COMPASS was an ESOL plus arts project designed and delivered in partnership with Groundwork London and Counterpoints Arts. The project aimed to interweave language learning with arts-based activities and ran between April 2020 and March 2021.

COMPASS engaged with 70 English learners and 12 volunteers. Participants joined remotely from across London. Throughout the project art was embedded into the English classes and provided participants with the opportunity and time to express themselves differently.

A set of ESOL plus arts sessions were designed by Dima Karout a visual artist and educator with international experience. Dima delivered these sessions in partnership with Groundwork London’s English Tutors, Caroline Chapman and Tracy Faron who also delivered a series of related ESOL classes drawing out themes from the arts sessions.

A video summary of the project and a downloadable toolkit can be found below.

We are delighted to share a sample of some of the incredible artwork created by our participants. The art pieces are grouped here according to the session theme.


Participants discussed iconic bridges in London and countries of origin, exploration of the concept of friendships, building communities, bridges and connections between people.







During this theme, participants were asked to read text on topics that included the Fire of London and ‘Walls’ and our relation to cities. All chose a word from the text to speak about exploring ideas and their imagination.








Participants shared ideas about cross-border, friendships and meaningful objects that have survived many borders and relate them to a happy moment.








During this theme, participants were invited to read texts on the Greenwich Observatory, Hyde Park, the Serpentine Galleries and ‘Branches’. All produced artwork inspired by the conversations and their experiences with nature and their ideas of growing and replanting their roots.







Before I was scared and didn’t have confidence as it was all new to me, I didn’t speak English and couldn’t speak to other people face to face. Before I was shaking when I had to speak to people, but because of your help, it’s excellent. You help to make people more confident, now I speak with the doctor, now I can speak for 10 minutes on the phone. You help people.

Nadia | Participant

A toolkit has been produced which shares reflections, practical tips and lessons learnt from the project. This is available to download here:

Click here to download the toolkit (PDF)

COMPASS worked with Groundwork London’s CIRCLE and IMPACT integration projects.