Making Refugee Festival Scotland happen with Mónica 

A headshot of Monica Laiseca

Meet Mónica, the manager behind Refugee Festival Scotland, a 10-day celebration of arts, culture, and community!

A typical day for Mónica is anything but typical.  

“Workdays for me involve lots of organising! Whether it is working on open calls, commissioning a project, organising an event or overseeing festival planning and operations. 

The festival is open to everyone, so a key part of my work is continuing to invite people to get involved and keeping connections energised.” 

A festival for everyone 

Mónica emphasises the importance of inclusivity and constantly seeks ways to involve the community. She finds great fulfilment in initiatives like the new Arts Open project.  

“Earlier this year I was able to set up a new bursary scheme for artists called Arts Open, which feels like a big accomplishment! Our first three awardees are filmmaker Maryam Haddadi (Iran), visual artist and activist Sadia Sikandar (Pakistan) and the Soloway Choir (Ukraine).” Their work will be presented as part of our festival programme – keep an eye out for details coming very soon.  

Months of hard work… moments that make everything worthwhile 

“I can’t wait to be attending festival events, and for the buzz and joy that they bring to people. Definitely the absolute highlight of my year and what makes this work so meaningful!” 

Collaboration is key 

“I have two brilliant colleagues in the festival team, Ros Fraser who is Engagement Officer, and Huss Al-Chokhdar who is the festival’s 2024 Programming Fellow. We are a small, collaborative team and work closely with other colleagues at Scottish Refugee Council, as well as with artists, community groups and organisations who participate in the festival. 

“Running one of Scotland’s biggest community festival programmes where New Scots are celebrated and can set their own agenda is hugely motivating, even if there are moments of high pressure. Our roles allow each of us to apply our skills and interests in different ways and we also have lots of freedom in terms of the events that we programme, which makes for exciting and really varied work.” 

Winding down after work 

“After work, I tend to relax with family and friends. Music is a big part of my evening, even just listening to a few songs and singing while cooking dinner. I try to do yoga or go for a walk early in the morning a few times a week, to recharge before the new day starts again.” 

Refugee Festival Scotland is a must-do for anyone who wants to experience the joy of community and celebrate the vibrant tapestry of Scottish culture. This year the festival runs from 14 to 23 June 2024! 

Our festival programme is NOW LIVE! Check it out!