Refugee Week Scotland launches 'festival for everyone'

 Refugee Week Scotland launches ‘festival for everyone’

Refugee Week Scotland launches its exciting 2013 programme today. The festival for everyone celebrates the contribution refugees make to Scotland’s rich cultural landscape.

Running from 17-23 June, Refugee Week Scotland is part of a UK-wide arts and cultural festival that celebrates the unique skills and talents refugees from around the world bring to Scotland.

This year’s programme – co-ordinated by Scottish Refugee Council and packed with music, comedy, theatre, literature, community celebrations and more – has plenty of big names attached.

First up the Refugee Week Scotland Opening Concert presents rising stars Admiral Fallow, the award-winning Karine Polwart and Glasgow legend Malcolm Middleton, formerly of Arab Strap.  All three are nominees for this year’s Scottish Album of the Year award.

Proceeds from the concert and other fundraising events will go to Scottish Refugee Council and British Red Cross to help support refugees struggling to find safety in Scotland.

Elsewhere there is a choice of hard-hitting comedy nights. Kevin Bridges brings his irrepressible humour to the Wasasa Comedy Night at the start of the week, while transatlantic heavyweights Dave Fulton and Tom Stade perform at the week’s end as part of the British Red Cross Refugee Week Comedy Night.

But it’s not just about the well-known artists. The diverse programme, which encompasses over 100 events in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dundee, Perth and as far afield as Mull and New Galloway, is stuffed with high quality performance, carnivals, football and films.

Suzi Simpson, Arts and Cultural Development Officer at Scottish Refugee Council said: “With over 100 events happening across the country we truly believe that this is a festival for everyone. Anyone can join in, whether that’s by organising a unique community celebration, taking part in a workshop or simply attending one of our professional theatre, music or arts events.

“This year we are celebrating heritage, which is relevant to each of us in Scotland today. It’s about what we inherit from the past; stories, objects, culture and experience, and the way we use this to shape our lives and build our futures.”

 Other 2013 highlights include a play by AJ Taudevin which explores the heart-breaking story of family breakdown in Some Other Mother, while Terra Incognita’s work in progress, My Friend Selma, celebrates Victoria Beesley’s memories of growing up in an old boarding school housing Bosnian refugees.

The Lajee Dance Tour brings 16 young people from Aida Refugee Camp in Palestine to Glasgow, Dundee and Perth, providing a unique insight into a culture hidden by decades of conflict. And Here We Stay, a partnership project between Scottish Refugee Council and the Citizen’s Theatre, brings together the songs and stories of local Scots from the Gorbals with refugees from around the world who have settled in Glasgow.

Two exhibitions offer a fresh look at life in Scotland. The Open Aye for Natural Scotland exhibition at Kelvingrove Art Gallery Community Space, showcases the photography of young refugees in Scotland. Living in the Sky, on display at the Arches throughout Refugee Week, tracks the lives of residents of the Red Road flats in north Glasgow.

A dazzling array of community celebrations are also on offer including a Sudanese wedding event inviting you to witness the beautiful and intricate customs involved in the traditional ceremony. There’s sport on offer at the Refugee Week Football Tournament, and film in the form of Glasgow Film’s Pop-Up Programmers screening of Nicolas Roeg’s classic The Man Who Fell to Earth.

And that’s just for starters. To see the full programme go to refugeeweekscotland.com or for more information or to set up interviews contact Karin Goodwin or Pauline Diamond, Scottish Refugee Council Media Officers on 0141 223 7927/07850 930418

Notes to editors

  1. Refugee Week Scotland is coordinated by Scottish Refugee Council and runs from June 17 – 23 June at venues across Scotland. For more details see www.refugeeweekscotland.com
  2. The theme for this year’s Refugee Week is Heritage, exploring what communities have saved from the past and how they take that heritage forward to shape our present as well as our futures in Scotland today.
    1. 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.
    2. The UN World Refugee Day is held each year on June 20. This event honours the courage and strength of the women, men and children forced to flee their homelands under threat of persecution, conflict and violence.
    3. 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.
    4. Scottish Refugee Council is launching a fundraising appeal as part of Refugee Week Scotland. Help us make basic rights a reality for refugees by supporting our essential asylum services. Text RFGE34 followed by the amount to 70070.
    5. Follow us on Twitter: www.twitter.com/scotrefcouncil.
    6. Become a fan on Facebook: www.facebook.com/refugeeweekscotland