Room to Breathe

About the exhibition

Please note that we will be closing at 5pm on Thursday 22 November due to our annual lecture taking place that evening.

Open the door, put down your suitcase, take off your coat, let the outside world fade away. This is where it begins. A room that you can start to call a home. A room to breathe.

Room to Breathe is an immersive experience inviting you to discover stories from generations of new arrivals to Britain. Journey through a series of rooms filled with personal narratives and objects that bring to life the struggles, joys, creativity and resilience of living in a new land.

Explore rooms to sleep, eat, create and meet. Make these rooms your own. Open drawers, look through cupboards, settle into an armchair. Contribute your story and make connections to the past and present.


Artists in residence

Room to Breathe will serve as a setting for a series of residencies by migrant artists, who will be invited to use one part of the exhibition space as their studio. Each artist will host a series of workshops during their residency, and works created by all of our artists in residence will be displayed as part of a final group exhibition in summer 2019.

Find out more about our artists in residence (more details and dates to be added soon):

Dima Karout – 1 November–2 December

Dima will be hosting free Meet the Artist sessions throughout her residency every Sunday in November from 3pm–4pm, during which visitors will have the chance to ask a question, answer one, print a bridge and leave a trace in her art studio. No advance booking is required. See the Facebook event pages for more information:

Sunday 4 November, 3pm–4pm
Sunday 11 November, 3pm–4pm
Sunday 18 November, 3pm–4pm
Sunday 25 November, 3pm–4pm

Events and activities

We will also be staging a varied programme of exhibition-related events and activities, from cookery classes to flash performances, storytelling evenings to art and craft workshops.

Saturday 10 November (11am–3pm) Fingerprints woodcut and linocut workshop – by Dima Karout
Wednesday 21 November (6.30pm–9pm) Migrateful – Afghan cookery class with Habib, one of our upcoming artists in residence
Saturday 24 November (11am–3pm) Connect the Dots workshop – by Dima Karout
Thursday 6 December (evening) Touching Home – excerpts from a new sensory theatre show by 27 degrees
Wednesday 12 December (6.30pm –9pm) Migrateful – Albanian cookery class with Deshira

More details of other events accompanying this exhibition to follow shortly…

Late openings

We are now open until 8pm every Thursday (except for special events and holiday closings – please check our website for the latest information). Come and see our Room to Breathe exhibition after work, grab a drink and chat to members of our team.

Audio stories

Listen to a selection of food-related audio stories from the exhibition.


Ansar Ahmed Ullah, Leonardo Alvarado, Daniele Amici, Margaret Andrews, Eleonora Angelelli, Pintusorn Anstey, Naaman Azhari, Muharrem Bora, Doreen Bourne, Tew Bunnag, Carolina Caicedo, Daniel Castro Garcia, Ilka Chakravarty, Raj Cheema, Alvin Chung ,Ela Ciecierska, Juan Delgado, Dimple Devadas, Michael Donkor, Antonia Folivi, Sister Christine Frost, Margaret (Maggie) Gold, Rachel Griffiths, Lem Lem Haile, Joseph Healy, Anna Hegarty, Sophie Herxheimer, Alex Ioannou, Karamat Iqbal, Dima Karout, Fowokan George Kelly, Luthfa Khan, Nojmun Nessa Khanom, Amarjit Kochhar, Wen Ying Lee, Tara Lehmann, Jenny Li, Cheng Luo, Liz Maginn, Geraldine Maidment, Joaquin Malolos, Valcie McIntosh, Atakan Mercan, Roberto Mori, Bushra Nasir, Maurice Nwokeji, Herman Ouseley, Grace Paṣeda, Jill Patterson, Mais Peachey, Juliana Pflaumer, Maria Pintado, Sonia Quintero, Cathy Robinson, Nasrin Rooghani, Sylvia Saxby, Andrey Sidelnikov, Malgosia Stepnik, Blanca Stern, Anna Turowska, Allyson Williams, Amel, Fiona, Lea, Lilian, Lola, Nessy, Yuet

Story collectors
Meera Chindooroy, Nicola Coles, Jeanette Farrell, Mona Jamil, Sonia Kneepkens, Cheng Luo, Margarita Novikova, Lucia Scazzocchio, Fan Sissoko, Eva Tausig, Julie Taylor, Cruz Maria Vallespir

Ufuk Gokkaya, Mitchell Harris, Itteshad Hossain, Eithne Nightingale

Kate Anderson

Gary Manhine, Ben Walsh, Rich Wiles, Keymea Yazdanian

Artists in residence
Dima Karout (curator-in-residence of the art studio), New Art Studio, Ceyda Oskay, Habib Sadat, Shorsh Saleh, Belen Yanez

Featured projects
Plaits, Princesses + Pink Moisturiser (Courtesy Korantema Anyimadu, images © Nana Ama), Child Migrant Stories – Voices Past and Present (Courtesy Eithne Nightingale)

Colours of Kindness installation
Agnes Wiercioch, Caroline Wisniewska

Sound design
Bill Bingham, Lucia Scazzocchio

Interactive design
Clay Interactive 

Graphic design
Roland Williams

Liam Hayhow

With thanks to
27 degrees, Lucy Askew, Chris Barrett , Hogan Lovells (Rhonda Ingram), Oliver Hopwood and Westminster School, Lisa Lee, Mazi Mas, Reset Communities and Refugees, Matthew Rosenberg, Sav Kyriacou, CARAS, Camilla Sutton, Lorenzo Tamburini, Julie Taylor and Martin Primary School, U+I and all of our wonderful volunteers.

Funders and sponsors
Room to Breathe is supported by Arts Council England, Cockayne – Grants for the Arts and the Doris Pacey and Dr Michael and Anna Brynberg Charitable Foundations. The Centre for the Study of Migration at Queen Mary University of London and Vauxhall One are sponsoring a number of roundtables and events associated with the exhibition.

We are grateful to all of our funders and donors, including Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, Paul Hamlyn Foundation, Alfred Caplin Charity Settlement, Trust for London and Unbound Philanthropy. We would like to thank U+I for enabling us to host our museum at The Workshop.