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Refugee Festival • May 2018 • Programme

by the Migrant And Refugee Solidarity group
at the University of Brighton
18:00, room G7, 10-11 Pavilion Parade, BN2 1RA

Attitudes towards refugees and migrants are worsening across Europe. Xenophobic parties are on the rise, states are sealing their borders and, after the peak of 2015-6, public interest has declined. This year’s MARS festival evolves around the public reading of short stories from the Refugee Tales series, combining with interviews and discussions.

Friday 4 May, 18:00 – TELLING – The Interpreter’s Tale
The language barrier often denies the refugees the opportunity to tell their stories, to claw back their agency, to demand their rights, to communicate their needs. Interpreting from one language to another is of paramount importance for the refugee experience. But it is a difficult task. The choices of words and phrases that are available to translators are endless. (How do you translate the term ‘illegal migrant’?). Taking the wrong turn can lead to a whole range of problems and misunderstandings. It can also mean the rejection of your asylum application.

– Poet and critic Carol Watts reads her own work: ‘The Interpreter’s Tale’ (from the Refugee Tales collection published in 2016).
– First-hand account and skype discussion with Lina Mounzer, writer and translator living and working in Beirut, plus a short reading of extracts from her essay ‘War in Translation: Giving Voice to the Women of Syria
– Short poems from the activist poet Abed Alaziz, currently a refugee in Athens.
– expert update on current immigration policy, with Jo Wilding focusing on the important role that translation plays in the asylum process.
The event will be hosted by Dr Louise Purbrick.

Friday 11 May, 18:00 – LISTENING – The Unaccompanied Minors’ Tale
The stories of unaccompanied refugee children often stand out as symbols of the vulnerability of refugees: leaving their loved ones behind them; putting their fate in the hands of others; leaping into the unknown; learning a new life. Our reactions to their stories exemplify our sensitivities – and our limitations. Britain has long prided in its readiness to look after unaccompanied minors, from the Kindertransport children from Nazi Germany to the Dubs amendment of 2016. But does it make sense to cut their stories off from the bigger picture of the refugee experience. What stories would the kids tell us if we were really listening? And how is Britain fairing in its treatment of ‘unaccompanied minors’?

– Spoken word artist Akila Richards reads Inua Ellams’ ‘The Unaccompanied Minors’ Tale’ (from Refugee Tales 2016).
– William Eiduks’s personal testimony of having joined the Pestalozzi School (Sedlescombe) as a child refugee in the 1950s ( William is joining us from the Early Pestalozzi Children Project).
– Zeina Maasri reads extracts from Ghassan Kanafani’s ‘The Land of the Sad Orange’, 70 years on from the Palestinian Nakba
– We will end with a discussion with Bridget Chapman on unaccompanied minors currently in the UK, linking to her experience from a teaching project in Folkstone.
The event will be hosted by Professor Marie-Bénédicte Dembour.

Friday 18 May, 18:00 – TAKING ACTION – The Lorry Driver’s Tale
It is often said that borders breed dualities and paradoxes. Today we treat borders as solid, but history shows us they are not. On the map they are often the only sign of human presence on the planet, while they are so inhumane. As mental constructs separating people and societies they are both notoriously powerful and amazingly brittle. For refugees, crossing a border is one of the most difficult moments of their journey, getting more difficult by the year. How do they deal with this challenge? What new paths, new synergies and ideas have emerged across the borders of ‘Fortress Europe’?

– Chris Cleave’s ‘The Lorry Driver’s Tale’ (from Refugee Tales 2016) is read by teacher and man of letters Martin Nichols
– Bob Morton will propose a Declaration on the Right to Act Humanely
– Discussion on current European border policies, cultures and mentalities, with Gerhard Wolf.
– A bit of an impromptu collective poetry-making!
The event will be hosted by Dr Eugene Michail.

All our events are FREE, open to all, and for educational purposes.
Screenings take place in room G7 at the ground floor of 10-11 Pavilion Parade – BN2 1RA
Unfortunately there is no step-free access to the room.



Space For All estate agency

An off-shoot of the Make It Happen! Homes for Refugees art project has just popped up!

Artists, activists, young people and local people were involved in art workshops that considered how to ensure that the important legend “Refugees Welcome” become a reality, how we can ‘Make it Happen!’ The biggest obstacle in Brighton is the expense of our housing, high rents that are unregulated in the private sector. We created a series of artworks that expose the difference between homes and properties, feeling at home and the market value of houses.

Space for All Estate Agency is located, temporarily, on the corner of Hartington Road and Brading Road, BN2 3PD.

Come and take a look at our window displays of current sales and lettings, all are the result of a collective effort of creativity.

Free. Viewing from the pavement.
Open 24 hours 7 days a week but hurry along, before a landlord spots an investment opportunity and evicts us.


Proving Torture – 29 June, 19:00

What is Torture?
This is not a rhetorical question.
Asylum decisions depend on how torture is defined.
But definitions seem to be much more flexible than what you would imagine. As policies change, words change too.

Come to the Brighton launch of the Freedom from Torture report on ‘Proving Torture – the Asylum Maze’ to learn more about the current asylum policies and methods and their effects.

6.30 for 7.00pm start
Chapel Royal, North Street, Brighton BN1 1EA

The event is jointly organised by MARS and the Brighton & Hove Freedom from Torture Supporters

Homes for Refugees – 26 May, 19:00

For the last end of the Refugee Film Festival we have saved the premiere of a documentary film on a local art-community project: Homes for Refugees. What do refugees need to feel at home? What spaces can we create for refugees within local communities? What types of houses could we design? What buildings could be used? What structures could we build? What should they contain? Over the last months our home artists and activists are asking the local community to discuss those issues effecting both refugees looking for safe homes and existing inhabitants who may feel their communities are changing. Homes for Refugees is the film recording Brighton’s reply to the above questions.

This event is part of the MARS Refugee Film Festival. See here for a full programme. All our events are FREE. Screenings take place in room G7, at the ground floor of 10-11 Pavilion Parade.  (not wheelchair accessible – BN2 1RA – opposite the Pavilion and next to the Marlborough pub)

3 Films on UK Refugee Detention policies – 19 May, 19:00

Did you know that Gatwick hosts one of the biggest detention camps of the UK? BAD (Brighton Against Detention) are organising the festival’s second event around the catastrophic effects of UK asylum policy and what can be done about it. There will be three films: Working Illegally, Dear Jane, and Hidden Stories. Between the films there will be discussion with representatives of the ex-detainees’ All Women’s Africa Group. There will be information – and hopefully a debate – about can be done to address the immediate problems of detention.

This event is part of the MARS Refugee Film Festival. See here for a full programme. All our events are FREE. Screenings take place in room G7, at the ground floor of 10-11 Pavilion Parade.  (not wheelchair accessible – BN2 1RA – opposite the Pavilion and next to the Marlborough pub)

Soccer My Saviour – 12 May, 19:00

Join us to watch the documentary Soccer My Saviour (2016) by Kyri Evangelou. The film tells Rwandan football player’s Eric Murangwa’s story of survival in the genocide of 1994, how football saved Eric’s life, and how after the genocide he set up Football for Hope, Peace and Unity (FHPU). The screening will be followed by a panel discussion exploring the role of football in building tolerance and social cohesion both in the UK and overseas with the film’s star, Eric Murangwa, and the director, Kyri Evangelou. See the trailer for more details.

This event is part of the MARS Refugee Film Festival. See here for a full programme. All our events are FREE. Screenings take place in room G7, at the ground floor of 10-11 Pavilion Parade.  (BN2 1RA – opposite the Pavilion and next to the Marlborough pub)

Freedom from Torture – Brighton branch


Brighton & Hove Freedom from Torture Supporters Group meet regularly to organise local events fundraising for Freedom for Torture and raising awareness of its work and issues around torture in general. We have organised a musical evening, a singing ‘busk’ in Brighton’s Open Market and are planning more events, from tea-and-cake get-togethers to film nights and discussions.

Brighton & Hove Freedom from Torture Supporters Group:
Twitter: @FfTBrighton

Continue reading Freedom from Torture – Brighton branch