Hastings holding events to mark National Refugees Week

There are lots of community events and creative actions happening locally for Refugee Week which runs from June 20 – 26.

The events, organised and run by The Refugee Buddy Project, aim to to highlight and value the migrant experience, while promoting the Refugee Week theme ‘healing through creativity and conversations’.

Where are you really from? is An exhibition of patchwork pieces created by local people with experience of immigration and seeking refuge, and the volunteers who support them in building new lives in Hastings. It takes place at Hastings Museum from June 18 – 24.

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Mr Gay Syria is a film screening, also at the museum, on June 18, from 4.30pm – 9pm. It explores the harsh consequences of being gay in the Muslim world. People can sample traditional Syrian food.

Hastings welcomes refugees SUS-220615-142640001

Faith, Family, Community and Home is an exhibition of work by Nour Alezou. It runs from June 20 – 26 at The Nest, at The Old Town Hall.

All Refugees Welcome is a panel discussion taking place at The De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill, from 12.30pm – 3.30pm on June 22. It starts with a buffet

Join Bike Lab Hastings and Black Butterfly, on June 24, from 5pm – 8pm for a seafront bike ride from the Labyrinth at Goat Ledge to The Refugee Buddy Project’s new community cafe, where there will be a free community feast cooked by Palestinian-Syrian chef Momo. Bring a bike or borrow one for the ride. All ages and abilities are welcome.

Other events happening at Hastings Museum and Art Gallery to mark Refugee Week include the drawing and sound performance Imploded, burnt, turned to ash, 2021 (18 June – 24 July) by Syrian born, UK based artist, Issam Kourbaj. This marks the tenth anniversary of the Syrian uprising – a crisis that resulted in violent armed conflict and ongoing civil war. This performance is a collaboration with composer Richard Causton and soprano Jessica Summers and will be screening at the museum.

Hastings Museum is also hosting the free Sanctuary Festival on June 26 from noon - 7pm. The day is organised by Hastings Community of Sanctuary and Hastings Supports Refugees. The free, fun packed day will focus on showing support for the act of seeking sanctuary and raising funds for Hastings Supports Refugees and featurseslive music, creative workshops, talks, children’s activities, delicious food, and fun.

The museum grounds will be closed to vehicles on the day. If you are planning to travel by car to the festival, please make use of on-street parking, Falaise Fitness Centre car park or Summerfields Leisure Centre car park.

There is a Sanctuary Festival Comedy Special taking place at the Museum on June 25 from 7pm - 10pm. It promises an evening of laughs. Enjoy some of the freshest comedy talent around and bid for some unique items and promises at the auction too. Featuring MC, Tim Crook from Hastings’ legendary Bavard Bar Line up, Tom Mayhew, Nick Elleray, VG Lee, and Lauren Douglin.

More information on the Sanctuary Festival and events at Hastings Museum and Art Gallery can be found at www.hmag.org.uk/refugee-week-2022.

Cllr Andy Batsford, lead councillor for Health and Culture, said: “It is great to see so many excellent events happening at Hastings Museum and Art Gallery, that really engage with the community and raise awareness of the difficulties faced by so many across the world.

“As a City of Sanctuary, we are proud to be such a welcoming place, building strong connections with those seeking refuge and those who have settled in Hastings, and now call it home. Refugee Week and the Sanctuary Festival really highlight the fantastic work carried out by so many across the town, who help to ensure that everyone is welcomed and included in our communities.”

Polly Gifford, Sanctuary Festival organiser, and Co-Chair of Hastings Community of Sanctuary, added: “This is the sixth year of the festival, and it is more important than ever to show our support for refugees and people seeking asylum. Despite the turmoil in parts of the world, and the increasingly difficult situation here in the UK, we can still make our communities places of welcome and safety - something Hastings does so well. We hope you’ll join us at Hastings Museum to show your support and have a great day out.”

Rossana Leal, Founder and Director, The Refugee Buddy Project, said: “We are delighted to be coordinating this amazing selection of Refugee Week activities having spent the last two years with our activities mainly online, especially as this year marks five years since we set up the Project.

“We encourage everyone to grab a map from one of the participating galleries or shops, or our Community Café, and you’ll be sure to find an event (or five) which suits you. We look forward to celebrating Hastings and St Leonards as a community of welcome, standing in solidarity with all people seeking refuge”

Over 18 organisations, 15 artists, and dozens of local volunteers are generously creating and supporting activities and events. The full calendar of the events coordinated by The Refugee Buddy Project can be found at www.therefugeebuddyproject.org/upcoming-events.