24 Jun 2016 - 24 Jan 2022 / 18.00 to 20.30
The British Museum Great Russell Street London WC1B 3DG

Moving stories: a Refugee Week special at the British Museum


In partnership with the British Museum we produced a very special Friday Late event, curated around the 2016 Refugee Week theme of Welcome and around the incredible Museum’s collection of objects, stories and ideas.

The multi-disciplinary programme included theatre, spoken word, music, film screenings, social broadcasting project and an array of engaging workshops and activities by some of our arts and advocacy partners.

The Museum’s Great Court, the Enlightenment, Assyria, Parthenon Galleries were some of the spaces we ‘took over’ for this very special evening.

We hope that this event is the beginning of a long term friendship and collaboration with our partners at The British Museum.


UNHCR at the British Museum
18.00-20.30, East Lawn
Visit the very special tent painted by Syrian refugee children and learn more about the people and the facts behind the ‘refugee crisis’.

Guest book with Refugee Council
18.00-20.30, Colonnade
Engage with the work of Refugee Council and answer the question ‘What does ‘Welcome’ mean to you?’ Share your thoughts and reflections from the evening.

The Open Gateway
18.00-20.30, Great Court
Inspired by Mimmo Paladino’s work in Lampedusa, this door installation by artist Emily Tracy will be decorated with visitors’ messages and drawings around the theme of Welcome.

World map
18.00-20.30, Great Court
Join Amnesty International UK with their beautifully hand-painted map of the world installation.

Healing Classroom
18.00-20.30, Great Court
Come along to a recreated International Rescue Committee Healing Classroom. Help us to create classroom materials for students in Nigeria and view our accompanying multimedia exhibition.

Floating Life by Hong Dam and Bern O’Donoghue
18.00-20.30, Room 25
Hong Dam and Bern O’Donoghue present Floating Life a participatory installation. The two artists contemplate the hopes and dreams of refugees and the perils they encounter on their journey in search of a new life.

Refugees Welcome by Alketa Xhafa-Mripa
18.00-20.00, Room 34
Alketa is an artist originally from Kosovo and her ongoing Refugees Welcome installation, a Counterpoints Arts commission, is a safe and welcoming space for conversations, memories of artist’s own welcome to the UK and questioning of support and welcome that exists today.

Illustration workshop by Olivier Kugler
18.00-20.30, West Foyer
Over the last two and a half years illustrator Olivier Kugler has been commissioned by  Médecins Sans Frontières to create drawings documenting the circumstances of Syrian refugees. Join Olivier in his ‘artists studio’ to explore his practice.

Object handling with the Islington Centre for Refugees and Migrants
18.00-20.30, West Foyer
Come and meet ESOL learners and find out the connections they have made to the collections in the British Museum.

Something to Declare by Cultivators
18.00-20.30, Studio
Experience border control and the transition from one place to another at the Something to Declare – ‘Arrivals Bureau’. Once you get through the queuing, form filling, senseless questions and  bureaucracy, you’ll be led to the interview room to record your own or your family’s arrival to London story.

Trail – Museum wide
The trail is based on the objects that refugees receive when welcomed in refugee camps across the world.
Free, collect from the Information Desk in the Great Court Special event

Kayo Chingonyi followed by Maya Youssef
18.00-18.30 & 20.00-20.30 Great Court
Writer, editor, creative producer and Counterpoints Arts’ Poet-in-Residence, Kayo introduces this special event. Virtuoso Syrian kanun player and composer Maya Youssef has been a regular commentator in the media and a performer of many prestigious events. Maya will be accompanied by percussionist Antonio Romero. Free, no seating

Louai Alhenawi and Stephen Ellis
19.00-19.40, Great Court
This is a first-time collaboration led by Syrian ney musician Louai Alhenawi and Stephen Ellis from indie band Revere and Gabby Young & Other Animals. Joining them will be Syrian musicians Sanaa Wahbah on Qanun, Moheddin Aljabi on vocals and members of Revere. Through acoustic instruments, percussion and Classical Arabic music the artists will explore the Refugee Week theme of ‘Welcome’ with their unique blend of new
& reinterpreted songs.

From Syria to Sicily,  storytelling with Alia Alzougbi
18.15-18.45 & 19.45-20.15, Room 17
Far from the 24-hour rolling news are cultures rich with stories and wisdom. Join storyteller Alia Alzougbi as she shares a dynamic tapestry of tales from Syria to Sicily. Free, just drop in, limited seating.

Haymanot Tesfa followed by Tales from Noah’s Ark from Write to Life
18.00-18.30 & 19.30-20.00, Room 1
Amharic singer & traditional krar player, Haymanot is originally from Ethiopia. ‘Freedom from Torture’s Write to Life creative writing group present their imaginative, moving – and funny – responses to Julian Barnes’ account of the Noah’s Ark story’ Free, just drop in, limited seating.

Children of War by Arcola Theatre / Ala-Turka
19.00-19.30, Room 18
Arcola Ala-Turka present extracts from their sellout production CHILDREN OF WAR / SAVAŞIN ÇOCUKLARI, which reimagines Euripides’ The Children of Hercules, a 2400 year old study of tolerance, understanding and displacement. Performance is in Turkish. Free, just drop in, limited seating.

We are here by the Young Vic / DOST
18.30-19.00 & 19.30-20.00, Room 25
Inspired by the recent hit production of If You Kiss Me, Kiss Me at the Young Vic and set to a soundtrack of popular world music, ‘We’re Here’ is a piece of live performance made by a group of young people from all over the world who now call London home. Free, just drop in, limited seating.

A day in the life by ice&fire theatre
19.30-20.30, Sackler Rooms
Since 2015, ice&fire has been running fortnightly creative expression sessions with a several members of Room to Heal, a healing community for refugees and asylum seekers who have survived torture and other forms of organised violence. Tonight, the group will share an intimate performance of some of the work that has been
created through these sessions. Free, just drop in, limited seating.

Film Programme
18:00-18:30. Stevenson Lecture Theatre
Anonymous in Lampedusa
Screening of the film Anonymous in Lampedusa.  Followed by Q&A.

Filming Syria: Stories from the Jasmine Tree
19:00-20.00, Stevenson Lecture Theatre
Filming Syria is a selection of short films produced by young filmmakers based in Syria with support from Bidayyat Audiovisual Arts. Presented in collaboration with artist, Juan delGado. Followed by Q&A.

Share your experience
Follow @britishmuseum and @counterpointsarts on Twitter and tweet using #refugeeswelcome.

More details on the programme and contributing artists and organisation to be announced shortly.

24 Jun 2016 - 24 Jan 2022
18.00 to 20.30

The British Museum Great Russell Street London WC1B 3DG

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