Hotel workers Conrad Parulski and Bartek Loreiecki. Photo by Tom Pilston

Our project I PACKED THIS MYSELF looks at journeys and migration. It’s aimed at breaking down prejudice and increasing understanding of the thousands of workers from overseas in this country who play a vital role in local economies.

It makes the vital point: anyone might have to leave home to find work.

In Cornwall, people from overseas work in all sectors of the economy. From consultants at the Royal Cornwall Hospital – and nurses and hospital porters there – to people on fishing boats at Newlyn and harvesting crops across the county.

Not to mention those working in care homes, meat processing factories and transport.  Some come for a few months; others decide to stay, buy houses and bring up families.

Many are happy and face no difficulties. Others have serious problems.  Some local people think migrant workers are taking their jobs. But employers often advertise locally and fail to find local labour.  It’s a complicated situation.

We are now running Zoom workshops with workers from overseas. Click here to read about one at St John’s Catholic Primary School, Camborne. We’ve produced a range of materials for groups keen to tackle these issues.

These include:

I PACKED THIS MYSELF is currently funded by Cornwall Council through Inclusion Cornwall. We’re working in partnership with the Diocese of Truro.

Click here for a short video showcasing our recent exhibition at Truro Cathedral. Keep up to date with latest developments via our blog.

Over the next two years we’ll  be rolling out  workshops in schools and churches  – with students, community groups and employers. We’re producing a range of materials for use in the workshops – plus ‘Survival Phrases’ language postcards in Lithuanian, Polish, Arabic, Portuguese, Romanian and Bulgarian.

Get involved

We’d love to hear from you. If you are from overseas and working in Cornwall  – or if you lead a community group – if you’re retired and are keen to volunteer. If you’re a student researching these issues. Email

Past work

We are building on work we started ten years ago. Then we created a touring exhibition of suitcases – and ran workshops in schools.  Click here to read an evaluation. To view a web gallery featured in the Guardian in 2009 of a show in Camborne, Cornwall, click here. The project was showcased by the then Commission for Rural Communities as a national example of good practice – its original title was Let’s Talk.  Various funders – including the Migration Impacts Fund through Communities and Local Government – have supported this work.

A few highlights:

Workshops at Camborne School

An exhibition at Penair School with a film made by migrant workers

A workshop at Helston School

Ten workshops in a day at Torpoint School

A touring suitcase exhibition



What does migrant worker mean?

The term ‘migrant worker’ is used to describe someone who has come from overseas to work in this country

What does refugee mean?

A refugee is someone who has been forced to flee his or her country because of persecution, war or violence.

Who is an asylum seeker?

An asylum seeker is a person who flees their home country then enters another country and applies for asylum, i.e. the right to international protection, in this other country. An asylum seeker  may be a refugee or a displaced person, but is not an ‘economic migrant’ – in other words, an asylum seeker has not entered another country to find work.