Glasgow St. Pauli present a unique screening of Here to Stay. FC Lampedusa St. Pauli

Shown during Refugee Festival Scotland, this unique screening of Here to Stay will not be shown anywhere else in Glasgow. The film tells the story of FC Lampedusa St. Pauli, a football team in Hamburg comprised of refugees and shows the power that football can have.

Come along to the Queen Margaret Union on Thursday 21st June and learn all about this great football team and the work they do with Refugees in Hamburg. Glasgow St Pauli looks forward to seeing you on the evening and being able to share this special film with you.

You can register for your free ticket here by clicking here:  – Any donations collected on the night will go to FC Lampedusa St. Pauli.

Who are Glasgow St Pauli?

Glasgow St Pauli Supporters Club aims to provide a friendly environment for local based supporters of the Football club St Pauli. They stand against all forms of discrimination and have a welcoming environment that encourages new members and guests along at their meetings. Their first aim as a supporters club was to see how they could help communities that needed support, with their motto being, ‘More Than Football’.  In their first year they raised over £10,000 for a range of charities and worked closely with FC St. Pauli to take refugee children living in Hamburg to FC St. Pauli matches.

They also believe football should be for everyone and have a free non-competitive football session on Sundays in collaboration with United Glasgow. Everyone is welcome, and they will provide kit and boots for those that need it! Come along on Sundays at 12 pm, The Foundation, 137 Shawbridge Street, Glasgow, G43 1QQ.

On Sunday 5th August, Glasgow St Pauli are hosting a fundraising gig in aid of Scottish Refugee Council and United Glasgow, the line up looks amazing and you can buy your tickets here for £15:

Want to know more? Have a look at their website:

Do you get my drift?: ‘Sankofa’ and the Arts of Integrating the old with the new.

World Refugee Day UNESCO-RILA Lecture

Refugee Integration through Languages and the Arts

Do you get my drift?: ‘Sankofa’ and the Arts of Integrating the old with the new.

Alison Phipps, UNESCO Chair in Refugee Integration through Languages and the Arts

with Gameli Tordzro, Tawona Sithole, Naa Densua Tordzro

“Do you get my drift?” is a phrase we use often in English to check that someone has understood us when we do not require ultimate precision or full comprehension.  It is a gentle way of checking that we are moving towards a shared understanding. The problem of translation and translatability lies at the heart of much of contemporary philosophy and is practically relevant to how we live with linguistic diversity in the integrating communities and societies that make up Scotland.

On 20 June I will mark World Refugee Day by giving the Annual Unesco Chair Lecture as part of Refugee Festival Scotland 2018.  I am honoured to be doing this in my capacity as Unesco Chair in Refugee Integration through Languages and the Arts, and as an Ambassador for Scottish Refugee Council.

Following the publication of the New Scots Refugee Integration Strategy in January 2018, the lecture will focus in on the contested concept of integration. I will ask: who is integration for? Who does it serve? If it is indeed desirable, how is it to be achieved?  And who does the integrating?

The New Scots Integration Strategy introduces two new key approaches to integration: languages and human rights.  These approaches offer a challenge to Scotland, requiring us to consider our complex history and the vision of the kind of inclusive society we wish to foster to enable all within it to flourish.

Common sense would dictate that transparency, coherence and efficiency are the best values for delivering a national project of inclusive integration. In my lecture I will draw upon the Ghanaian concept of sankofa to offer up some complementary approaches to integration we may wish to consider: opacity, slowness, untranslatability. These offer some surprising insights.

For people to learn to live together and understand one another, the experience of difference and diversity is both vital and often difficult. Central to the question of integration is how we as individuals, institutions, societies and communities approach and manage difference and diversity.  This is also fundamental in the processes which underlie trauma healing, and recovery for individuals, societies and communities.

In the lecture, we will explore together the role of multiple languages and of different forms of art which offer us ways of engaging with difference and diversity which, importantly, do not require resolution.

Blending arts, languages and even traditional academic research we will present a variety of approaches to integration which have been part of different societies in the past. Throughout the lecture the meaning will be mirrored, embodied and given life in song, dance and poetry by RILA artists in residence.

We hope you catch our drift.

World Refugee Day 2018 is a day for everyone

Click for more info about the event

Highland Multicultural Friends warming up the Highlands with more love.

Highland Multicultural Friends warming up the Highlands with more love.

If you are new to the Scottish Highlands and adapting to a new culture, at home with a baby, want to improve your English, meet new friends, or share experiences, Highland Multicultural Friends can help you.

Highland Multicultural Friends aims to promote understanding and racial and religious equality within the host and Minority Ethnic communities locally, whilst celebrating the rich cultural diversity that makes up our Highland population.

Moreover, they provide a point of contact and a network of support for families and individuals, especially from minority ethnic backgrounds, living within the area.  Members of the host society who share the vision are also welcome.


Highland Multicultural Friends are based, during school term times, at the Cameron Youth Centre on Planefield Road, Inverness. Their weekly programme includes: ESOL, sewing group, food and friendship, baby group, fitness class and kids club.

They believe they have a lot to offer, whether it’s cooking for others, sharing cultural experiences, befriending or enabling different sectors of our society to meet in an accessible and informal setting.

Last year’s ‘Travel the World in a Day’ at Merkinch Community Centre, had: over 300 people attending, 16 different cultural display stands, Global Food Café serving lunch, interactive workshops and activities for all ages and cultural performances of music, dance and story-telling.

They have invited the various groups of refugee families, recently settled into different towns in the Highlands, to join a special celebration. Transport to this event has been difficult for many in the past. Last year’s event marking ‘Refugee Festival Scotland’ was held in Inverness, and to combat this they are holding their 2018 event nearer to where many of these communities are based.

This year Highland Multicultural Friends are holding ‘Untangling Threads’ where adults from refugee and immigrant families create a new piece of collaborative art, with the support of Common Threads Sewing Group and local community artist Lizzie MacDougall.

Click here for more information about the event


Veteran firefighter joins Scottish Refugee Council in ambassador role

Our ambassador Jim Snedden has spent twenty years working for the Scottish Fire & Rescue Service. He now  runs the fire station at Dunblane and trains other firefighters as a swift water rescue instructor.

Over the summer of 2015, Jim, like many people, was shocked by the images of people drowning in the Mediterranean Sea . Over his twenty year career with the Scottish Fire Service, particularly in his role as a swift water rescuer, he knew about the dangers at sea.

The charity MOAS was coordinating rescue missions in the Mediterranean with international crews when they reached out to Jim and asked if he’d be interested in supporting their rescues.

“The first time I went out was a massive shock to the system. I flew to Malta and within four hours of landing I was on a ship heading towards Libya searching for people in distress. The first boat we rescued was a rubber dinghy about twelve miles off the coast of Libya. I couldn’t believe how many people were crammed onto it. More than 120 people.

“My role was to calm everyone down. There’s a lot of panic you know? The boat is sinking. People are terrified. Any sudden movements and it could go down. When people pay for these journeys they are promised it will be in a suitable, sea worthy boat. But they are put onto the boats at gunpoint on the beaches of Libya. I’ve seen boats with punctures in them. People would rather die at sea than die in Libya, that’s how desperate it is.

“Another mission I took part in started at 4am and lasted well into the next night. We rescued about 2000 people that day. 480 people were all crammed into the one boat.”

Jim shows me a stack of photographs from his first rescue mission with MOAS. The colours are very bright; neon orange life vests, a cloudless blue sky. He shows me familiarly shocking images of rubber dinghies packed with 120 people, legs hanging over the sides. But these pictures are shot in close-up and I can see the fear and panic in people’s eyes. The sun beats down on the little boat and it’s clear everyone is baking in the heat and fear. “It looks like a boat full of men,” says Jim. “Most of the pictures of these boats look like that. But what you don’t see is the children and women in the inside of the boat. They go in the centre and the men go around the outsides.”

We look through more pictures this time of Jim lifting young children and babies from the boats to safety. “This is my favourite picture,” he shows me a shot of a young girl clutching on to him. “She wouldn’t let go of me. People are desperate for you to do something, they grab you and cling to you, you are their last hope.”

Nothing in Jim’s life or career had prepared him for this. The scale, the amount of people, the desperation, how it could all have been avoided, the fear, the image of someone of a beach with a gun forcing people onto a leaking boat. The idea that people are making money out of this.

What impact has this had on him?

“It’s changed my outlook. Now I know a bad day for me here is a good day really in the bigger scheme of things. I know my wife, my three kids are all safe and ok.

“I’ve also learned about why people seek refugee protection, how the people I spoke to didn’t want to leave home but were absolutely forced into it.

“I’ve joined Scottish Refugee Council because Iwant to find out about the next stage in people lives and help how I can. I’ve realised that the journeys at sea are just one stage of people’s journeys. I thought naively that getting people to dry land safely was the end of the story, that things would work out OK for the people I rescued. Now I know that’s just one part of the story and a whole other journey begins for folk once they are here in a foreign country with all the trauma of what they experienced en route and that they fled in the first place.

“There is a lot of good work going on in Scotland in terms of welcoming people but we need to do everything we can to help people integrate and really feel like they belong here and help them reach full potential here. Everyone deserves safety and everyone deserves a chance.”

The Hidden Gardens – a jewel tucked behind the Tramway

Glasgow’s beautiful gardens dedicated to peace and nature

The Hidden Gardens is on a mission to create a common ground for all of Scotland’s communities to come together.

The Hidden Gardens is Scotland’s first sanctuary garden dedicated to peace and stands as a permanent reminder that Glasgow and much of the UK were deeply opposed to the Iraq war.

Just a short train from Glasgow city centre – (Glasgow Central to Pollokshaws East station) – and you will get to the Hidden Gardens, a jewel tucked behind the Tramway.

The Hidden Gardens exists to promote understanding between people of all cultures, faiths and backgrounds and celebrates the universal spirit of nature.

It is a place of learning and exchange; a place where people can come together and share stories, skills and histories.

We spoke to Grace, the Hidden Gardens’ Community Programme and Audience Development Manager. Grace showed us around the gardens and spoke about the symbolic Ginkgo tree situated in the centre of the gardens as well as giving a teaser of the fascinating project which will be taking part in the launch of this year’s Refugee Festival Scotland.

Our Opening Day this year for the festival is hosted in partnership with our friends at The Hidden Gardens.

We will also be joined by Gardner and Gardner, Nest a While, Who is? Project Who Are They? Who Are We?, Glasgow Women’s Library, Paria Goodarzi and Early Learning Workshop.

Mark the date in your diary and do not miss the fun. Saturday 16 June 12:00 – 17:00

Learn more about the opening day by clicking here