Tag Archives: talking with refugees

Refugee Festival • May 2018 • Programme

REFUGEE FESTIVAL
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.

 

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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)

Refugee Film Festival

Who are the ‘refugees’ and what are their stories? How does the UK treat refugees and migrants? Which communities have provided shelter and offered support? What needs to change to solve the refugee ‘crisis’?

The Migrant And Refugee Solidarity group (MARS) at the University of Brighton organises this May a mini film festival in collaboration with migrant and refugee artists, activists and other local groups. All events will combine film screenings with talks and debates.

12 May, 19:00: Soccer My Saviour (2016) by Kyri Evangelou. This short documentary 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.

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.

26 May, 19:00: For the end of our short 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.

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. ( not wheelchair accessible – BN2 1RA – opposite the Pavilion and next to the Marlborough pub)

A related event, supported by MARS is the Global Opportunities Film Fundraiser on 23 May, organised in support of the University of Brighton’s Global Opportunities Scholarship programme, screening a series of short films which explore the dangers of fleeing to the UK. This is a FREE event but there is a suggested donation of £5.27 which is the UK daily allowance for asylum seekers and will be directed to the Global Opportunities Scholarship fund. (23 May at 18:00–20:30, at the University of Brighton Edward Street building)

A Walk In Solidarity with Refugees, Asylum Seekers and Detainees

Refugee Tales 2016
From Canterbury to Westminster

In June 2015 the Refugee Tales project walked in solidarity with Refugees, Asylum Seekers and Immigration Detainees, from Dover to Crawley along the North Downs Way. As the project walked it reclaimed the landscape of South East England for the language of welcome, and everywhere it stopped it was met with hospitality and enthusiasm. Working directly in collaboration with those who had experienced the UK asylum system, and taking Chaucer’s great poem of journeying as a model, established writers told a series of tales en route. Through that sharing of other people’s tales the project gathered and communicated experiences of migration, seeking to show, in particular, what indefinite detention means.

refugee tales

From July 3 to July 8 2016, Refugee Tales will walk again. Starting with a Day of Thought, Performance and Action on the issue of ‘Being Detained Indefinitely’ the project will leave Canterbury on July 4, moving north to Gravesend and then along the Thames into central London, calling once again for the practice of indefinite immigration detention to end. At every stop of the way leading writers will help tell the tales of asylum seekers, refugees and detainees, as well as the stories of those who work with them. As the project walks it will create a space in which the language of welcome is the prevailing discourse, a political carnival in which the act of listening is a common resource.

Since Refugee Tales walked first time the debate around human movement has fluctuated dramatically, as pressure for a change of policy on indefinite detention has continued to build. It is a cruel and debilitating practice that continues to do untold damage to tens of thousands of lives. From to Westminster, Refugee Tales will call again for indefinite detention to end.

for more information on Indefinite Detention, and about the project visit the Refugee Tales website.

Refugee Tales

Refugee Tales: why do we listen?

As scholars and researchers, how might we listen to the voices of refugees who tell tales of their experiences? What contribution or difference might listening make?  What effects might listening have on the story-tellers themselves? Come along to an informal lunchtime presentation and discussion of these questions.

Riam Ismael will tell us about her current MA research with Syrian refugees seeking to embark on Higher Education.
Professor Avril Loveless will tell us about ‘Refugee Tales’, a walk and tale-telling performance from Canterbury to London in solidarity with refugees and detainees in July.

Wednesday 11th May: 12 – 1.30(ish)
Room Checkland B406, Falmer, University of Brighton

All welcome – staff, students, friends. Bring your lunch. Bring your questions. Copies of ‘Refugee Tales’ published by Comma Press in April will be available.

This event is part of the MARS sponsored Refugee Month.