Who We Are

 Imayla is a ‘not for profit’ Community Interest Company set up in 2001 by a group of passionate teachers, artists, performers, youth and community workers from diverse cultural backgrounds. It is managed by a Board of Directors and gains further support and expertise from its specialist advisors.

Based in inner city Bristol our team co-ordinate city-based and residential learning experiences in a range of rurally based venues, whilst also moving on our plans to have a permanent centre of our own.

Imayla is a word from the Igbo people of Nigeria meaning 'thank you and well done.'  It embodies a spirit of unity and joy and a celebration of group achievement.

Our History

Imayla’s inspiration was drawn from the experience of bringing diverse people together through arts festivals, residential activity holidays, participatory and community arts projects and watching the transformations that can occur for both groups and individuals when they live, learn and create together. An approach that recognises and values different cultural expressions yet seeks to break down boundaries and promote exchange was seen as especially important within the context of a society which often saw diversity as a challenge to social cohesion rather than an opportunity for creativity and individual and collective growth.

Much of the inspiration for Imayla came from the experience of developing Tribe of Doris, a 1000 person drumming, dance, song and ceremony summer camp attracting teachers and participants from over 40 different cultures. The evolution of this event and seeing just how much people enjoyed the healthy combination of countryside, cultural exchange and community building has given rise to our resolve to establish a permanent base from which to offer a year-round activity programme, with the same values and approach as Doris, but that can be offered to a much wider community.

Since Imayla was established in 2001 the organisation has been researching, testing and refining its approach, recruiting specialist teachers, developing partnerships with arts, environmental, educational and community based organisations and raising awareness of the benefits of our unique approach. During this time we have gained a strong reputation for a wide range of very successful youth arts events, educational workshops and intensive residentials for adults and young people as well as for running training and publishing special resource guides for youth workers and teachers.