Raging Sea Performance and Storytelling

Stories in Transit organises storytelling workshops in the UK and in Palermo, bringing migrants and displaced people together with artists, writers and musicians. The project was created by the writer and scholar, Marina Warner. The Stories in Transit workshop invited participants to create props, scenery and music to create a performance of Wafa’ Tarnowskais’s retelling of the Mesopotamian myth, ‘The Battle of Baal and Yamm’. This workshop featured words and storytelling by Wafa’, music with Debsey Wykes and prop and scenery making with Sophie Herxheimer.

Wafa’ Tarnowska is a writer, translator and storyteller. Her “Arabian Nights” (2011) won numerous prizes including the American Folklore Society Aesop Accolade. Her latest book Amazing Women of the Middle East: 25 Stories from Ancient Times to Present Day (2020) is a compilation of short biographies of 25 Middle Eastern women from ancient times to modern days, all trailblazers in their fields.

Debsey Wykes is a musician and song writer. She has played, written and performed with the bands Dolly Mixture, which she founded in 1978, Coming Up Roses, Saint Etienne and Birdie.

Sophie Herxheimer is an artist and a poet. She has held residencies for LIFT, Museum of Liverpool, The Migration Museum and Transport for London and has exhibited at The Whitworth, Tate Modern, The Poetry Library and The National Portrait Gallery.  Recent publications include: Your Candle Accompanies the Sun,(2017) Velkom to Inklandt (2017) and (with Chris McCabe,) The Practical Visionary (2018).

This workshop was also made possible through careful planning and facilitation by Hannah Machover and Natalie Hollis.


The performance created as part of the Stories in Transit workshop was re-performed at the Raging Sea exhibition, with added creatures and textures featuring in the central set piece.

We were joined by Singing Blankets at the Raging Sea exhibition. They are a collaborative art project with refugees and asylum seekers in the UK and Greece situated around the notion of individual and collective action and creation through the use of sewing and sound exploration.

The series of workshops that culminated in the Raging Sea exhibition began with a set of three workshops facilitated by the poet, Rachel Long and ended with a poetry workshop facilitated by the poet and novelist, Olumide Popoola. A selection of the poetry produced during these workshops were read at the exhibition.