“Different Pasts, Shared Futures”

Refugee Week celebrates the contributions of refugee communities to the UK and provides a platform where positive images of refugees can be promoted in order to create and uphold a culture of welcome.

We have been enjoying evaluating this year’s Refugee Week activity and planning for Refugee Week 2013! In this newsletter we:

• share our evaluation of Refugee Week 2012
• introduce our new Refugee Week film
• release information about our next Refugee Week Conference
• invite you to complete our latest Simple Act
• update you on the new Platforma programme


Refugee Week 2012

Refugee Week ran from 18th June to 24th June 2012.

Our focus was on celebrating the Unsung Heroes of the Olympics – the refugees working behind the scenes to make it happen, who make everyday contributions to make things happen in their communities around the UK.

Highlights from this year include: over 300 activities across the UK; around 100,000 participants and attendees; great regional and local media coverage reaching an estimated 17 million people; the Unsung Heroes Campaign posters seen by over 1 million people across the London Tube Network; improved social media presence and supporter following; superb feedback from various inspirational events, including the opening concert in Glasgow and the Casablanca event at the Victoria & Albert Museum.

If you are interested in hearing more, you can read our full evaluation report here

New Refugee Week Film

This year British Red Cross produced a short film which will be a great new resource for promoting Refugee Week far and wide.

You can watch the film at here.

Please remember to share it and pass it on!

If you would like the film to be sent to you in file format so that you can use it on your websites or in the classroom please contact: jess@counterpointsarts.org.uk. Alternatively, we will produce a limited number of DVDs which will be available at the Refugee Week Conference.

Refugee Week Conference 2013

The Refugee Week Conference will be held on Friday 22nd February 2013. It will be hosted by Amnesty International UK at their London offices and will give you the opportunity to hear about our approach for 2013 and feel supported in setting up your own Refugee Week events.

We will be inviting you to a number of creative workshops led by guest speakers who will be looking at areas such as: media and marketing; social media, Simple Acts and British history.

The conference will be a free event but places are limited. To reserve your place you can contact:jess@counterpointsarts.org.uk. Further details about the Conference programme will be released in the next few months.

Refugee Week Regional Co-ordinators

Would you like to be a part of the Refugee Week team? We are currently looking for volunteers to become Regional Coordinators to support the delivery and promotion of Refugee Week in the following regions across the UK: North West, West Midlands, East Midlands.

If you are interested in finding out more you can read more here. Send your expression of interest or ask any questions that you might have to Refugee Week UK Coordinator Jess Linton: jess@counterpoints.org.uk.


5 broken cameras @ ICA

Refugee Week was delighted to be approached by City Screen and invited to chair a Q&A session at the fantastic “5 broken cameras”. We asked Counterpoints Arts Co-Director Aine O’Brien to chair the session and you can read her blog here.

Tim Rogerson at City Screen wrote: “We were thrilled with the response at the ICA. 5 Broken Cameras is a film that provides unparalleled insight into the experience of life on the West Bank- insight that simply isn’t available from mainstream news coverage…we were pleased to be able to make Refugee Week one of our partners on the programme of events we have shaped around 5 Broken Cameras. It is our goal to collaborate with a range of different organisations whose interests overlap with ours in terms of generating engagement and discussion around the film and the issues it raises.”

Hear more from Tim via his Picturehouse blog here, or why not watch a trailer.

Counterpoints Arts

Counterpoints Arts is a new initiative that brings together Refugee Week with a range of other arts and cultural projects that explore refugee and migrant experiences. Apart from Refugee Week, Counterpoints Arts also hosts Simple Acts, Platforma and Celebrating Sanctuary London projects.

The main aim of Counterpoints Arts is to ensure that the rich cultural and artistic contributions of refugees and migrants are recognized, welcomed and celebrated within British culture, history and identity.

The new website www.counterpointsarts.org.uk should go live this Friday 2nd November.

Refugee Week Blogs & News Stories: British history

Refugee Week would like to hear about your events and projects (past and present) that look at the stories of refugees in British history.

Have you held events exploring refugee contributions to British history? Do you have images, history trails or educational resources which you could share with us? If so contact jess@counterpointsarts.org.uk.

We can add your blogs and news stories to our website all year round so keep in touch!


Simple Acts launches a new ‘democracy’ Simple Act in November in an exciting partnership with Parliament Week 2012. The “Tell Your MP” act aims to encourage each one of us to understand and participate in UK democracy.

Parliament Week runs between 19th November – 25th November.

We will launch the Simple Act at the beginning of November in time for you to get involved by completing an action or helping us to promote the act.

Remember to follow us on twitter @SimpleActs.


Platforma has received funding from Arts Council England and the National Lottery to continue the development of the Platforma Regional Hub Networks in England. Platforma Regional Hub Co-ordinators will be working in each of the English regions to develop opportunities for artists from refugee backgrounds and provide them with career development support. There will also be a new focus on linking up with Refugee Week.

If you would like to know more about the project, please contact the Platforma Co-ordinator Tom Green ontom@counterpointsarts.org.uk.

If you are an artist with a refugee background or an organisation working with refugee communities you can create a profile for yourself and keep in touch at platforma.org.uk