It’s World Refugee Day on Sunday and we’re coming together in a show of solidarity with people forced to flee their homes in search of safety.
This summer is the 70th anniversary of the Refugee Convention, a UN treaty that defends the rights of refugees. In the last 70 years, many people fleeing conflict, persecution and human rights abuses have sought sanctuary here in Scotland and they have enriched our communities in so many ways.
It’s been a difficult year for everyone. That’s why it’s more important than ever to celebrate our refugee communities.
Will you to join us in giving a warm welcome to people who have arrived in Scotland in search of safety?
Here’s how you can get involved:
1. Take a picture of yourself with our digital ‘Aye Welcome Refugees’ poster, which you can download here.
2. Share your photo on social media. You can use the suggested wording below, or chose a message of your own:
For as long as people are forced to flee war and persecution, #AyeWelcomeRefugees!
3. Post your photo between 11am – 1pm on World Refugee Day, Sunday 20 June. Or send your photo to firstname.lastname@example.org by 3pm this Friday and we will share it for you on Sunday.
Join us this World Refugee Day and be part of a positive movement, showing friendship and solidarity with people seeking safety.
“It’s so important to show that refugees are ordinary – but incredibly resilient – human beings, just like everyone else.”
Tell us a little more about your event
It’s a chance for people to learn more about Community Sponsorship, a scheme that offers a safe and legal route for refugees to resettle in the UK. As the name suggests, Sponsorship is a community effort that brings together local communities and transforms not only the lives of the resettled families but also the communities that bring them here. For those who are keen to save lives and strengthen their communities in the process, this event is for you.
What does Refugee Festival Scotland mean to you?
It is a celebration of what we cherish the most; a welcoming and open-hearted UK. For our organisation, it’s an opportunity to engage with local communities across Scotland to make the country and even more diverse and welcoming place.
Why is it important to celebrate refugee arts and culture in this way?
Many people associate the word “refugee” with a type of person, rather than a status. It’s so important to show that refugees are ordinary – but incredibly resilient – human beings, just like everyone else. Arts and culture are a great platform for exchanging ideas, ways of life and values, which is a crucial step in deepening understanding of our shared humanity.
What are you most looking forward to about the festival?
We truly hope to see a big turnout at our event and hopefully generate some real awareness and interest in community sponsorship. We’re also looking forward to meeting people from other organisations run by and for refugee communities, so that we can join forces in our efforts to make Scotland a place of sanctuary and welcome.
Interested? Book your free ticket here.
View the full programme for this year’s festival here.
This online exhibition showcases artwork created by families in Dundee. Their colourful creations, reflecting on the idea of ‘home’, celebrate the wonderful diversity of cultures in the region.
Families met on Zoom for weekly art sessions, delivered in partnership with Scrap Antics and Infinite Sky Murals. We caught up with Community Engagement Worker, Neil Crutchley to find out more.
Being creative can help us to rethink how we feel about the world. This exhibition is an opportunity for many more people to view the amazing creative talents of Scottish and New Scots families in Dundee. Parents and children, aged between 4 and 12, made these artworks together.
Everyone meet weekly on Zoom and many new skills were learnt from magnet making, basket weaving and rock painting to origami and video making. The work on display includes collages made using recycled materials, digital family portraits and photographs. Families were invited to discuss what home means to them and create imagery and text inspired by their thoughts.
New friendships have been made with families deciding that the last few sessions should be in person instead of online. They felt that it was important to celebrate the project and that coming together to create work for Refugee Festival Scotland would be a positive way to finish.
This is the first time that Infinite Sky and Scrap Antics have taken part in the festival and we hope that everyone has lots of fun! The artists involved believe passionately in social justice, reducing inequalities and promoting a sustainable future. The festival is an opportunity for the wider community to find out about the skills and talents of refugees and New Scots, beyond the immediate and often unreliable headlines.
It’s important that individuals and groups who can be marginalised in different ways by society are recognised for the contribution they make to our communities. Refugee Festival Scotland helps to dispel myths and provides a platform for organisations large or small to promote their work. It is an exciting way for people to come together, discover new ideas and inspirations and celebrate the diverse communities and cultures across Scotland.
New outdoor creative family activities are being planned for later this summer. These will take place on the beach and in different green spaces across Dundee. To find out more, contact Neil at email@example.com.
We reached out to the organisers behind the Much Language Such Talk Podcast, who will be interviewing Debora Kayembe during Refugee Festival Scotland 2021.
“We are releasing a special podcast episode where we interview human rights lawyer, activist and rector of the University of Edinburgh, Ms. Debora Kayembe. We will talk about her work as lawyer and translator, and her experiences with multilingualism and arriving in the UK as refugee.
“It is a very educational, inspiring conversation about identity, the importance of languages, and the possibilities in life when you believe in yourself.
“We believe it is important to share stories that are relatable and encouraging, and to highlight individual experiences from refugees. Ms Kayembe’s journey has been inspiring, and her multilingualism is an important part of her story. We want to encourage our listeners and society as a whole to recognise the importance of refugee languages as carriers of stories, culture and memories.
“It still happens that refugees and migrants are told to stop speaking their home languages for the sake of integration, instead of recognizing the importance of language and identity. We want to encourage our listeners to learn from one another, and celebrate diversity.”
Tune in at 12pm on 17th June. To listen to the episode, please go to www.mlstpodcast.com
More information about this event: https://www.refugeefestivalscotland.co.uk/events/podcast-special-debora-kayembe-for-refugee-week-2021/