30 June 2010 by Sam
Here’s an update from our head of communities Claire Benjamin about this year’s Refugee Week events and why they are so important:
“Refugee Week has once again been a highlight of the year for me, with a wonderful array of events and activities to raise awareness of refugees in our city, and welcome them to our museum. Our simple acts campaign was quite simply, just that. By finding out more about a new culture, cooking a cultural dish, smiling at a refugee or signing a petition, these simple acts can truly make a big difference.
The highlight for me was ‘By Reservation Only’ – a wonderful performance by a group of young refugees, whose acting skills were a talent worth seeing. What was even more impressive was the fact that they had learnt the script in English, which wasn’t even their first language. Truly inspirational, with such natural talent and ability on display, the show was hopefully an avenue for these young people to be like everybody else and have some normality and escapism. You can see photos from the performance in our Refugee Week 2010 set on Flickr.
There is so much negativity in the press in relation to refugees and asylum seekers, particularly in such economic uncertainty, and these groups are potentially at an even greater risk of intolerance and racism. Recent statistics actually show that the number of applications for asylum to the UK decreased by 47% compared with the same period last year. It is vitally important to be educated about the plight of our fellow citizens, and Refugee Week at the museum is just one way of doing this.”
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