This week Refugee Week, the UK’s biggest cultural celebration of refugees, takes place with over 400 events planned across the UK, making this the biggest celebration to date writes Mike Hough. As the refugee situation across Europe continues, this annual celebration of the contribution made by refugees to British society provides an opportunity for people up and down the country to stand in solidarity with refugees.
More Refugee Week events are happening this year than ever before, reflecting the public’s desire to help. This year’s theme is “welcome” with case studies available illustrating how the British public have welcomed refugees into their communities.
The contributions of individual refugees to British society will also be celebrated with a new “I am a refugee” initiative, which will see plaques celebrating individuals who came to the UK as refugees – like Freddie Mercury, Rita Ora and Alek Wek – appearing on buildings across the UK during the week.
There are many highlights to the week including Making Stories: A Refugee Week special at the British Museum; the award-winning film Beats of the Antonov at the British Film Institute; and major events in in towns and cities all over the country:
In Nottingham, events will take place across Refugee Week, including a world food night, theatre performances and special film screenings at the New Art Exchange. In Bradford there will be an International Refugee Festival with free entertainment, workshops and family activities.
In Leicester, a city that has welcomed hundreds of refugees from Syria there will be a Refugee Week Celebration in the Town Square.
In addition to the events, a t-shirt designed by Marios Schwab and Studio Moross has been produced to celebrate refugees and the theme of welcome.
Maurice Wren, Chief Executive of the Refugee Council and Chair of Refugee Week summarises by saying:
“Now more than ever, as refugees continue to seek protection in Europe, it’s vital that we welcome them to the UK.
“Simple acts of kindness have helped people who’ve fled the horrors of war, violence and oppression in Syria and other troubled parts of the world to feel safe and secure in Britain. That’s something we can all be proud of.”
A full list of events and how you can get involved can be found at http://refugeeweek.org.uk/.