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Refugee festival aims to bring Scottish communities together

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The Refugee Festival Scotland will return next month with a packed programme of events

A celebration of refugees in Scotland will return this summer.

The Refugee Festival Scotland will see a packed programme of colourful events showcasing refugee arts and culture. 

This year’s festival runs from 14 - 20 June. The diverse line up of online and outdoor events includes contributions from artists and performers who came to Scotland seeking refugee protection and the communities that have welcomed them. 

Refugee Festival Scotland features visual art, dance, talks, workshops, family events and more, and is open to everyone with an interest in finding out about the wide range of communities who have settled in Scotland. This year’s festival focuses on helping communities to reconnect and build bonds of friendship after months kept apart by the pandemic. 

Maryhill Integration Network (MIN), a Glasgow-based charity that brings refugee, migrant and local communities together, is just one of many groups and organisations taking part.

MIN director, Remzije Zeka Sherifi, said: “Refugee Festival Scotland is an opportunity to celebrate the richness of diverse cultures that New Scots bring to Scotland’s artistic landscape and cultural life. It provides our members with a platform to share their art, ideas and creativity. We can’t wait to see you all for this year’s celebrations and to share the sights, sounds and colours of the festival.”

Organisers were forced to cancel in 2020 due to Covid-19, but Refugee Festival Scotland is back with a fantastic line-up. The rich portfolio of online and outdoor events will be taking place across Scotland, from the Borders to the Highlands and Islands.  

From live music and dance to online art exhibitions, film screenings, gaming marathons and family-friendly picnics, the festival has something for everyone. The line-up aims to bring people from different backgrounds and cultures together to meet, mix and get to know each other better. 

Scottish Refugee Council’s chief Executive Sabir Zazai said: “This year marks the 70th anniversary of the Refugee Convention, a UN treaty that defends the rights of refugees. Refugee Festival Scotland is an opportunity to reflect on Scotland’s longstanding tradition of offering protection to people seeking sanctuary and celebrate the many ways in which refugees enrich our communities. It also helps us to better understand the plight of refugees, fleeing conflict, persecution and human rights violations, the perilous journeys that many people face, and the complexities of an increasingly regressive asylum system.

“In these challenging and uncertain times, coming together in solidarity and support for Scotland’s refugee communities has never been more important. So, please join our colourful, diverse and vibrant programme of events to make new friends, extend a hand of friendship to New Scots and celebrate the positive contribution that refugees make to life in Scotland.”

The festival celebrates the many ways refugees contribute to Scotland’s cultural life by showcasing the food and drink, music and dance, language and art that people bring with them when they seek safety in Scotland.

Refugee Festival Scotland is produced by Scottish Refugee Council. Details of the 2021 festival programme are now online.



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