“My name is Irena and I’m 29 years old. I first came to Denmark from Ukraine as an au pair in 2012, and met my Danish husband while I was working in Aarhus. I came back to Denmark in 2015 to be with my husband, and found that I had a lot of spare time while I was waiting for my reunification papers to be processed. At that time I felt like I was ‘in-between’: I wasn’t a young person who wanted to party, and I also didn’t have children – so I started the Creative Women’s Club. This was a way for me to meet like-minded people and make friends, and also to bring crafters and artists together to share their creativity with each other and learn new skills.
As the group grew, we decided to put on some exhibitions around Aarhus. Our first event was an exhibition at Dokk1 in 2016 where our members ran workshops in candle making, crochet, paper flower making and painting. We’ve since had exhibitions at Lærdansk and the Dome of Visions. None of us had any experience in putting on events like this, but we found that once we approached the different venues, they were very happy to support us and help us organise our activities.
Now that I have finished my Danish course, I’m a full-time student and I also volunteer for many local organisations. There are so many opportunities to become involved in the community here in Aarhus, and it’s also possible to start your own activities. My advice to newcomers is to take it easy, you can’t do everything at once, so don’t put pressure on yourself – enjoy your time and find a network you can become part of, or create one yourself.”
Photo by Zane Hartmane