Volunteers Work

The creative research methodologies that VOLPOWER applies were designed to assist volunteers to document their volunteering journeys. The wider significance and concept of the exhibition is the process of learning, and practical skills developments of the young people who engaged with VOLPOWER. Throughout the project our VOLPOWER volunteers engaged with various training workshops and activities, designed to develop skills in forms of digital storytelling, expressive and cultural arts, as well as life and leadership skills.

As the researcher and curator to lead the VOLPOWER creative exhibition, Dr Maggie Laidlaw developed creative activities that VOLPOWER partners delivered across the seven national VOLPOWER Volhubs. These creative activities included poetry, video, photography and podcasting. However, in Glasgow, volunteers used collage as an additional creative method.

This collection of works complement each other in a way that harness the spheres of community where dialogue takes place and multiplicities of time are experienced. The collection captures the role of arts, culture (and sports) in breaking down language barriers and enabling young people to truly connect with one another. The combination of these methods, in turn, allows the viewer to grasp the significance of the illustrated journeys and experiences of the young people in this project. There is a temporal element to all of these creative activities, witnessed within the aspect of the everyday, but also within the processes of learning, belonging and inclusion.

On our digital exhibition page, you will see how our volunteer’s creative contributions are woven into innovative and creative narratives.

12-week Photography

Poetry from Volpower

1-sec-a-day Video Series


Volunteers were invited to contribute photographs responding to various weekly concepts:

The Place around me | Me and my…… | Favourite Things | My Skills | What Makes Me Happy | Diversity | Inclusion | Thinking of VOLPOWER

The camera shutter clicks. A fleeting moment is captured in time as the image disappears and then returns. The captured moment not only represents a visual reference of something physical, it captures an experience: the humanity of the moment. Digital photography and lived experiences juxtapose one another in a temporal process of the kept image: the immediacy of the digital technology, and memory that is captured forever.

The photographic images within this exhibition resonate with, and transport the viewer to a moment in their own lives. The viewer is invited to process each image independently, and then connect the multiple images into a cohesive storyline. The relationship of all the images to each other provide the overall context of diversity, inclusion and empowerment, depicting the everyday lives, interests and journeys of young volunteers across varied social and cultural borders.

Week 1: What Makes Me Happy

Week 2: The Place Around Me

Week 3: Me and…

Week 4: Feeling Good

Week 5: Favourite Things

Week 6: Everyday

Week 7: Diversity

Week 8: Belonging

Week 9: This place around me

Week 10: My Skills

Week 11: Me and…

Week 12: Thinking about VOLPOWER

Poetry from Volpower

Volunteers were invited to engage with creative poetry writing. They were offered guidance and an exercise titled ‘I AM’. Some of our more experienced poets created their own poetic concepts. It may be assumed that volunteers writing from the same exercise would produce rather similar poems, however this is not the case. Our VOLPOWER volunteers are writing from their own experiences and in the first person. Their poems are therefore unique – allowing the personal experiences, spoken by young people themselves, to reveal the purposeful, public nature of their volunteering, while also reflecting the overlapping multiplicities of identity connected to the self and others.

Audio recordings of our volunteer’s poetry accompany the visual elements of our exhibition, incorporating the range of voices held within the project, and drawing on historical and everyday mutual understandings across cultures. The voices of the volunteers speak to the audience, sharing with them the hopeful, and at times contested, nature of diversity and belonging within their communities.

Strong & Confident

by Amy Daly, Glasgow. Scotland

I am strong and confident, but
I wonder about my decisions and what they mean I hear laughter as music
Like a stream to the soul
I see courage lurking within the shadows
And I see
The dancer that I aspire to be

I am strong and confident
Pretending to be the greatest of all time
But in the shadows lurks a little weakness.
I push myself
And stretch to reach those stars in my dreams Is it too much?
Judging myself too harshly?
Then I remember who I am

I am strong and confident
And these opinions are my own ‘Each to their own’ (I say)
I keep on dreaming for that day Success!
When I exceed all expectations The best version of myself!
I am strong and confident.

A Lonely Bird

by ADEWALE, South Tyrol. Italy

I am bird that flies with the wind, all alone.
I wonder why I fly so high, all alone.
I heard a strange sound and ask myself what could that be?
I saw a shadow of something but I couldn’t figure out what it is. I want to end being alone,
I want to be in a circle of birds
And fly together with them

All the Ways

by Asia De Lorenzi, South Tyrol, Italy

I am changeable like the wind.
I wonder about stillness,
about the rooms that never get rearranged,
about the luggage that has never travelled anywhere, about the eyes that don’t feel the urge
to see something different from what they’ve seen before. How do they do that?

I hear the sound of all the different possibilities,
clashing like waves meeting the reef,
overlapping and mixing up as they bounce back in the ocean. I see a million shapes, a million colors,
a million situations, a million lives.
Which one is mine? What is right for me to pick?
Do I really have to pick?

I want to escape boredom and routine, the comfortable glove of settling
that cuddles many and lets go of few.
I am changeable like the wind.

While pretending to be satisfied whit being still I feel shivers and tickles.
Time appears untouchable and I worry
my hands will never be able to hold it.

The memory of most past days has already faded.

I am changeable like the wind.
Understanding that chances life offers are countless,

I say: “Go for it!”,
Dreaming about a continuous flow of intense adventures, like a long chain of fresh fruits to be eaten.
I try to never stop moving even when
the old glove comes back to get me.
I hope I’ll be able to blow away all obstacles gently
and continue the ride until I can.
I am changeable like the wind.

Only Human

by Anisa Zahirović (Croatia)

I am only human
Wanting to love
to experience.
To feel more than we are taught.
I often wonder is there a place under the sun for us hopeless lovers and seekers of the light.

How to say everything that is on my mind? How to put all the love into words?
It gets hard having so much on my mind. But I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

How incredible it is to be a human.


by Fatema (South Tyrol, Italy)

I am blue like an ocean
I hear singing of birds,
I want to be here forever.

I am blue like an ocean.

I feel like you’re here grasping my hand,
I worry not to fall,
I remember walking in a rice field in a foggy winter morning. I am blue like an ocean.

I understand life is beautiful,
I say love can cure every discomfort. I dream of a nest,
I hope you find love.
I am blue like an ocean


by Serena D (Ljubljana. Slovenia)

Walk. Walk.
Do I sleepwalk?
It’s early morning but it’s dark.

Do I freak out when I feel the crowd? Or hear the silence when it’s loud?

Think, a scene is blue and you have no clue But walking again, till I see the truth. Confused by the real.

Do my footsteps think and stop? Or keep walking?

No need to ask
Like they know the road, and go how they feel.

You know, it’s fun
To be the blue one
Who lives the moon instead of the sun.

Bubble of Happiness

Amra Čaušević (Croatia)

I am a bubble of happiness
I wonder where does the happiness come from
I hear people’s laugther
I see people smiling
I want to understand why are they smiling? What are they happy about? But now I understand where does the happiness come from.
I say, it comes from your inside
I am a bubble of happiness.


Anna (South Tyrol, Italy)

I am awake in the middle of the night Wondering why
I hear a loud noise of silence
I see you

I want to hug away those shadows
To take a bath with you in all those colors
The blue of the deepest ocean and the yellow of the sunflower, The lilac of lavender fields
And the unspoiled white of jagged rocks up in the mountains

I am awake in the middle of the night
Pretending to be asleep
I feel so damn full of emptiness
I touch your soul and stroke your cheek
I worry about us, being just blossoms in the wind

I am awake in the middle of the night
Understanding that life is a mystery and our hands are tied All we can do is hug


Khalid (South Tyrol, Italy)

I am like a flower, you hold me tight you lose me, you hold me gently and I become fabulous.

I wonder what is going on in the heart of a lion when hunting for another animal child to feed his own child.

I heard animal crying in the jungle I went out to take a look,

the animal was stuck in hunter trap I wanted to help but no way I will go close that I will not be bitten by the animal

I wish I can speak his language to let him know am trying to help.
I see the evening sun shining and beautiful I just wish I could hug it.

I want to listen to the sound of the rain, the sound of the water and the sound of the sea so I can relax my soul.

I am like a flower, you hold me tight you lose me, you hold me gently and I become fabulous.

I pretend to be fine even when the situation hurt so badly all because I don’t like the word sorry.

I feel the pain and the joy of a pregnant woman I always want to help.

I feel so high that I want to be close to God so when mosquito bites me he will shout there is power in that blood.

I touch the shadow of my face and I can feel the awesomeness of my face.
I worry that the unborn kids will forget the things of the world all because of phone.

I recall when I was I school and my teacher took my phone started reading my text messages looking if I have any love text from girls.

I am like a flower, you hold me tight you lose me, you hold me gently and I become fabulous.

I understand that everyone like to watch the stars but up till date no one knows what they really look like.

I say keep smiling is the key of love.

I dream one day everyone will live in the world and feel equal with no superiority.

I try to always be the best then I realize I may not be the best but am better than the rest.

I hope to be there when you are going to need me most, I hope to be there to hold your hands for the last time, I hope to be there when you say goodbye forever.

I am like a flower you hold me tight you lose me and you hold me gently I become fabulous.

‘When I’m happy’

Leo Mohammed (Glasgow, Scotland)

I am funny when I am happy
I wonder about my tomorrows. Will I be happy then too?
Everyday day I hear my father’s voice, and I see my father’s face
Happiness: A Happy, healthy family
With freedom and security

I am funny when I am happy
And I feel free when I am playing football
I touch the hearts of my close ones Happiness: part pretend, part real.
I worry that I will be a failure in life
But, then I recall my father’s voice,
He always told me, “everything will be alright”

I am most useful when I am happy
‘Everything happens for a reason’, they say,
I now understand that to be true
I believe there’s a light at end of every tunnel
I try not to listen to the negative voices in my head And I hope to make my mother proud
I’d like to think I will.
I am funny, and an achiever, when I am happy.


Miriam (South Tyrol, Italy)

I am love and light
I wonder how others see this world we live in
I hear children laugh
I see hearts full of anger and souls filled with joy
I want all the intense feelings in this pool of emotions

I am love and light
I pretend to know myself and others
I feel love flowing around like a gentle breeze
I touch soft, white clouds and know very well
I am part of a privileged society that is white on the surface too
I worry about the deep sense of transience i sometimes experience,
time goes by so fast
I still remember how I laughed, as a child

I am love and light
I understand that I have the power to do good in this world
I say that love is the universal source we all carry within us I dream about an intense life
I try to experience just that
I hope to hear my own children laugh one day
I am love and light


Mahdi Abdi (Glasgow, Scotland)

I am tired. The day was long at work.
I think about my future, and wonder “Where will I live?”
I hear ‘Corona Virus’ nowadays

It is worrying.
I see a lot of things I don’t want to see
I close my eyes, and wish
For a happy, healthy lifestyle

I am really proud
Of all I have achieved
Some days I pretend to be a musician
I sing my heart out with a smile
This year, 2020, feels great
Everything is going my way
I touch people’s lives
I hope good things for them
I worry about my mother.
A lot
And I remember my dad’s last advice
“Take care of your mother. Be at her side”

I am grateful for everything I have
I understand other people’s problems
I say to kids; “Be confident! Be Yourself!”
I try so hard to change the kid’s lifestyles
I dream a lot, and
I make some of my dreams come true
I hope to go back to my country one day
I have been given so many life opportunities, and
I am so happy


Mofe Obawole (Glasgow, Scotland)

I am loveable. I am fearless and
I am me
I wonder where we go when we fall asleep
I hear me a lot. I hear myself.
Telling myself to push through stress
I see me in five years;
Not too rich. Not too poor.

I put my headphones on, and
I pretend to listen to music – but I am listening,
Listening to people talk
I feel grey
Not happy. Not sad.
I touch the frozen heart of life
I remember
Being left to watch myself grow at age only two
I understand things don’t always work my way,
but I work my ways through things

I say, ‘the moments I spend feeling sad
Can be spent looking for happier moments’
I dream that I will become something, and make myself proud
Fulfilling my social obligations
Reflecting friendship in my actions
And becoming happier through this
I am me.

Morning Light

Fatema (South Tyrol, Italy)

Dear morning light,
every time you appear,
monsters in my mind disappear,
and I feel boundless once again.
Oh, dear morning light!
Only you can do such a thing,
over and over again!


Fatema (South Tyrol, Italy)

I am a red Kashmiri shawl,
Soft and delicate.
Winter breeze waving me up,
Left and right.
Now and again

Questioning of my ancestors.
Lighting fires around the world
And chasing rainbows.
Deep down I am dying
To make peace with my inner mistress.
I am a red Kashmiri shawl,
Soft and delicate.


Neva (Ljubljana. Slovenia)

Dawn pairs with tranquility,
So often making me restless
as such mornings promise order
but become absurd so easily

Slowly my mind befriends confusion,
For the thoughts, they multiply
Where should I go now?
Under this immensely blue sky

How can I know what to do?
What soft dreams to pursue?
For all around I see such beauty,
All around I see such pain

Pain is in beauty and beauty in pain
Is my search of harmony truly in vain?
Are the rocks in Kras* just tears in stone?
Of people failing to love and left alone?

Give me a sign, apparent or small
Help me find my power again
For I know somehow that I can
Sink into it all, like a waterfall

A waterfall I’d like to be
For it’s wild and pure you see
Never ending to hold and kiss
The thighs of this earth’s abyss.

1-sec-a-day Video Series

These digital displays showcase our young volunteers’ own montages of video, telling their personal stories in unique and creative ways. Demonstrating the skills they have developed as part of the VOLPOWER project, volunteers use their own phone cameras to produce digital ‘scrapbooks’ containing visual stories about their everyday experiences. The timeline of their video montages may be linear or non-linear, and in this sense, the young people are not just originating their own material, they are editing it too – asserting their own identities and visualising their cultural routines and rhythms with his or her own vision.