Connecting lives: Refugee Weeks gives Manchester the chance to celebrate

A host of events will take place across Manchester next week to coincide with the launch of Refugee Week, which this year celebrates the contribution that refugees bring to the UK.

Things kick-off today with RAPAR’s Rhythm and Justice Summer Festival which is being billed as a celebration of diversity within the Manchester community.

Taking place at the St Margaret’s Centre in Whalley Range from noon until 10pm, protest folk singer Mark Davies, contemporary instrumental Jazz Band Lit FM, acoustic guitarist Hugo Kensdale and the Manchester based soul-folk combo Moody Elf, will all be taking to the stage throughout the day.

Elsewhere, Connected Families exhibition at Twenty Twenty Two in the Northern Quarter aims to highlight shared family experiences and to encourage understanding of refugees and asylum seekers among the local community.

It is the result of a series of workshops held in Manchester with local refugees and asylum seekers who have discussed the theme of family. The work is centered around reuniting families separated by persecution.

The exhibition includes poetry in response to a series of questions and conversations led by poet Nathan Jones.

He said: “The resulting texts have been laid out to reflect on the necessary involvement of memory and hope in building a future with family and friends – and the flow of images, voices, tastes and smells which are gathered in these imagined futures.”

There will also be a showing of a few short films by Edwin Pink, a digital storyteller who has worked with the group over a number of months recording interviews, spoken word an lullabies. The films will be shown around 7pm.

The event will be held between 5pm and 9pm tomorrow.

Entry is free and refreshments will be provided. As well as the general public and local residents the groups taking part in the workshops will also be attending.

Maurice Wren, Refugee Week’s chairman and chief executive of the Refugee Council, said: “With the world facing the greatest refugee crisis in recent memory, Refugee Week provides an important opportunity to celebrate and recognise the contribution refugees make to their adopted home and to reflect on the situation of those fleeing persecution.

“Throughout history, refugees have contributed hugely to the lives of everyone in Britain, by enriching our culture, our economy and our communities, and by reminding us that compassion is a hallmark of a strong and open society.”

Other events are taking place throughout the week at Z Studios in Hulme and the People’s History Museum among others. For more information click here.

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