Refugee Festival Scotland – visibly and proudly standing in solidarity

Refugee_Festival_Scotland_2016_programmeRefugee Festival Scotland is an annual Scotland-wide programme of arts, cultural, educational, heritage and sports events, coordinated by Scottish Refugee Council.

Suzi Maciver is arts and cultural development officer of the Scottish Refugee Council. She says that Refugee Festival Scotland is about “recognising this difficult present” of refugees who have “been forced to flee their homes … and risk their lives in a desperate search for safety”.

“But it’s also about being inspired by the people who are becoming part of our country’s rich tapestry, as we move into the future together. Now, more than ever, we need to stand in solidarity, visibly and proudly, with the people who’ve had to flee everything precious to them to survive and build new lives here.”

This year’s theme is solidarity. The organisers hope the festival fortnight will allow people to “welcome new friends and celebrate Scotland as our home, a place that we can all belong to”.

The festival builds on Scotland’s compassionate response to the refugee crisis.

“Many Scots opened their hearts to those in need and grassroots voluntary groups sprung up as the seeds of a modern refugee welcome movement … We’ve had an incredible response from artists, organisations and community groups all across Scotland looking to be part of this year’s programme.”

The full programme listings (PDF) includes more than 100 insightful and spirited events.

You’ll find an exhibition remembering the thousands of Belgian refugees who came to Scotland during the First World War; a photo exhibition exploring the different experiences of asylum seekers in France, Greece and Scotland; youth drama imagining a birthday party for a young asylum seeker newly arrived in Scotland; today’s Scottish Faiths Action for Refugees Working Together in Faith conference; Refuweegee’s We are all fae somewhere open-top bus tour guided by asylum seekers; and a day of sharing stories and food while celebrating solidarity and diversity in Glasgow; and lots of events from Glasgow Refugee Asylum and Migration Network (GRAMnet).