Produced by Counterpoints Arts, Celebrating Sanctuary is a landmark event that plays a crucial role in promoting Refugee Week to London and the whole of the UK. Because of the sheer size, variety and vibrancy of the events, the breadth of refugee cultures, communities and art forms that it promotes and its locations, Celebrating Sanctuary London does a huge amount to promote the key objectives of Refugee Week. It helps to counter negative opinions about refugees and educate the general public about the contribution that refugee communities make to life in the UK.
By bringing together people from refugee and host communities, we offer a unique shared experience, a chance to see, hear, taste, smell, and partake of the cultural riches of refugee communities from across the globe in one place. Better understanding of where refugees come from and how they contribute to London is essential in making those strong communities we all want to live in.
One of our main focuses is to help promote musicians and artists from refugee communities to the public, media and key influences within the arts world. CSL sets artists in front of a wide international audience that they might not otherwise reach. It fosters new and established artists and provides them with opportunities to develop their work through collaborations, introductions to promoters and festival organisers. Over the years we have supported hundreds of artists and aim to support a new ‘crop’ each year.
Now in its 8th year, Celebrating Sanctuary demonstrated that such a vibrant panorama of sight, sound, aroma and taste would not exist had it not been for the UK’s hard-won tradition of providing sanctuary to those fleeing persecution from many parts of the globe.
‘In music, there are no borders. When you have no borders, you have no refugees.’
Highlights of this years festival included Somalia’s powerful and dynamic female vocalist Maryam Mursal, Palestinian Hip-Hop group Dam and also The Destroyers, a Balkan band with their take on traditional arrangements from Eastern Europe.
You can take a look at the Refugee Council’s review here– even local MP Simon Hughes even popped by to sign up to the Just Fair campaign amongst the thousands of supporters and passersby.