June 8, 2021

Refugee Week 2021 at V&A

‘As Far As Isolation Goes’ by Tania El Khoury and Basel Zaraa at the V&A in 2019. Image: Marcia Chandra

By Faunsia Tucker, Assistant Programme Manager at V&A & Dijana Rakovic, Counterpoints’ Senior Producer

This Refugee Week (14 – 20 June 2021), we’re marking four fantastic years of the collaboration between Counterpoints Arts and V&A. V&A is one of the main national hubs of the Festival.

As ever, we’re celebrating the contributions, creativity and resilience of refugees and people seeking sanctuary.

Haymanot Tesfa, the Devonshire Hunting Tapestries Gallery, 2019. Image: Joana Saramago.

The theme of Refugee Week 2021 – ‘We Cannot Walk Alone’ – compels us to reach outside our circles and build connections and solidarities between our different movements, networks and causes.

This year’s programme with V&A takes a blended approach, combining self-guided object trails and pop-up displays in the museum with online creative workshops, talks and music performances.

Over the past years we have worked with hundreds of artists and NGO partners who have brought a wealth of art forms and participatory practice to engage audiences, uncover refugee stories in the V&A collection and share creative skills.

Grounding Project, Maudsley Charity and UCL at the V&A in 2019. Image: Joana Saramago

The central aim is always to enable people from different backgrounds to connect beyond labels, encourage understanding of why people are displaced, and the challenges they face when seeking safety. Refugee Week is a platform for people who have sought safety in the UK to share their experiences, perspectives and creative work on their own terms.

Refugee Week’s vision is for refugees and asylum seekers to be able to live safely within inclusive communities, where they can continue to make a valuable contribution.

The ongoing partnership between V&A, Counterpoints Arts and Refugee Week is based on shared values:

  • We centre migrants’ experiences and welcome diverse perspectives across languages and geographies to encourage new ways of seeing and questioning.
  • We believe in making connections across art forms to bring people and communities closer together.
  • We believe in the power of art, design, and making for social change.
  • We believe museums are for all. We believe in removing barriers to access and making space for wide ranges of stories, perspectives, and narratives.
  • We believe in collaborating with care and generosity with staff, artists and audiences.

Join us for this year’s #RefugeeWeek!