Thank you to those of you who have been in touch to share your Refugee Week 2013 stories and successes. We are still receiving evaluations and news from the week, which proves what a June it was! We recorded over 350 events co-ordinated by hundreds of supporters, and attended by over 70,000 people.
And we were ecstatic when we found that 94% of the people we talked to in our 2013 poll agreed that it is important that we continue to raise awareness of the diverse history of Britain and the contributions made by so many. We started to address this by creating a new online archive and time-line which tells us more about refugee history in UK as far back as 200AD! We will be continuing to add to the time-line with your help and input so that it can continue to be a useful teaching resource which promotes a more accurate portrayal of our diverse history and heritage. You can test it out for yourself at:www.refugeeweektimeline.org.uk
We got some fantastic national media coverage this year reflecting on the contributions of refugees in our history and heritage – particularly through our poll as well as the brilliant British Red Cross miniature street art commission for Refugee Week. Artist Marcus Crocker was invited to create miniature figurines of refugees in UK history, which were placed around the capital for people to search out and discover more about refugee contributions to the nation.
And South Korea joined the international Refugee Week coalition!
Find out more about all of the fantastic regional activity here or have a look at our *Refugee Week in Pictures*
Refugee Week Scotland (led and co-ordinated by Scottish Refugee Council) told us that 2013 has been its most successful Refugee Week to date! Over 100 events took place, which were attended by approx. 20,000 people all across Scotland.
Refugee Week Scotland explored “heritage” from this year’s theme “our history & heritage” and celebrated the diverse cultures and heritage that makes Scotland the place it is today. Scottish Refugee Week Co-ordinator Suzi Simpson highlighted: “Heritage is not just a way of remembering and celebrating the past, it is also part of the present and the future we are building. Many of the artists, organisations and communities involved in this year’s Refugee Week Scotland took heritage as their theme, from events that highlight the importance of togetherness and commonality through music, dance and food to those that celebrate the unique and surprising contributions of new Scots to our communities.”
We also love the Refugee Week Scotland Media Awards which have become a tradition for Refugee Week Scotland, Refugee Week partner British Red Cross and the National Union of Journalists. The annual awards recognise exceptional coverage of refugee issues.
Watch a film of the Scottish Refugee Week opening concert in Glasgow here!
Northern Ireland Refugee Week co-ordinator Justin Kouame shared: “Highlights this year for me were; the Refugee World Cup, with teams from Waive, QUB, Princes Trust; “cases that changed the world of Refugee Law” and Nicras Got Talent, where the children had the opportunity to show case their talent and present a piece with the children of Lower Ormeau Residence Action Group.”
Whilst a highlight for Welsh Refugee Week was the ‘Flash Mob’ which took place on Tuesday 19th June. This was organised by the Welsh Refugee Council and Valley & Vale Community Arts with involvement from Oasis Cardiff. The flash mob was held outside the Capitol Building in Cardiff. Approximately fifty dancers took part from organisations such as Refugee Week partner organization Student Action for Refugees (STAR) as well as Oasis Cardiff and Space 4 U. Several passersby also joined in and learnt more about Refugee Week.
Space 4 U shared that “the wonderful flash dance event in Cardiff’s Queen St, which was watched and enjoyed by so many passers-by, gave such an attractive impression of asylum seekers and refugees in our city”. Whilst Dance Development Worker for Valley & Vale Community Arts, Isabel Lloyd, told Welsh Refugee Council about how she was approached by a group of local Kurdish men to let her know how proud they were to see one of their dances being performed publically in Cardiff! The Refugee Week central team enjoyed a grand finale in Cardiff on the last weekend of Refugee Week.
Every region does so much to make Refugee Week so special at a local level every year and it wouldn’t be possible to keep those conversations happening across the refugee, arts, community, health and education sectors without our trusted team of supporters and co-ordinators. Too much amazing work happens in every corner of the UK to mention it all! But as this was their first year with us we wanted to highlight the hard work and brilliant support that Action Factory, Kerry Tuhil and Mukhtar Ghebirrebi have given Refugee Week North West.We saw numerous Refugee Week activities, trips, performances and installations taking place in the region. There were film screenings, theatre performances, educational projects, live music – and even trips to partners in Yorkshire! We were particularly impressed with the number of organisations involved and collaborating across the refugee & asylum, charity, community, health, social and arts sectors, such as; Methodist Action, ARC, The Children’s Society, Action Factory, Blackburn with Darwen Libraries, Rebound Book and Coffee Shop, Amnesty Blackburn Group, Blackburn YMCA, SEMA, Community Restart, Blackburn Central High School, Lancashire Constabulary, Environment, Housing and Neighbourhoods, Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council and Blackburn Museum and Art Gallery, Sprout Cafe, University Students and Volunteers.
Refugee Week South West highlighted the importance of these new partnerships – particularly the opportunity that the Week gives to work collaboratively, strengthen existing partnerships and broker new ones.Platforma South West shared; “Platforma Live was a really positive event, which was enjoyed by the artists and audience alike.”
And not to forget that this was the first year that Refugee Week andCelebrating Sanctuary London worked with most of the major institutions along the Southbank! Refugee Week events took place at: Southbank Centre, British Film Institute (BFI), Bernie Gardens and the Thames Festival team, Tate Modern. We will continue to nurture these partnerships and are already in discussions about how to join forces for Refugee Week 2014!
The commissioned collaboration between a refugee musician Lucky Moyo and a star of British folk scene Sam Carter for the CSL Southbank festival also attracted national media attention and the duo performed on the Andrew Marr Show on Sunday 16th June, launching Refugee Week to 2 million people across the UK!
Refugee Week 2014 will take place between 16th & 22nd June 2014. Keep up to date at www.refugeeweek.org.uk
Refugee Week also created an online archive and time-line for RW2013 and we want it to grow and grow. Please have a look and add your personal stories and experiences of refugee history and contributions in the UK, at: www.refugeeweektimeline.org.uk