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“It really feels like a family”: An interview with Sophie Besse, director of a comedy about Calais
June 22nd, 2017
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It’s the refugee arts project everyone’s talking about. In the fifth and final edition of the Our Shared Future blog series, Marienna Pope-Weidemann talks to Sophie Besse, director of Borderline comedy about Calais Calais is not a place we associate with comedy. But danger, deprivation and desperation is only half the story. Sophie Besse, artistic director […]

“When I play, the distance falls away”: Mina Salama’s musical journey
June 22nd, 2017
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In part four of the Our Shared Future blog series, Marienna Pope-Weidemann meets Egyptian instrumentalist Mina Salama, and learns about the new route his music has taken since he sought sanctuary in the UK Mina was nine years old when he found an old keyboard at his friend’s house in Alexandria, Egypt. Enchanted, the young boy sat down to play and there […]

Refugee Choir Start Summer of Performances
June 21st, 2017
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A guest post by Tess Berry-Hart There’s an interesting jam happening in the leafy suburbs of Greenwich. A choir of over 30 members from 15 different countries are performing a rendition of “Scarborough Fair” accompanied by North African darabouka drumbeats and rapping by an Iraqi refugee. From new arrivals from Syria and Afghanistan, to older generations […]

“I want to see women in the lead”: Faith Gakanje
June 21st, 2017
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In part three of the Our Shared Future blog series, Marienna Pope-Weidemann meets Faith Gakanje, fashion entrepreneur and founder of a forum supporting refugee women  Faith Gakanje was challenging oppression even as a child. The daughter of Chief Nemangwe, she was involved in Zimbabwe’s liberation movement as a chimbwido (junior fighter) from the young age of nine. Zimbabwe won […]

“My proudest moments are the quiet conversations”: An interview with Sabir Zazai
June 20th, 2017
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As part of the Our Shared Future blog series, Marienna Pope-Weidemann meets charity leader Sabir Zazai, and learns about his journey from Afghan refugee to community pioneer  Great oaks grow from humble beginnings. When Sabir arrived in Coventry via Dover in 1999, the acorn was just three people from the community doing what they could. Coventry has a […]

“They know the power of sharing their favourite toy”: The school that grew a community of welcome
June 19th, 2017
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As part of our #OurSharedFuture blog series, Marienna Pope-Weidemann talks to Sarah Reynolds, who runs a charity supporting refugee families to become active members of their new communities. As a primary school teacher in east London for many years, it was her pupils that taught Sarah Reynolds about the labyrinth of barriers facing refugees in the UK. “Those […]

We Remember Mohammad Alhajali
June 17th, 2017
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We remember Grenfell Tower victim Mohammad Alhajali, who was helping organise a Syrian refugee community iftar for the Great Get Together and Refugee Week

It is with great sadness we have learned of the passing of Mohammad Alhajali, one of the victims of the Grenfell Tower fire. Mohammad, who was 23, was a refugee from Syria, and was studying engineering at the University of West London.  With his brothers, he was helping to organise today’s Syrian Refugee Community Iftar, to […]

‘I Am A Refugee’
June 16th, 2017
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A guest post by Louise Wratten, Community Engagement Officer for the New Room, Bristol. We’ve waved goodbye to the builders who’ve been busy working on a new visitor centre for the New Room since the start of last year, and are delighted to mark the opening of our lovely new exhibition space by hosting a […]

Meet the Refugee Artists Behind a New Exhibition
June 15th, 2017
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A guest post by Matthew Carter, British Red Cross (Refugee Week national partner) For so many people, art is a means of expressing how we feel about the world. In this respect, the young refugees adjusting to life in the UK are no different to the rest of us. Selassie and Helen are two young […]

Education Beyond Borders at University of East London
June 15th, 2017
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A guest post by Paul V.Dudman and Rumana Hashem, University of East London June 2017 is finally upon us with the warmth of early summer sun and an impending election following on from a winter dominated by Brexit and Donald Trump. In this age of austerity and uncertainty, how should we approach pedagogy and how […]