Little Amal returns to celebrate Refugee Week

The national seven-day arts festival celebrating contributions made to this country by refugees is launched today.

Refugee Week, a programme of comedy, music, art installations, films screenings and workshops, is being co-ordinated by Counterpoints Arts which uses the arts to promote understanding of migration, its effects and cultural change. Healing is the theme of the programme this time with key events at the Southbank Centre and the V&A, and across the country.

Little Amal, the 3.5 metre high puppet of a Syrian refugee child (in the main image) which first visited the UK last year, is walking across England as part of Refugee Week, having already traversed Turkey, Greece, Italy, France, Switzerland, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, Poland, and Ukraine.

“Together with our many collaborators across the UK, we use Refugee Week as a platform for bringing the issues of displacement and migration to the front of the national psyche” said Counterpoints’ director Almir Koldzic (above). “It is vital that we do this as millions of people across the worl are being forced to flee their homes and countries.

“As an arts platform that invites audiences of all ages and levels of understanding to engage with the experiences of displacement, Refugee Week is all about promoting curiosity, learning and bringing people together. We’re honoured to produce this amazing festival and hope that people will find it to be an inspiring and uplifting experience” he said.

Refugee Week was founded in 1998 to celebrate the contributions, creativity and resilience of refugees and people seeking sanctuary with today, June 20, the designated World Refugee Day.

Through a programme of arts, cultural, sports and educational events alongside media and creative campaigns Refugee Week enables people from different backgrounds to connect as well as encouraging understanding of why people are displaced, and the challenges they face when seeking safety. 

Hundreds of organisations and groups across the country will hold their own Refugee Week events and activities, including through several city-wide arts festivals in England. Refugee Week Wales is coordinated by Welsh Refugee Council. In Scotland, the Scottish Refugee Council co-ordinates Refugee Festival Scotland, which this year runs June 17-26.

Refugee Week is also growing internationally this year and sees its launch in Greece, Germany, Malta, Taiwan and Hong Kong as well as being long-established in Australia, coordinated by Refugee Council of Australia.

For the full programme of events across the country, visit www.refugeeweek.org.uk/events

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