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.
This year Katy Carr performed songs from her critically acclaimed fourth album, ‘Paszport’ at a lunchtime concert at the Royal Festival Hall. Talks were held later in the week on “Sanctuary in History and Human Rights” and “Sanctuary, Architecture, Spatial Justice and the Arts”. From musicians such as Etran Finatawa to spoken word artists like poet Hollie McNish entertained audiences and Orly Orbach’s Edible Histories workshop presented food for thought-literally- revealing alternative histories of Britain.
Film lovers were invited to view screenings of Robert Vas’ Refugee England and The Vanishing Street– two beautifully poetic documentaries on human spirit- and Rose by Wojtek Smarzowski while more immersive workshops hosted by Richmix using a project developed withWrite to Life writing group, Christine Bacon and Tamasha Theatre Company capped the Celebrating Sanctuaries programme for 2013.