Women’s Craft Collective

Read more about Shelanu’s recent projects and updates on the blog.
COVID-19 Update

Weekly Friday session – the group are currently having Zoom meetings every Friday
Workshops bookings – following Government advice for when to begin scheduling workshops again
Sales – postponed (for the moment)

We are continuing to work with Shelanu members through a weekly Zoom meeting and a lively What’s App group; to stay connected and share ideas, creative activities and plans until we can meet together again in person. Have a look at their blog and social media to see what they are working on.

Becoming a member:
Do let us know if you would be interested in joining when things are back to normal. The Collective is open to any women living in Birmingham who have migrated here or are a refugee or asylum seeker.

Booking a workshop:
Do get in touch if you would like to discuss future plans for working with Shelanu, whether for drop-in activities, single workshops or a bespoke programme.

Buying Shelanu’s work:
Sales are postponed for the near future. Please do get in touch if you are interested in a commission for when normal service has resumed.

For any enquiries please contact Emma [email protected]

Shelanu is funded by grants from trusts and foundations, private donations and income from sales of their work and services. We are currently looking for sources of future funding to make sure that we can continue to benefit the community and  develop the group into a self sustaining social enterprise.

Ongoing project

Shelanu, which means ‘belonging to us’, is a collective of migrant and refugee women working with Craftspace to develop craft skills, confidence and well-being through social enterprise.

They produce high quality craft for sale inspired by their new home, the city of Birmingham and their experiences of migration.

As well as learning new making skills, the women are supported to improve their English, learn business skills and run workshops for the community.

“It’s a place to learn and try new skills, a place where I can feel connected and free to try new ideas and express my artistic side… It’s a positive way to contribute and find your place in a new place.”
Shelanu member

A range of activities help members to develop new skills, increase confidence, combat isolation, challenge preconceptions and support integration. These include:
•    Running craft workshops for schools, adults, children and families.
•    Designing, making and selling jewellery and other products inspired by the theme of migration and Birmingham.
•    Public and private commissions.

Craftspace provides opportunities for Shelanu members to work alongside and shadow professional artists and other creative professionals, to build creative, social and business skills enabling some to take up roles within the enterprise in the longer term and others to improve their employability.

The aim of the Collective is to assist other migrant and refugee women to become more aspirational through creative development. This supports their integration into local communities which can profit from the rich diversity of the women’s experience.

It is our intention that the social enterprise will become increasingly self-sustaining, less dependent on grant assistance, using the enterprise’s surplus to expand and develop the services provided to and by the women within local and national communities.  This complements Craftspace’s ethos of assisting the Shelanu members to become more aspirational, ensuring that the creative and holistic development of the women is the core of all future policy planning.

Recent Projects

Interlocking Stories: A range of silver jewellery celebrating the spirit of Shelanu.
Birmingham Souvenir range: Textile products inspired by Birmingham’s industrial heritage and skyline.
Migrating Birds: A jewellery range inspired by the women’s experiences of migrating to Birmingham.

Work with us

Shelanu is always looking for clients for workshops and bespoke commissions. We are also keen to talk to potential partners, sponsors, donors, volunteers and mentors.
If you are interested in any of these activities or would like to join Shelanu please contact: [email protected]

Please complete our short survey to help us better understand our digital audiences.

Related Events

Shelanu products: A purse with a line drawing of Birmingham, a red bird brooch and a silver bracelet.

Upcoming Shelanu events and exhibitions

In the shop

Shelanu Interlocking Stories ring in silver. Simple and geometric in design.

From £44.50 (incl. p&p)

Where Next?

A picture overlooking Digbeth to Birmingham City Centre.

Join our women’s craft collective.


Join us in making a positive difference.

The i pad case, wash bag and purse sit on a windowsill. They are simple in design with a black and white line drawing of the skyline and red trimmings.

Join the conversation on twitter.

Laser cut wooden circular patterned design brooch

Hire Shelanu to run a workshop.