Refugee Week is a UK-wide event designed to celebrate the contributions of those who have arrived in the UK seeking sanctuary.
Running from June 19 – 25 this year, it’s also a chance to raise awareness of the ongoing refugee crisis, which sees thousands of people risk their lives every year as they make dangerous journeys to the UK in pursuit of a better, safer life.
The National Maritime Museum marks the annual event with a programme of family-friendly, educational activities, and this year, it’s running on a theme of compassion.
“The theme of compassion was decided by Refugee Week UK, and this year marks the 25th anniversary of their annual Refugee Week festival,” says Charlotte Paddock, Adults and Communities Participation Manager for Royal Museums Greenwich (RMG).
“We were inspired by the theme of compassion to create space for dialogue around the multiple challenges facing people with refugee and asylum seeker status, and the need to make Britain a more welcoming place for those seeking sanctuary,” she explains.
“For Refugee Week this year we are exploring the theme of compassion through a series of creative workshops and talks as well as a film screening, all showcasing the courageous and inspiring journeys made by people seeking sanctuary.”
As for how to get involved with the programme, the majority of the museum’s Refugee Week events are taking place on Saturday June 17, with a further screening falling on June 21. Here are the highlights…
The Swimmers: A drawing workshop with artist Jay Percy
WHEN: June 17, 11:30am – 1pm
Join artist Jay Percy who’s running a creative workshop inspired by Netflix documentary The Swimmers, which tells the remarkable story of Sara and Yusra Mardini, two sisters and swimmers who escape the war in Syria with dreams of competing in the Olympics.
The Swimmers: screening
WHEN: June 21, doors 5:30pm
On June 21, the Museum is hosting a screening of Netflix documentary The Swimmers, the biographical drama telling the remarkable true story of the Mardini sisters, who travel from war-torn Syria to the 2016 Rio Olympics.
The screening will be followed by a panel talk hosted by Iraqi-British writer Dalia Al-Dujaili and Syrian-Swiss filmmaker and actor Julie-Yara Atz. In it, they’ll discuss the charges brought by Greece against Sara Mardini and two dozen air workers, as well as the UK’s increasingly harsh laws on immigration.
“The National Maritime Museum’s collection holds countless stories of migration and it is an important reminder that people have been migrating around the globe for a variety of reasons all throughout history,” adds Charlotte.
Refugee Week (June 19 – 25) events are being held at the National Maritime Museum, Romney Road, London SE10 9NF.
June 17, times vary depending on event.
June 21, from 5:30pm.