Having spent time with Almir Koldzic, the Director and Co-Founder of Counterpoints Arts who manage Refugee Week, I was invited to join the advisory group. We spent time working on shared values and principles, and the Theory of Change. I also hosted and presented the launch of Refugee Week Slow Conference 2021. You can watch excerpts of the event below.
Refugee Week is a UK-wide festival celebrating the contributions, creativity and resilience of refugees and people seeking sanctuary. Founded in 1998 and held every year around World Refugee Day on the 20 June, Refugee Week is also a growing global movement.
Through a programme of arts, cultural, sports and educational events alongside media and creative campaigns, Refugee Week enables people from different backgrounds to connect beyond labels, as well as encouraging understanding of why people are displaced, and the challenges they face when seeking safety. Refugee Week is a platform for people who have sought safety in the UK to share their experiences, perspectives and creative work on their own terms.
Refugee Week’s vision is for refugees and asylum seekers to be able to live safely within inclusive and resilient communities, where they can continue to make a valuable contribution.
Refugee Week is an umbrella festival, and anyone can get involved by holding or joining an event or activity. Refugee Week events happen in all kinds of different spaces and range from arts festivals, exhibitions, film screenings and museum tours to football tournaments, public talks and activities in schools.
What is Refugee Week, and how can you get involved? This clip from the launch of the Refugee Week Slow Conference on 04 February 2021 includes an overview of Refugee Week, the 2021 theme and examples of previous events. With:
Emily Churchill Zaraa, Counterpoints Arts (Refugee Week)
Catja de Haas: Architect, Giant Doll’s House Project
Rachael Cox: Programme Manager, Celebrating Sanctuary Birmingham and Coordinator of Birmingham Refugee Week
Rana Ibrahim: Founder and Leader, Iraqi Women Art and War
The session also featured music from the ‘Broken Silence’ EP by Bumi Thomas, written in response to her battle for residency with the Home Office, which reached No 1 in the UK iTunes RnB charts.
It was presented by Dr Sita Thomas, is Co-Artistic Director for Common Wealth theatre and presenter on Channel 5’s milkshake!
The Refugee Week ‘Slow Conference’ is a series of free online workshops on arts and culture for change, 04 February – 11 March.