Celebrate Refugee Week in Hastings
There are lots of community events happening locally to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Refugee Week (19 to 25 June).
The Refugee Buddy Project has been funded by the Arts Council to run a full week of activities across Hastings. A call to action has resulted in this series of events, exhibitions, readings and more taking place. These events aim to highlight the experience of people seeking refuge, while promoting this year's theme 'compassion' and what this looks like in action.
Below are some of the highlights of the week:
Arpillerando en Exilio
From Tuesday 20 until Sunday 25 June, 10am to 4pm, at The Nest, Hastings, enjoy the exhibition of Chilean arpilleras curated by artist Jimena Pardo and Compassion is a Verb, a textile artwork, initiated by Jimena Pardo in a community workshop supported by Eggtooth. See the exhibition and contribute an embroidered text to continue this collaborative art.
Stitch for Change
From Wednesday 21 until Sunday 25 June, 11am to 5pm at Hastings Contemporary, Rock-a-Nore Road, Hastings, explore the exhibition of textile stories created through mixed media textiles, threads and patchwork, and workshops led by artist Janey Moffatt. Reduced price for Hastings' residents, free for members of the refugee community.
Pub Quiz for Refugee Week
On Wednesday 21 June, 8pm at The St Leonard Pub 16-18 London Road, St Leonards join the Pub Quiz for Refugee Week, written by Yara El Sherbini and hosted by Aya Haidar. £1 entry, limited edition prizes. All proceeds in aid of The Refugee Buddy Project.
And they were you
Friday 23 to Sunday 25 June, 11am to 5pm at Electro Studios, 5 Seaside Road, St Leonards. An exhibition of works exploring aspects of compassion in community featuring Chloe Dewe Mathews, Chiara Fabbro, Nour El-Din, Lou Gerring, Tal Refahi.
Intersecting Identities: The journeys of migrants and people seeking refuge
On Friday 23 June, 11am to 6pm at Electro Studios, 5 Seaside Road, St Leonards, join Greek organisation Inter Alia who are bringing their project Outcast Europe to our shores to present and record personal objects brought to Hastings by people seeking refuge.
Bike Ride and Community Feast
Join the evening celebration of our compassionate community on Friday 23 June, between 4pm and 8pm, at Warrior Square seafront (Old Bathing Ground), and share great food in good company. Meet for the Bike Ride at 4pm on the seafront at Warrior Square or join us directly at the community feast at 6pm at the Old Bathing Ground, Seaside Road.
Portraits of The Dove Café
Portraits of The Dove Café is on display at Hastings Museum & Art Gallery from 20 June until 17 September. This exhibition is a vibrant collection of photographs by St Leonards-based photographer Nour El-Din, which captures the hospitality of the volunteers of The Dove Café. Many of the volunteers are participants of The Refugee Buddy Project, and it was for them that the charity created this space. The photographs also share the lovingly prepared dishes, and the warmth of a growing community that looks to the café for nourishment of body and soul. Find out more at www.hmag.org.uk/see-and-do/exhibitions/portraits-of-the-dove-cafe.
Hastings Community of Sanctuary has also received funding from Arts Council England and from The National Lottery Community Fund and the Foreshore Trust for this year's Sanctuary Festival.
Hastings Museum & Art Gallery will be hosting the annual family friendly Sanctuary Festival on Sunday 25 June, 12 noon until 7pm. The festival, which is now in its 7th year, is organised by Hastings Community of Sanctuary and raises funds for Hastings Supports Refugees. This free, fun packed day focuses on showing support for the act of seeking sanctuary.
There will be live music from Sudanese poet, songwriter and composer Bashir al Gamar, Band from the Barracks, a group of musicians living in temporary accommodation at Napier Barracks, Folkestone. And award-winning musician and composer Gwyneth Herbert, who will be joined by students from Ark Alexandra Academy to perform a song they have created about what sanctuary means to them. There will also be performances from local musicians Las Cabras Cubanas, saxophonist Lynda Murray, the Lifted Up Community Choir, and many more.
Along with the chance to get creative, browse community stalls, listen to stories, and taste delicious food from Liban Coast, Mama Putts, The Dove Café, and the Ben & Jerry's team, who will be providing free ice cream from their truck.
There will be no parking available at the museum, except for blue badge holders.
Sanctuary Festival Comedy Special
Enjoy performances by some of the freshest comedy talent around at the Sanctuary Festival Comedy Special on Saturday 24 June, from 7pm until 10pm. The line-up includes, Jen Ives, Josephine Lacey, Jason Patterson, and MC Tim B'vard.
There will also be the chance to bid in an auction for a creative writing session with Doon Mackichan, singing lesson with jazz legend Liane Carroll and a horse encounter with Equine Affinity. All funds raised will help the vital work of Hastings Community of Sanctuary and Freedom from Torture East Sussex.
The event has been organised by Hastings Community of Sanctuary in partnership with Freedom from Torture East Sussex and Kamikaze Komedy.
Cllr Andy Batsford, lead for Culture and Health at Hastings Borough Council, said:
"It is great to see so many community events being organised to celebrate this year's Refugee Week and we are excited to have the Sanctuary Festival back at Hastings Museum & Art Gallery for another year.
"These events really engage with the community and raise awareness of the difficulties faced by so many across the world. We are proud to have such a welcoming town, with so many dedicating their time to building strong connections with those seeking refuge to ensure that everyone is welcomed and included in our communities."
Polly Gifford, festival organiser and Co-Chair of Hastings Community of Sanctuary, added,
"The public narrative around refugees and people seeking asylum continues to be dominated by negativity and scapegoating, and so it is more important than ever to present a different story, that fosters understanding and compassion, which we are proud to do. People in Hastings have always shown amazing compassion for refugees and people seeking asylum and Sanctuary Festival exists because of that support. It's a great family day out that also sends a strong message of solidarity - we hope you will join us."
Rossana Leal, Founder and CEO of The Refugee Buddy Project, explained:
"As a refugee and migrant led organisation it's a pleasure to be leading on Refugee Week Hastings 2023, funded by the Arts Council and this year celebrating 25 years nationally. We have a wide array of activities and events to suit all ages and tastes, including over 25 artists and venues along the coast from Rye to Eastbourne. We can't wait to see the whole community come together to celebrate with us."