refugee Week Programme


Here we are, we’re getting ready for our My Ancestors were French celebration event tomorrow, May 4th.


We’ll be setting up the venue, Willerby Methodist Hall, from 2pm and meeting up with the team from Lincoln University who are coming to film it.

The event kicks off at 4 pm when Amanda and Louise will be delivering a workshop, and then from 6 pm the exhibition will be open. There will be viewings of Quentin’s project films and Richard’s photos will be displayed with all the poetry, art and stories created at the workshops.

There will be an auricula theatre and flower display with Abby’s illustration and the Huguenot painting. To top off the day there will be a live performance of The Auricula Suite starting at 7.30 pm.

Primula auricula

Our Workshop Film

Thanks to all who have been to our workshops. We thoroughly enjoyed meeting everyone. There was lots of excellent conversation and the amount of superb work created –  poems, stories, drawing – was amazing.

Quentin made this short film of Amanda and Louise and the participants at the Willerby Methodist Hall session, so you can see what went on.

We used music, poetry, local film and storytelling to explore the themes of the My Ancestors were French project. It was easygoing, no pressure and we had lots of good discussion over tea and biscuits.

It’s all part of the Heritage Lottery Funded All Our Stories scheme, in support of BBC2’s ‘The Great British Story – A People’s History’

Work produced at the workshops are displayed at the project exhibitions celebrating the stories uncovered and work created for the ‘My Ancestors were French’ project.

Richard took the photos.

A Huguenot, and feedback
A Huguenot, and feedback

Not alone, Refugee…

The lovers in our story, Valentina and Raoul, have been torn apart when Valentina escapes from persecution during the Reformation and comes to live in England, while Raoul stands by his faith and stays in France, facing an uncertain future, possibly death.

This song is Raoul’s story. He is so sad now that his lover has gone, but looks up at the heavens and feels comfort in knowing that wherever she is, she’ll look up and see the same moon, the same stars…

…The Same Sky

I don’t know where you are
But I guess where you’ll be
Under the same sky as me
Where you’ll be, well I guess
‘Cross the cold northern sea
Follow the same star as me

Now you’re gone

In a strange land you are
But not alone refugee
Under the same moon as me
Where you’ll be, well I guess
But I know what you’ll see
See the same sky as me

Now you’re gone

I don’t know where you are
But I guess where you’ll be
Under the same sky as me
Where you’ll be, well I guess
Growing flowers for me…

I feel the same sun!

Under the same sky

The Transit of Venus

© 2012 Duffy-Howard

Thomas’ Ancestory


My Ancestory

Living in Scotland
Wind whistling through the air
Waves crashing against the shore
Sea air filling your lungs
The sweetest of smells
Nervous but excited
Moving away

I looked out for a final time at the waves crashing against the shore. The wind whistled through the morning air. We were moving to Hull today. I was nervous but excited at the same time. How most people feel at the start of a new adventure.

A small tear formed in my eye as I pulled open the car door, with a clang.

Living in Scotland
Moving to Hull
Tears in my eyes
Nervous and excited
Moving for job
Leaving everything known
Leaving everything loved
Leaving everything behind
Get into car
Close the door
Nine years old.

By Thomas Tilney