The exhibition, Mapping Our Better Life, was held in Leeds in 2024. It showcased art that was made as part of a project with a group of young people seeking asylum in the UK, who are in the care of Leeds City Council. The young people worked together on this collage, ‘Road to safety’. They reflected on their journeys to the UK: how they got here, what they were hoping to find, and the barriers that blocked their way.


One journey has finished but my journey of life continues, and I don’t know what this path will be, but at least I am safe here’. Project participant

These jars contain coloured sand and materials, chosen by the young people to reflect the stages of their journeys, both physical and emotional. Some jars hold scrolls with messages of hope that the young people wrote for their futures.


The project was part of an ongoing partnership between the British Library and Leeds Children and Families Social Work Services. Led by an art psychotherapist, the project gave the young people a platform to play and get messy, to pause and to heal. It began with a trip to the British Library to see a selection of maps, encouraging the young people to think about their own journeys.

Find out more about the British Library’s work in Leeds at enabling schools with LS postcodes to join free workshops from their classrooms!