E05: Life writing with scissors

Episode transcript (pdf)

Syma Ahmed

Syma Ahmed joined Glasgow Women’s Library in August 2007 as the Development Officer for the Black & Minority Ethnic (BME) women’s project. She is responsible for promoting lifelong learning, arts and creative opportunities for BME women. Syma is keen to celebrate the success and achievements of BME women in Glasgow through capturing and compiling their life stories and preserving them at Glasgow Women’s Library. Syma has worked in the voluntary sector for over 6 years and enjoys developing new projects to support the local community. Her previous job with a unique charity called Ethnic Enable involved supporting disabled people and their carers from minority ethnic backgrounds.

Syma Ahmed


Two women showing two pages of their scrapbooks made in Syma Ahmed’s Life Book sessions.
A woman titling a page of her scrapbook ‘Sweet Memories in Scotland’.
A page from a scrapbook, reflecting on the participant’s memories of arriving in the UK in 1967. She writes in the top right-hand corner: ‘I have select memories when I came to the UK in 1967 to join my husband. He took me to Windsor in Mont Gardens, beautiful flowers, we took some photographs. It was a wonderful experience how we started climbing the hills’.
Various scrapbooking tools and craft items used during Syma Ahmed’s scrapbook sessions.

Find out more

Find out more about Glasgow Women’s Library.

Browse the following books and articles:

Garvey, Ellen Gruber. Writing with scissors: American scrapbooks from the Civil War to the Harlem Renaissance. Oxford University Press, 2012.

A Priceless Archive of Ordinary Life by Cynthia Greenlee (The Atlantic, February 2021)

Scrapbooking As an Act of “Radical Self-Care” by Michelle Garcia (New York Times, August 2020)

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