Scotland's top arts venues put on a show for Refugee Week

 Refugee Week: June 20-26, 2011

Sixty years ago the UN Refugee Convention was signed. It has saved millions of lives since. To mark this vital anniversary, Refugee Week Scotland 2011 has been inspired by the people who have contributed to this country over the last 60 years. 

We’re celebrating not only the contribution refugees from all over the world have made to British life, but the courage it takes to seek refuge, to flee from persecution and rebuild life in a new country. 

There are many highlights in what is the biggest Refugee Week yet. We are very fortunate to be staging two brilliant headline events:


  • Courage: 60 Years of the UN Refugee Convention

A new short film made by refugees living in Scotland
The Arches and Scotland-wide
June 20

Scottish Refugee Council and Media Co-op will release a new film, Courage: 60 Years of the UN Refugee Convention, on June 20, to kick off Refugee Week Scotland 2011 and mark the anniversary of the lifesaving Refugee Convention. 

  • 60 Years, 6 Lives

Photographs by Ian Berry (Magnum Photos)
Trongate 103
May 31 – July 1, 2011

An exhibition of photographs by Ian Berry (Magnum Photos) to mark the 60th anniversary of the lifesaving UN Refugee Convention. The exhibition has been commissioned by the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) for Refugee Week 2011, and will travel to London following its Glasgow run. 

For more details on any of these events please contact Media and Communications Officer Clare Harris on 0141 223 7927, 07850 930418, or email


Other highlights

The Tron, Glasgow

Some Words for Home by Oliver Emanuel
Tuesday 21 June
Main Space

A home is not just a place, it’s the people. This is the story of two Jewish refugees who escaped the atrocities of World War II to make a home for themselves in Scotland. Based on interviews, this verbatim play explores not just the great events of history but also the small, everyday detail of building a new life. A rehearsed reading followed by a postshow discussion.

True Colours  & The End of the Rainbow presented by Ignite Theatre 
Thursday 23 June
2pm & 7.45pm
Main Space

How are we shaped by the way we are raised? Award-winning Ignite Theatre, a young dynamic company, explore culture, tradition and expectation in this brand new comedy.  Three characters, one African, one Asian and one Scottish stand on the brink of adulthood. Each is being brought up with a set of hopes and dreams but can each of them live up to their family’s expectations?  Also introducing Junior Ignite with their first performance, The End of the Rainbow.

Macrobert, Stirling

True Colours, Ignite Theatre
I’m Ready by Fraser Morrison
Poetry Reading, William Smart
Sunday 26 June
Playhouse, Macrobert, University of Stirling, Stirling, FK9 4LA
Free event

Ignite Youth Theatre from Glasgow present their latest work, True Colours (see above)

Fraser Morrison presents I'm Ready, a new piece of devised theatre, performed by the writer, as a one-man show. It encourages the audience to reflect on the consequences of life's decisions. We are fast forwarded to the future and come face to face with how our decisions affect the time we spend on this earth. Will you have made a difference before you die?

This will be followed by a poetry reading by William Smart.

Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum

Refugee Stories at the Kelvingrove
60th Anniversary of the UN Refugee Convention
Saturday 28 May – Sunday 2 July
10am – 5pm
Free event

Scottish Refugee Council marks 60 years of the 1951 UN Refugee Convention by celebrating the contribution refugees make to Scotland.  In this new exhibition discover the stories of three refugees who rebuilt their lives in Scotland, from the 1940s to the present day.  This exhibition has film, newspaper articles, photographs and objects illustrating the lives of Henry Wuga from Germany, Carlos Arredondo from Chile and Patience Tsungu from Zimbabwe.


Mitchell Library  

Red Road by Robert Ormerod
Thursday 9 June – Thursday 30 June
9am - 8pm (Monday-Thursday) 9am - 5pm (Friday-Saturday)
Mitchell Library, North Street, Glasgow, G3 7DN
Free event 

Many people seeking asylum live in an indefinite period of transition. Unable to start new lives, which have so desperately been sought, and unable to return to their own countries, they are forced to exist on the fringes of society. They often live with mental health issues stemming from conflict or torture and face the constant threat of detention or deportation. There will be an official opening at 6pm on Thursday 9 June with talks from Scottish Refugee Council and Robert Ormerod.  Robert will be available to discuss his works from 4pm that day.

Celebrating Freedom of Expression, with Amnesty International
Tuesday 21 June
2:30pm – 3:30pm
Glasgow Women's Library, Mitchell Library,15 Berkeley Street, Glasgow, G3 7BW
Free event

Well known authors stand in solidarity with writers who have had their right to freedom of expression violated and suffered persecution as a result of openly sharing their writing, thoughts and opinions. Today’s event celebrates the courage of individuals who have had to flee their own countries because of that persecution, and the issues facing refugees and asylum seekers in Scotland today.  This event is supported by the Glasgow Women’s Library.


Paisley Museum

Life After Iraq - Photography by Angela Catlin
Friday 17 June - Sunday 17 July
Paisley Museum, High Street, PA1 2BA
Free event

Since 2003, at least 4.7 million Iraqis have been forced to flee their homes. Around half of the displaced remain in Iraq, while more than two million have fled to Syria and Jordan.  Commissioned by Scottish Refugee Council, Life After Iraq is an exhibition of work by award-winning photojournalist Angela Catlin and writer Billy Briggs, who travelled to Syria to document the lives of ordinary Iraqis living there after fleeing their homeland. The exhibition also gives an insight into the lives of Iraqi refugees who have come to Scotland. 

Edinburgh International Film Festival

Monday 20 June
Filmhouse 2, 88 Lothian Road, Edinburgh, EH3 9BZ

Bella Freud and filmmaker Gerry Fox discuss the inspiration behind their film ‘Hopes & Dreams’, portraits of refugee children of Palestine.

Between 2 Fires
Monday 20 June/ Thursday 23 June
8pm / 9.30pm
Filmhouse 3, 88 Lothian Road, Edinburgh, EH3 9BZ

Fleeing to a Swedish refugee camp to escape prostitution, Marta and daughter find their refuge to be just as dangerous. How will they escape, now they are trapped by law?

Glasgow Film Theatre Refugee Week Film Festival

June 20-26, 2011
GFT, 12 Rose Street, Glasgow, G3 6RB 0141 332 6535 

Activists, filmmakers and researchers consider the changing history of refugees on film, noting significant moments from the 1950s onwards when people were displaced from their homelands while also reflecting on representations of refugees and people seeking asylum in films.

Scottish Poetry Library 

Lines of Flight
Tuesday 21 June
6pm - 8pm
Scottish Poetry Library, 5 Crichton's Close, Canongate, Edinburgh EH8 8DT
Free event 

An opportunity to hear readings from three refugee poets based in Scotland. Carlos Arredondo (Chile), Iyad Hayatleh (Palestine), and Qusay Husain (Iraq) will read from their work.  Followed by a discussion of the relationship between poetry and community, and poetry's capacity to lay, in Audre Lorde's words, ‘the foundation of a future of change, a bridge across our fears of what has been before.’


Tech Tuesday Group Live Showcase
Thursday 23rd June
Stereo, 20 Renfield Lane, Glasgow, G2 6PH
Free event 

A showcase event from the Glasgow Concert Hall’s Tech Tuesday group.   Featuring some local hip-hop artists and singer songwriters from the music technology workshops.  The event will be run completely by the young participants themselves. 

Scottish Music Centre

Human “Music” Library
Saturday 25 June
4pm - 6pm
Scottish Music Centre, City Halls, Glasgow, G1 1NQ
Free event

Visit a library where people are the books and you can talk with them.  Discover all about music from around the world as you hear from your living book about the music that has influenced their lives. If you’re lucky they may even play for you.


Notes to editors

  1. Refugee Week Scotland is co-ordinated by Scottish Refugee Council.  
  2. Refugee Week  is a UK-wide programme of arts, cultural and educational events that celebrate the contribution of refugees to the UK, and encourages a better understanding between communities. Refugee Week 2011 will take place from June 20-26 at venues across Scotland. 
  3. The purpose of Refugee Week is to deliver positive educational messages that counter fear, ignorance and negative stereotypes of refugees, through arts, cultural and educational events that celebrate the contribution of refugees to the UK, and promote understanding about the reasons why people seek sanctuary.
  4. Refugee Week was first held in 1998, and was created in response to the increasingly negative perceptions of refugees and asylum seekers held by the general public in Britain. It remains the only UK-wide event that promotes the importance of sanctuary and the benefits it can bring to both refugees and host communities.