Refugee Week celebrates 20 years

Refugee Week takes place every year across the world around World Refugee Day on the 20 June; this year the week runs from 18th to 24th June.

This year Refugee Week reaches an important milestone: 20 years of celebrating the contributions, creativity and resilience of refugees. The 20th anniversary is the theme of Refugee Week 2018, and the UK organisers are inviting people to take part with 20 ways to stand with refugees and asylum seekers – one for each year of Refugee week.

In the UK, Refugee Week is a nationwide programme of arts, cultural and educational activities that celebrate the contribution of refugees and asylum seekers to the UK and encourages a better understanding between communities.

Refugee Week is a grass-roots festival, so anyone can take part by organising, attending or taking part in activities. Events are held by a wide range of arts, faith and community organisations, schools, student groups and more. Past events have included arts festivals, exhibitions, film screenings, theatre and dance performances, concerts, football tournaments and public talks, as well as creative and educational activities in schools.

The aims of Refugee Week are:

  • To provide platforms for asylum seekers and refugees to be seen, listened to and valued; and to showcase the talent and expertise that people bring with them to the UK.
  • To encourage a wide range of events to be held throughout the UK, which facilitate positive encounters between people who have experienced displacement and the wider public, and encourage greater understanding of both the reality of seeking asylum in the UK, and the situations of war, persecution and violence that force people to leave home and seek sanctuary.
  • The ultimate aim is to create a culture of welcome in the UK, with better integration and understanding between communities, enabling people seeking sanctuary to live in safety and to practice and develop their skills and ambitions.

Celebrating in Wales

In response to the Refugee Week UK theme of celebrating 20 years of Refugee Week, the Welsh Refugee Council’s art programme – Gwneud Noddfa – has been exploring the theme of CELEBRATION – asking what we’d like to celebrate in life –  from the little things that lift the spirits, “offering a smile is worth gold” to the momentous.

Our focus is celebrating SANCTUARY; the people who find sanctuary in Wales and the people and organisations who work to make newcomers feel welcome and to defend and uphold human rights.

We want to celebrate the movement to make Wales a Nation of Sanctuary, including Welsh Government’s forthcoming Refugee Delivery Plan which highlights the contribution our leaders will make towards this.

We want to celebrate what it is to feel at HOME and explore what home means to people.

We want to celebrate the UK HUMAN RIGHTS ACT, which is also 20 years old this year and explore where the rights established are being promoted and defended by community groups, NGOs, businesses and government. We want to highlight that these rights apply to and should be enjoyed by every person, regardless of immigration status.  We aim to foster a sense of unity by highlighting the needs and rights that all humans have in common.

More broadly, through the events within and around Refugee Week, we want to celebrate MIGRATION, and the rich mix of culture, skills and expertise people who have moved to Wales have brought with them over the decades.

This year we’re extending the celebrations of Refugee Week into July to give more time to celebrate all these themes.

Get involved

Would you or your organisation like to be part of the festivities of Refugee Week (18th to 24th June) and the surrounding months (June and July)?

There’s a number of ways you could support the festival:

  • Organise an event – contact us to let us know details and we’ll include your event on this website.
  • Be part of an event or an exhibition organised by another group – get in touch to let us know your interests and skills and we’ll do our best to match you up to group organising an event.