Celebrating Refugee Week 2020

A number of online events are being held in the city to mark this year’s Refugee Week, which takes place from 15 to 21 June.

Refugee Week is a UK-wide festival celebrating the contributions, creativity and resilience of refugees. 

Founded in 1998 and held every year around World Refugee Day on 20 June, Refugee Week aims to help to connect communities through arts, cultural and educational events, and promote a culture of welcome.

As a City of Sanctuary, Brighton & Hove has made an ongoing commitment to offer sanctuary to refugees and asylum seekers. We will continue to participate in resettlement schemes that bring some of the world’s most vulnerable people to the UK.

We're working closely with local communities and forming partnerships to provide a welcome for those seeking sanctuary in Brighton & Hove.

What’s going on…

Our libraries service has teamed up New Writing South and Book Nook to run the ‘Flash Fiction Competition’, looking for short works of fiction based on the theme of this year’s celebrations – ‘Imagine’.

We’re after stories of 50 words maximum. The competition is free to enter and open to all ages in categories for under 12s, under 18s and adults.

Please email your entries (in any language) along with your name, age (if under 18) and contact details to libraries@brighton-hove.gov.uk

Get your entries in by 5pm on Saturday 20 June. The winners and two runners up in each category will be announced in July.

There’s also a range of online events including comedy, music, interactive talks and the ‘Message in a bottle’ virtual exhibition.

For a full list of all that's on offer, visit Sanctuary on Sea’s website.

Opportunity to celebrate

Councillor Amanda Grimshaw, speaking for Brighton & Hove City Council, said: “Refugee Week gives us an opportunity to celebrate the resilience, determination and skills brought to the city by those arriving here after long dangerous journeys.  

“We have all learnt something about what it’s like to be separated from loved ones and live in an uncertain world over the last few weeks. This is just a taste of what millions of refugees experience every day. 

“At the same time, we need to recognise that the pandemic has revealed substantial inequalities locally and internationally. The consequences of Covid-19 are taking a huge toll on refugee communities worldwide. 

“Local groups have been working very hard to ensure that refugees in the city are given information and support, and I’d like to thank everyone involved in that effort.”

Richard Williams, Chair of Sanctuary on Sea, said: “Every year in Refugee Week we celebrate together the contributions, creativity and resilience of people who seek sanctuary in our city. 

“This year is both the same, and profoundly different. Today we find ourselves amid a global pandemic, where people of every nationality, race and religion are all facing a common threat that nobody could foresee, and which has changed the way in which we interact with one another.

“Our theme of 'imagine' this year is apt, as these unprecedented times have called for unprecedented creativity to find a way to celebrate while keeping safe, to come together while being apart. 

“We have found different ways of connecting people inside our city and far beyond. We hope that you will join us at dozens of online events to laugh, cry and be inspired, in an imagined world where everyone feels safe and welcome and can realise their dreams.” 

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