8 events for activist and campaigners 

From day one, Refugee Festival Scotland is going to be full of events spreading powerful messages of hope, solidarity and community resistance. Here are 8 events for anyone interested in activism and campaigning.

By Izzy Taylor, Refugee Festival Scotland volunteer

1/ What is Allyship in Anti-Racism?

Organised by the Spit it Out Project, this workshop is set to be an educational and empowering event. Join Kwaku Adjedi, a teacher on Anti-racism and inclusivity, who will share personal experiences of microaggressions and ‘everyday racism’ to help build a greater understanding of what allyship, awareness and action mean. Located in the Centre for Contemporary Arts, this is an accessible event with a quiet room available.  

When: 16th June @ 12.45 pm – 4.45 pm  

Where: CCA, 350 Sauchiehall St, Glasgow 

How to get involved: Tickets are available on a pay-as-you-can basis. Be quick as places are limited. Book yours here  

2/ Festival of Migration 

Come and explore a diverse celebration of cultures and contributions of migrant communities in Edinburgh with many artists and cultural groups showcasing their heritage and advocacy through art forms. The event will be opened by Quan Nguyen’s address ‘Are we New Scots?’, followed by a short film by the Polish community. Alexandra Xanthaki, United Nations Special Rapporteur on cultural rights will make a keynote speech on Saturday 17th June at 7.00 pm, followed by a concert by the Southside Symphony. Other exciting opportunities at this event include a Human Library; a Cultural Rights World Café; panel discussions; a Chinese Calligraphy workshop; photography exhibitions; short plays and musical performances.  

When: 16th June @ 7.00 pm – 18th June @ 9.30 pm  

Where: Southside Community Centre, 117Nicolson St, Edinburgh 

How to get involved: See the Art27 Scotland website for all the details and to reserve free places. 

3/ A Day of Hope & Cultural Celebration 

One for all the music and performance lovers. Join Maryhill Integration Network and The Voices Network for a cultural celebration. This event falls on World Refugee Day, so will be a special gathering orientated around the festival’s theme of ‘hope’, with music, storytelling, and food. Sharing stories and time together is important and can be a restorative element of activism.  

When: 20th June @ 5.00 pm – 7.00 pm 

Where: The Renfield Centre, 260 Bath Street, Glasgow 

How to get involved: This is an accessible venue and you can reserve free tickets here.   

4/ Roots of Refuge 

Hosted at the Hidden Gardens, a community-focused urban greenspace, this afternoon will celebrate justice, solidarity and community activism. Join a host of independent, local grassroots organisations to hear about their work and projects. Food, music, art and interactive activities will all be on offer to enjoy. Come along to find out more about how you can be involved in activism, and learn about the importance of community resistance to hostile policies. The event is led by JustRightScotland and JustCitizens, who provide legal services to promote human rights in Scotland.  

When: 22nd June @ 4.00 pm – 7.00 pm 

Where: Hidden Gardens, 25a Albert Drive, Glasgow 

How to get involved: The venue is accessible and family friendly. Book a free ticket here  

5/ Bikes for Refugees Celebration Night 

One for activists and cyclists alike, this evening celebration will host global human rights activist, National Geographic Adventurer, and artist, Shannon Galpin. In her inspiring adventuring and activism journey, Shannon has used her talents to help establish the women’s right-to-ride movement in Afghanistan, amongst many other inspirational human rights achievements. She will speak about bikes as tools of liberation, mobility and freedom of movement in relation to the work of Bikes for Refugees. There will also be the launch of screen-printed posters inspired by Bikes for Refugees and live stories shared by Afghan women living in Europe. This jam-packed event is sure to provide inspiration and encouragement.  

When: 22nd June @ 6.00 pm – 8.00 pm  

Where: Edinburgh Printmakers, 1 Dundee St, Edinburgh 

How to get involved: Just turn up! This event is free to everyone, no booking required. The venue is accessible.  

6/ Learn about the Hostile Environment & How to be a Good Ally

This workshop will dig behind the headlines and political narrative created by the media and politicians and ask what the situation is really like for refugees and asylum seekers. Participants are invited to come in hope, solidarity and activism to have productive conversations about the future of community building in Scotland.  

When: 22nd June @ 6.00 pm – 8.30 pm & 24th June 3.00 pm – 5.30 pm 

Where: MILK, 245 Victoria Rd, Glasgow 

How to get involved: Places are free and bookable by emailing hellomilkcafe@gmail.com 

7/ “Govanhill Hopes” Banner Making Workshop

Get your creative energy ready for this workshop hosted by Govanhill Baths Community Trust and Print Clan at The Deep End, Glasgow. Everyone is welcome to come along and print a square of their own design which will be on display during the festival, and later in the refurbished Govanhill Baths. Public art is a powerful and visual way to express emotions, share a story and to make a political statement, or to simply enjoy using colour to create something beautiful. The event offers first come, first served reimbursement for travel expenses, and encourages refugees, asylum seekers and accompanied children to join in.  

When: 24th June @ 1.00 pm – 5.00 pm  

Where: Govanhill Baths, 21 Nithsdale St, Glasgow 

How to get involved: Just turn up. There is no booking required, the event is free.  

8/ Decolonising the Mind – Reclaiming Rest as Resistance 

Join Nina Abeysuriya, a writer, podcast host, outdoor swimmer and ex-mental health professional for an afternoon of reflective thinking and discussion on the last day of the festival. This immersive workshop, run by Spit It Out, introduces and educates participants on the roles of colonialism and capitalism in maintaining power and control throughout history. Their influence can even be found in our thinking and attitudes to mental health and well-being. If you have ever questioned the Western cultural emphasis on productivity, what it means to do self-care, whether you can be an activist and take time to rest, and what agency means, then this event is for you! Cake and compassion will be included.  

When: 25th June @ 3.45 pm – 5.45 pm  

Where: Summerhall, Newington, Edinburgh  

How to get involved: Tickets are available on a pay-as-you-can basis. Spaces are limited. Book yours here.


Refugee Festival Scotland 2023 runs from 16 – 25 June. Check out what’s on where you are.