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We also contribute to the debates on asylum and detention in the media.

Refugee Week 14-20 June 2021

Tuesday, June 01, 2021

Refugee Week is a UK-wide festival celebrating the contributions, creativity and resilience of refugees and people seeking sanctuary. Founded in 1998, it is held every year around World Refugee Day on the 20 June.

This year’s theme is ‘We Cannot Walk Alone,’ inspired by Martin Luther King’s ‘I Have a Dream’ speech. It celebrates how our families and communities have come together over the last year in the face of crisis. With the New Plan for Immigration being discussed, and worsening inequality for refugees and asylum seekers, Refugee Week reminds us how we can all support each other to create inclusive and resilient communities.

Oxford has a heart – and it’s orange

Asylum Welcome is asking Oxfordshire to show refugees and asylum seekers that they aren’t alone – we stand with them. To do this, we are using the symbol of the orange heart. We want to create a welcoming community by showing the hearts in our front windows, across social media and in public places. We will come together to tell asylum seekers and refugees who live amongst us that, despite the negative voices they hear, there are many in Oxfordshire who welcome asylum seekers.

During Refugee Week we’ll be taking a giant orange heart around Oxford, asking people to contribute messages of support and solidarity that we can share with our clients and community. We’re also leading a group of key community figures on a walk through the contemporary experience of a refugee arriving in Oxford, and the challenges they face. We will show leaders how they can make changes to support asylum seekers and refugees.

Find out more about the orange heart here.

For more information about Refugee Week, and events being held nationally, see the official website.

For more information about events taking place in Oxfordshire, please click here.

Events in Oxfordshire

All events are free to attend.

15th June, 6pm - We Cannot Walk Alone: On Becoming a Kuwaiti Bidoon Refugee in the UK - Presentation + Q&A | Sanctuary Hosting

Ahmad Jaber will be discussing the relationship between language and identity, and how a people’s way of expression may be used as a tool to identify and target them. The aim of the event is to shed light on the complexity of being a stateless Kuwaiti Bidoon, especially in terms of being in limbo while in the asylum-seeking process, but also on how even small social (re)actions may be significantly helpful.
Watch here.

16th June, 11am-2pm – Exhibition Opening: We Cannot Walk Alone | Refugee Resource

Photographer Philippa James has collaborated with the charity Refugee Resource to create a thought-provoking series of portraits of refugee women. The images explore themes of trauma, the inner and outer self, and expectations from society. The exhibition celebrates the new family that these women have made from meeting each other.

Exhibition is open 17th June-17th July.

Venue: Old Fire Station

Details here.

16th June, TBC – Stand with Refugees at Gloucester Green Market | Asylum Welcome

Asylum Welcome will be raising awareness and funds to support refugees and asylum seekers in Oxford. As well as a collection of donated books and handmade crafts, we are inviting the public to add their message to our orange heart, showing their support to Oxford’s refugee community.

16th June, 4pm-6pm - Walk with Amal - a Collage Workshop with Rana Ibrahim

by Goldsmiths STAR.
Rana Ibrahim will be delivering an artistic workshop as part of her involvement in the Little Amal project – The Walk.

Little Amal is the giant puppet at the heart of The Walk, travelling 8,000km in support of refugees. In 2021, the 3.5-metre-tall living artwork of a young Syrian refugee child will walk from July to November 2021 across Turkey, Greece, Italy, France, Switzerland, Germany, Belgium and the UK to focus attention on the urgent needs of young refugees.

Building on this project, Rana will lead participants through a collage workshop to create their own paper puppets. Participants will be asked to think about what they would want to keep them safe and grounded when journeying a long way from home, using craft to equip their puppets with various objects and qualities. The final creations will then be photographed and shared with Rana, as she builds her Little Amal gallery on her website. Participants will also have access to an Arabic phrase tracing template created by Rana prior to the workshop, so they can practice writing the characters and later include them in their collages.

To register please click here.

16th June, 6pm - We Cannot Walk Alone - Music Evening | Sanctuary Hosting

What better a way to celebrate togetherness than coming together to share music and what it means to us! During the music evening, we will be able to talk about music, what music means to us and our cultures, share songs, dances or anything creative, and create connections through our love of music.
Watch here.

17th June, 5:30pm - Oxford’s Colleges of Sanctuary Annual Event 2021: ‘Voices for Sanctuary: We Cannot Walk Alone’
Reverend Inderjit Bhogal, founder of the Cities of Sanctuary Movement UK and Afraa Hashem, of Action for Sama. Introduced by Helen Mountfield QC, Principal of Mansfield College and Baroness Jan Royall, Principal of Somerville College.
Details here and to RSVP here

17th June, 6pm – ‘Worth' - Book Presentation + Q&A | Sanctuary Hosting

Join us to hear from Bharti Dhir as she shares a couple of excerpts from her book and hosts a Q&A at the end. Read more at: https://www.hayhouse.co.uk/worth-pb

Watch here


18th June – Oxford Walks Together | Asylum Welcome

 A guided walk through the contemporary experience of a refugee arriving in Oxford, and the challenges they face. We will visit spaces used and created by asylum seekers and refugees, exploring how our community can come together to welcome and support those arriving here.
Details: Given current government restrictions, this event is by invitation only.

19th June, 9am-2pm – Stand with Refugees at Headington Market | Asylum Welcome

Asylum Welcome will be raising awareness and funds to support refugees and asylum seekers in Oxford. As well as a collection of donated books and handmade crafts, we are inviting the public to add their message to our orange heart, showing their support to Oxford’s refugee community.