Refugee Festival Scotland: Dundee Launch Day!

On Monday 24th June, our Dundee office held a fun-filled family celebration to launch #RefugeeFestScot in the city.

The day began with speeches by our CEO Sabir Zazai, Dundee City Housing Manager David Simpson and Steeple Church Minister Rev. Robert Calvert. These were followed by a short film about our peer volunteers in Dundee, who were then presented with certificates for their achievements by Sabir.

We were then entertained with traditional Iranian music by Musicians in Exile, before a joyous collaboration with some of our Dundee peer volunteers.

The afternoon ended with a fine selection of food prepared by our volunteers, and a frenetic dabke to close.

Don’t miss #RefugeeFestScot events taking place throughout the week at Steeple Church, the V&A and across Dundee: Dundee RFS Programme


Bringing together refugee artists, communities and Scotland’s arts and cultural organisations

Bringing together refugee artists, communities and Scotland’s arts and cultural organisations

Refugee Festival Scotland is now in full swing. Over 100 events are taking place across Scotland to celebrate the contribution people from refugee communities make to life here – the food and drink, music and poetry, art, dance, language and ideas that people bring with them when they settle in Scotland.

This year’s theme is MAKING ART, MAKING HOME and the festival showcases the work of a number of professional and emerging artists with refugee backgrounds.

A key goal of the festival programme is to offer people from different backgrounds the chance to meet and get to know each other better.

This year, Scottish Refugee Council has been working with Creative Scotland, Counterpoint Arts and the Centre for Contemporary Arts to bring refugee communities and artists together with those working in mainstream arts bodies and institutions across Scotland.

The Delegates Programme is a unique opportunity for Scottish arts and cultural organisations to explore and experience key artistic highlights of the festival as well as take part in dedicated development opportunities to consider how to engage with Scotland’s new communities and artists.

The Delegates Programme includes a number of events, many of which are also open to the public. Here’s what’s on as part of the programme this week:


Manaf Halbouni – Artist’s Talk, Monday 24 June 2019

7.00pm-8.00pm Brian Cox Theatre, Scottish Youth Theatre, Glasgow

Facilitated artist discussion with German-Syrian artist Manaf Halbouni whose sculpture, Rubble Theatre, recreates a scene of destruction in Syria, featuring the rubble of a bombsite and an abandoned car. More.


Cultural Sector Development Day (Invitation-only) | Wednesday 26 June

For artists, art organisations and cultural and community groups across Scotland interested in commissioning and programming work about migration and displacement and around the interconnected themes of cultural diversity.

The development day offers an opportunity to hear about and discuss international projects focusing on refugee and migrant experiences, plus the challenges and opportunities of forging new alliances.


Gesturing Refugees by Farah Saleh | Thursday 27 June 2019

(Public performance) 7.00-8.00pm Centre for Contemporary Arts, Glasgow

UK premiere of contemporary dance performance created and choreographed by Palestinian dancer and choreographer, Farah Saleh. More. 


Artists’ Symposium | Thursday 27 June 2019

10.00-4.00pm Centre for Contemporary Arts, Glasgow

Ten artists across a wide variety of artistic practices and with lived experience of seeking international protection share and discuss their work to stimulate discussion within the arts sector in Scotland. More.


Gary Christie, Head of Policy, Communications and Communities said: 

“Scotland’s diverse cultures are central to Scotland’s future, enriching all of our lives. Everyone in Scotland should have the opportunity to participate in or contribute to cultural life in Scotland.

The role that arts and culture play in bringing communities together has been a core aspect of the work of Scottish Refugee Council for over 30 years and we have been delighted to work with many arts, cultural and heritage organisations over that time.

This year’s Delegates Programme is a new venture and an exciting opportunity for publicly funded arts and cultural organisations in Scotland to meet with refugees and refugee communities during the festival, experience stimulating and thought-provoking work from refugee artists, and consider what steps they can take to engage with refugees as audiences and artists and refugee issues in their artistic and cultural programming.”




Refugee Festival Scotland starts with music and sunshine

On #WorldRefugeeDay on June 20, a sunny St Enoch Square was bustling with people celebrating the start of #RefugeeFestScot.

Musicans in Exile played music and got audience members to participate with clapping and playing drums.

People held up welcome placards in multiple languages – Arabic, Russian, Kurdish, Pashto, French and Farsi, amongst others – to show solidarity and friendship with people who have experienced forced migration.

Manaf Halbouni’s installation Rubble Theatre attracted many curious looks. It will be open to the public in St Enoch Square until June 27. Check out the full programme for #RefugeeFestScot here.

Nicola Sturgeon shows support for Refugee Festival Scotland!

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon shows her support for Refugee Festival Scotland during First Minister’s Questions this morning.

Today is #WorldRefugeeDay, where we stand in solidarity with over 70 million displaced people across the world. Thank you to those who joined us this afternoon at St Enoch Square to make our voices heard. Event organisers across the country look forward to welcoming everyone to their events over the coming 10 days.

“I’m proud that people are welcomed here and can rebuild their lives. I would like to thank all those who are involved in supporting refugees across our country” – Nicola Sturgeon

Thank you to the Scottish Government for your recognition of our work and of the situation for New Scots and their communities across the country.

Communities Secretary Aileen Campbell will be attending Refuweegee’s exhibition “Claiming Back the Narrative” on Friday evening, one of many highlights of this year’s festival.

Look out for our #RefugeeFestScot placards!

ښه راغلاست
means welcome in Pashto – the native language of our CEO Sabir Zazai.

Look out for our multilingual welcome placards at the launch of Refugee Festival Scotland THIS Thursday!