Next month will be the 20-year anniversary of Refugee Week. The Refugee Week programme, which takes place from 18-24 June 2018, will see a range of events organised across the UK. The events will share a focus on promoting understanding about sanctuary and celebrating refugee contributions to the UK, following the programme’s aims. In earlier years, people have come together to create an atmosphere of interest, openness, and festivity. This year, with the 20th anniversary milestone, that characteristic looks set to hold strong.
The positivity encouraged during Refugee Week is a welcome contrast to the negative effects of an asylum system which leaves some people in destitution. The Refugee Survival Trust’s Destitution Grants programme distributed record-breaking sums of financial assistance to asylum seekers over the past year: £37,889.59 from October to December 2017, compared to £5,170 for the same period in 2014. Refugee Week provides an opportunity for individuals and communities to get together and challenge hostile attitudes towards refugees.
In Scotland we also have the Refugee Festival which this year is bringing over a hundred brilliant events to communities all over the country.
We have two events happening in both Glasgow and Edinburgh:
New Scots on Screen: Short Film Premiere and Archive Journey Through Scotland’s Migration History
Saturday 16 June 14:00 – 16:00, Kelvin Hall, Glasgow
World premiere of a series of short films produced by participants in Refugee Survival Trust’s befriending programme Glasgow Welcome with the help of Media Co-Op. There will also be a screening of short films and clips from the Moving Image Archive capturing some of the history of migration to and from Scotland on screen.
Journeys to Edinburgh – Walking and Poetry
Saturday 23 June 14:00 – 16:00, meet 13:45 at Palace of Holyroodhouse car park
Join Refugee Survival Trust and writer Helen Boden for a guided walk up Arthur’s Seat, with stops for participants to share poems on the themes of journey and exile, and learn about people who have migrated to and from Edinburgh throughout history. Bring a favourite poem!
To read about Refugee Week’s aims and activities, see the official website here. To check out the Refugee Festival Scotland events visit their amazing new website (built by graduates of Code Your Future) here.
Many thanks to Katharine Weatherhead for this guest post!