Minister backs Refugee Week Scotland’s biggest ever celebration

Scottish Government Minister backs Refugee Week Scotland’s biggest ever celebration

Alex Neil, Housing and Communities gave his backing to Refugee Week Scotland  2010 today [Monday, June 14] as it launched with a record breaking number of exciting events.

With over 110 events, the week long festival – this year themed around ‘journeys’,  will celebrate Scotland’s growing cultural diversity and highlight the experiences and contributions of refugees living across the country.

Running from 14-20 June, the festival brings together everything from hard-hitting theatre to photography, film, sport and a host of colourful community celebrations and carnivals.

It comes as Glasgow celebrates its own ‘journey’, marking the tenth anniversary of the dispersal of asylum seekers to the city.

Housing and Communities Minister Alex Neil said: “Refugee Week celebrates those asylum seekers and refugees who have made their journey Scotland.

“Our culture and diversity is enriched with what our new Scots offer, and these week long events also encourage a better understanding between communities.

“This has been made possible with hard work and the commitment of all the organisations involved and the coordination of Scottish Refugee Council.”

Belinda McElhinney, Refugee Week Scotland Co-ordinator, said: “This is an exciting festival which is growing every year. With a record number of events taking place across Scotland, it is fantastic to see how many people are keen to be involved. 

“The theme for Refugee Week Scotland is journeys and this subject has inspired some exciting work.  It has also created this great opportunity for us to celebrate Scotland’s cultural diversity and its journey as a place of sanctuary for refugees from all over the world. Scotland is rightly proud of its ability to offer that.”

Highlights of the 2010 programme include:

  •  Roadkill: A Tron Theatre and Ankur Productions collaboration, in association with Scottish Refugee Council. A world premiere of this arresting new site specific work about a young woman trafficked to Glasgow. Directed by acclaimed actor/director/musician Cora Bissett. Catch it on its way to great things at the Edinburgh Fringe.

Runs from Tuesday 15- Saturday 19 June, meet at Tron Box Office, 7.30pm.

  • Back and Forth and Hope (is a thing with feathers)

A stunning double bill at the Tron Theatre created with professional directors, dancers and producers in collaboration with a cast of asylum seekers and refugees. These vibrant productions explore the journeys refugees make through dance, drama and song. Hope (is a thing with feathers) developed in Sri Lanka and Scotland is also complemented by a photo exhibition at the Glasgow Film Theatre, which runs throughout the week.

 Saturday 19 June, Tron Theatre, 8pm

  • Talking About Jane Austen in Bagdad: Would you brave gun-toting militias for a cut and blow-dry? Meet authors May Witwit and Bee Rowlatt and hear the real story of their unlikely friendship and the plan they hatched to help May escape the bombings of Baghdad.

Thursday 17 June, Mitchell Library, 6pm

  • My Bit: A new show by Ankur Productions, PANGAA Project and the award winning Ignite theatre explores the joys and fears of living in Glasgow using music and movement.  Performed by a talented and international young cast.

Thursday 17 June, Tron Theatre, 2pm and 7,30pm

  • Afghan Star: A rare chance to catch this multi-award winning film – and the UK’s Foreign Language entry to the Oscars 2010 - about the Afghan version of Pop Idol in which the contestants risk their  lives to sing.

Monday 14 June, Glasgow Film Theatre, 6.15pm

  • Refugee Week Football Tournament: Scotland might not be taking part in the World Cup, but you can come and cheer on your local five-a-side team in this vibrant celebration of the beautiful game. Participants from Scotland and all over the world – all now living in Glasgow – battle it out on Glasgow Green to win the trophy.

Saturday 19 June, Glasgow Green,

Read about our journey on the Refugee Week Scotland blog:

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For the full listings information go to or contact media officers Clare Harris or Karin Goodwin on 0141 223 7927/07734 030 763

 Notes to editors

Refugee Week Scotland is co-ordinated by Scottish Refugee Council. 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 2010 will take place from June 14 to 20.

 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.

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.