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Refugee Week 2020

This week Sunderland is joining cities across the world to celebrate Refugee Week (15th June – 21st June). The purpose of this annual, national festival is to highlight the contributions, creativity and resilience of refugees, creating positive encounters between communities, helping them to connect and learn from each other, and promoting a culture of welcome. This year’s theme is ‘Imagine’, encouraging communities to recognise the positive impact of change and to create new things that we are yet to see. Imagination can be the best response to making a difference in society: the only way to take us somewhere new.

Community led events and activities are being held in recognition of all those who have had to flee persecution to find safety in new countries and cultures. These have been arranged by various Asylum and Refugee voluntary and community sector groups including Fightback, Friends of the Drop In (FODI) and International Community Organisation of Sunderland (ICOS), with support from Sunderland City Council.

These activities include the ‘Walk of Sanctuary’ on Monday morning, an annual event that welcomes Refugee Week every year in Sunderland, followed by lighting of key Sunderland Landmarks in blue on Monday evening to symbolise the skies and seas travelled by refugees as they seek safety from fear and conflict. Women’s art organisation, Sangini, are working with FODI to allow asylum seekers, refugees and other community groups to produce art by felting and drawing. This will be curated into an online exhibition showcasing their combined talents.

Gentoo are producing a digital ‘Coronaquilt’ which involves Sunderland’s asylum seekers and refugees, along with voluntary sector staff and volunteers, submitting individual photographs showing their experiences of lockdown. Skimstone Arts will be sharing and producing stories from online interviews with refugees living in Sunderland and elsewhere in the region on their website and social media.

Below you can find links to the organisations mentioned and further information on Refugee Week.

Published 15/06/2020 by Rachel Lawson